Theses (Historic Preservation)

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Suggested Citation:
Johnson, Nakita Ann. (2010). "RE|Fab : How the 10% Investment Tax Credit Can Aid in the Creation of a Prefabricated System for the Rehabilitation of Non-Designated Historic Structures." (Masters Thesis). University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.


Historically known as “the Workshop of the World”, Philadelphia was home to numerous industries that served as financial anchors for the neighborhoods surrounding them. However, due to a loss of industry these anchors have become dangerous, attractors of unsavory activity, and impediments to growth and safety. In order to reconnect the frayed social and economic fabrics that exist surrounding these buildings, a balance must be created between the building’s historic significance and the contemporary needs and potentials of the surrounding area. Although, many of these vacant buildings are old enough to be considered historic most are not historically designated. While there are numerous incentives available to ‘preserve’ buildings that are historically designated, it is the non-designated buildings that often offer more contemporary design flexibility. In order to bring these buildings back to life, the quantitative requirements of the 10% Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for the rehabilitation of existing structures will be used as the spring board for the design. In addition, strategies that emphasize rapid, cost effective and flexible retrofit will be emphasized and techniques of prefabrication and rapid deployment will be explored. This thesis project explores how the implementation of a prefabricated, mass customizable, construction system into the rehabilitation of an existing building can help address issues of vacancy within the city. Can the creation of a prefabricated frame and panel system capable of being deployed within a structurally sound existing building begin to restitch the building to the neighborhood and the neighborhood to the city?


Historic Preservation; Tax Credit



Date Posted: 10 August 2010