Fall Historic Preservation Course Descriptions
Historic Preservation Theory & Practice
This lecture course is an introduction to historic preservation theory and practice, as it developed in the West, from the Enlightenment to the present moment of globalization. We will focus especially on how preservation theories and experimental practices helped to redefine and advance new conceptions of architecture, cities and landscapes. Historic preservation is often described as a young discipline, on account of the fact that most of its current institutions and legal frameworks were created in the late twentieth century. But many of the foundational ideas and practices that gave rise to contemporary historic preservation have much deeper historical roots. For instance, our contemporary notion of world heritage can be traced back to the dawn of international law in the mid 18th century. The present practice of maintaining registries of listed monuments also has historic precedents in 16th century Rome. We will touch upon the histories of these and other theories and practices, identifying key figures, texts, and projects. We will also examine the birth and legacy of different schools of historic preservation. Many of these schools took form during the nineteenth century, together with the rise of republicanism, nationalism, imperialism, and capitalism, and during the twentieth century, variously framed by fascism, communism, internationalism and the welfare state. We will focus on understanding the relationship between historic preservation and the social, political and economic context in which it acquired currency and value. Finally, we will ask questions about how theory and practice relate to one another, and how a solid grasp of the discipline's history can help us articulate new ways of thinking and doing historic preservation.
Structures, Systems & Materials I
The course Structures, Systems and Materials combines familiarizes students with the structures and materials of traditional building, beginning in this course with wood framing and load-bearing masonry walls. The introductory conservation course, it introduces how buildings are made, how they often fail, and what can be done about it. The organization of the course relies upon not only the study of the chronological development of the building arts and sciences, but as each building system is introduced, the discussion of the pathology modes and conservation approaches follows within the same week. Fieldtrips to see the situations discussed in class are integral to the course, and will occur weekly during the first half of the semester.
American Architecture I
This course will examine the development of American architecture from the earliest European settlements to the centennial in 1876. Beginning with the earliest Spanish, French, Dutch, and English colonial architecture, we will explore the American adaptation of European forms and ideas and the development of a distinctly American architecture. The course lectures and readings examine high style and vernacular architecture in rural and urban environments throughout the settled parts of the United States. The course will be supplemented with tours and the examination of original drawings and early architectural publications in Avery Library.
Preservation Studio I: Reading Buildings
Studio I is the core course of the first semester, and revolves around the study of a section of New York City – in this academic year, the study area is Hell's Kitchen North including the West 50s from Eighth avenue west to the Hudson River. Additional field survey work will be carried out at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. The goal of this Studio is to give the student the skills to read and document buildings – their design, their context, and their history – by using a wide array of tools, from using one’s eyes and other senses to using drawing, photography, and research. Studio I gives students the foundation necessary to understand and document buildings, to place them in their cultural continuum, and to make a case for their preservation. Studio work includes graphic presentations, written assignments and oral presentations.
This workshop is about developing dexterity in architectural representation in order to conceptualize and materialize the environmental, spatial and social aspects of an individual piece of architecture. We will take advantage of new developments in technology to build a three dimensional computer massing model, which can be effectively manipulated and reproduced. A set of graphic images will be produced to address a series of questions with shifting scales and topics. These images will be examined critically for their ability to foster an understanding of the meaning of the building.
Design Workshop: Design with Historic Architecture
This is an architecture studio offered for both historic preservation students with a design degree and Masters of Architecture students in their final year of study. The problem for the studio is a major addition to an existing building that requires an understanding of the meaning of the old building – all of the ways its form and materials express the values it sought to represent and serve at the time – and the ways that meaning might or might not be extended, enriched and brought forward by the addition. For fall 2012, the studio will work with a site in Venice.
Cultural Landscapes, Design, and Historic Preservation
This seminar will reveal both the opportunities and constraints in the rapidly emerging discipline of cultural landscape preservation. Although the basics will be covered, in an effort to elevate the discourse, special emphasis will be placed on the segmented divide between design and historic preservation and nature and culture. In sum, this seminar will promote and advance an ethic of holistic resource stewardship through the lens of cultural landscapes. Specifically, the seminar will address the issues, tools and strategies surrounding the planning treatment and management of cultural landscapes. This will include historic research and the documentation of existing conditions, methodologies for evaluation and analysis (including the generation of period plans), and the myriad and interrelated issues surrounding treatment, management and interpretation.
Drawing heavily on case studies, supplemented with a small number of local site visits, and required student presentations, this seminar will provide an in-depth understanding of both preservation planning tools and how to apply the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards to cultural landscapes. Finally, within this context such myriad planning, design and historic preservation challenges as: the physical and financial limitations of available research; how we assess and assign significance; the quest for authenticity; placing a value of antiquity (or weathering); the need to determine a landscape’s carrying capacity; and, the recognition of a cultural landscape's palimpsest (historic layers) will also be explored.
International Cultural Site Management
Impetus for the preservation of cultural heritage has developed through the recognition of sites as non-renewable resources. Training is readily available in the specific tasks required to implement preservation, such as documentation and conservation. However, with the exception of sporadic seminars, conferences, short courses or on-the-job training, far less attention has been paid to the larger, more complex and comprehensive issues of management, the process by which the individual components of preservation are fit together and either succeed or fail. This course will utilize the conservation process in the Burra Charter as the basis for a rational approach to managing cultural sites. The course will have an international focus and will review case studies from both historic and archaeological sites. It will be divided into three parts: the first will focus on the compilation of background information and identification of the key interested parties; it will then progress to the analysis of the site significance and assessment of existing conditions and management constraints; and finally, the development of the management policy and strategies for its implementation will be reviewed. The delicate balancing act between cultural enhancement and exploitation will be explored, as well as the need to periodically monitor and reassess management policy.
