Geo. Thomas & Associates 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The River House was originally constructed in 1839-40 as a home outside the city, used primarily as a single family residence although it was converted to six apartments thirty years ago. The 22” exterior walls are constructed of rubble stone and day-lime mortar surmounted by cement based stucco.


S. Harris & Co. was retained to
convey to the management of the Schuylkill Valley Environmental Center the conditions of the River House and to describe the options and costs associated with those options for various reuses of the building.

  • Assess the condition of the building.Advise the client as to potential reuse options.
  • Estimate the costs of conversion.
  • Advise the Board of Directors of the appropriate and financially feasible options available for continued use of the Building.
  • We conducted inspections and assessments of each structure on the property… specifically, the façades, roofs, above ground drainage, doors and windows, and structural systems.
  • We were able to identify a number of potential issues related to rehabilitating the structures to meet code.
  • We prioritized and provided options for future use of the structures with respective cost implications.
  • A study was facilitated by integrating the site into one of the courses taught by Professor Harris. The two fold study concentrated on 1) analysis and design of the basic window and 2) egress and the balance between notions of historic preservation and the demands of public safety.
  • The study resulted in a report incorporating much of the student analyses as well as a physical assessment of the fabric and systems, cost estimates, and code analyses.