I’m Kurtis Hord. I practice and teach permanent building. What is permanent building? It is building using pre-oil methods and meterials: Old growth wood, brick and lime putty for walls; and slate, tile, or copper/steel for roofing. It’s not enough just to select durable materials though. It takes training that is in direct opposition to the way we now build. Modern building is focused on the manufacture of “products” which are assembled by “installers”. In the old world, the builder was the architect, the engineer, the designer, and the builder all in one. Meaning, most builders/architects were educated for many years under the watchful eye of other masters before they were ever allowed to practice. These guilds functioned like BAR or medical associations. They also left a legacy of value in the built world that is still standing and providing value hundreds of years later. The same cannot be said for any of the building we have conducted in America since WW2.
My studies in architecture and building started when I was 12. I learned manual drafting, geometric construction, and classical architecture from books in my public library.
At 21 I moved up to studies of decorative/architectural sheet metal, first learning surface development using Nuerbecker’s books as my guide and applying that knowledge to commissions in Louisville, KY duplicating decorative roofing elements and creating new assemblies.
The decorative sheet metal work lead to request for more general historic roofing work. I learned slate repair, and started restoring / repairing slate roofs, cornices, and built-in gutters in Old Louisville.
This work grew into a small practice, I trained several apprentices, grew to a small crew and conducted only 19th century roofing and cornice work in the historic district in Louisville. Patina Slate & Copper performed historic preservation, slate roofing, cornice, and masonry services.
This work ultimately galvanized my beliefs in noble materials/methods. I discovered through repair work; most of the original assemblies if unmolested were still in-tact and functioning. The masonry was only damaged when it was tuck-pointed with portland cement, and the roofs generally only failed because they selected terne over copper in those times for residential.
My work since 2013 has focused on joinery / folding / origami techniques used for permanent medieval, standing seam roofing. In 2015 I started touring the country to provide design and build services specifically for these types of assemblies. To this day, I am the only person in english who offers educational information and knowledge on seamed roofing. Since specializing in seamed metal roofing: I have hosted many students, and lectured for Preservation Trades Network, and the National Parks Service.