Pattern Books and Builder's Books
The transmission of architectural ideas through publications has a long and important tradition in American building practice. Pattern books are the center of much of the country’s vernacular built environment. Pattern books from the late 18th to the latter 19th century offered views of building plans and elevations for emulation. Published images created a sense of “American” architecture out of the disparate building traditions of settlers from several places in Europe. The industrial revolution enabled more people to afford to build a new house, and their choices were expanded by the introduction of factory-made parts for buildings. Improvements in publishing and transportation resulted in the distribution of thousands of mass-market pattern books to every part of the country. Through these publications, both professional and amateur architects could reach a broad audience, and there is definitive evidence on the American landscape that the pattern books did influence both carpenter-builders and their middle-class clients.
This course will use the unparalleled resources of Avery Library’s Rare Books collection to help students learn about the major American pattern books and periodicals of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Students will learn the important trends in pattern books, learn to closely read source materials as a research tool, and identify major trends in style and technology promoted through pattern books for buildings in the American vernacular landscape.
This course will introduce the student to the history, development, and identification of building hardware from the mid-18th century to the early 20 century. The course will address “rough” building hardware such as nails, screws and bolts, as well as “finishing” hardware, such as door locks, hinges, sash fasteners and pulleys. Through photos and examination of actual examples, students will learn about the various metals, fabrication methods and surface finishes used in producing hardware. Students will use period catalogs and patent records to research and identify hardware. A basic understanding of metals is useful (Architectural Metals A6768) but is not required for this course.
Wood: Its Properties, Use, and Conservation
Students will examine the structure of wood and its physical characteristics, and learn to identify specific wood species commonly used in historic architecture. The history woodworking, joinery, wood products and fasteners used in architecture will be reviewed. Mechanisms of physical and biological deterioration, including fungal and insect attack will be covered. Finally, students will learn historical and contemporary techniques used in the conservation and restoration of architectural wood.
This course will build on the techniques learned in earlier course work and apply newly acquired knowledge of building materials to a historic building. The goal of this course is to train the student to look and learn how to investigate a historic building using an actual site. There is also a hands-on component for conservation treatments incorporated into this course work. Exercises will include documentation, sampling, materials analysis, synthesis of information, recommendations for conservation and for the final project, conservation treatments.
Historic Preservation Planning
This course is a comprehensive introduction to the field of preservation planning that examines the constitutional underpinnings of landmarks regulation and the emergence of historic preservation as a discipline analogous to urban planning. Also addressed are the issues of applying preservation planning tools, including local individual and historic district designations, National Register nominations, special zoning and conservation districts, easements, and restrictive covenants. Financial incentives for rehabilitation, including investment tax credits, property tax incentives and revolving loan funds, are examined. Current issues in preservation planning including combating sprawl and preserving rural landscapes will be addressed. Guest speakers highlight preservation in Chicago and Pittsburgh illustrating similarities and differences in practices in the field in other American cities.
A course that reviews the structural and decorative uses of metals in buildings and monuments. The metals covered include include iron and steel; copper and copper alloys including bronze and brass; lead; tin; zinc; aluminum; nickel and chromium. The seminar will examine the history of manufacture and use; mechanisms of deterioration and corrosion; and cleaning, repair, and conservation.
Historic Preservation Colloquium (2nd year required)
This course will consider issues within the field of Historic Preservation with relevance to the way it is carried out in the world today. We will begin by distinguishing between its global presence as a popular movement and the growing ideological discourse among its professional practitioners. We will examine these historical manifestations of Historic Preservation critically, seeking a theoretical foundation for our study that is neither determined by the professional discourse nor influenced by prevailing economic and political circumstances. As a baseline, we will focus on contemporary subjects pertinent to the curatorial management of cultural heritage such as Significance and Cultural Value; Authenticity and Integrity; Vernacular Culture; Interpretation of Heritage; Place and Context; and Heritage. Special emphasis will be given to the relationship between buildings as physical objects and their historical persona; and to the role of Historic Preservation as a field of environmental design. Students will be required to present arguments on polemical issues relevant to their own independent research, to express a commitment to a particular point of view and defend it against challenges from their class members. The course is intended to aid students in forming their own professional identities within the field of Historic Preservation by reinforcing their understanding of its intellectual content and encouraging them to participate actively in the discursive process by which it unfolds in theory and practice.
Preserving Modern Architecture
Considering design for new or continued use needs to take into account ubiquity versus significance, historic building typology versus current functionality, design intent, newness and material durability versus the importance of the authenticity of the original fabric, all of which is to be placed in the context of current code, life safety and sustainability requirements. A general discussion of issues is to be supplemented with examples and case studies from the US and abroad.
Experimental Practice in Soviet Preservation
This lecture course analyzes the phenomenon of the Soviet School of Architectural Preservation as a part of cultural history. Focusing on experimental practices and unusual approaches in the field, it covers the period between the early Soviet Avant-garde and the post-WWII era. Special attention is paid to the conceptual and philosophical background of these practices, as well as to their scientific and political intersections.
Law for Preservationists
This course is designed to provide students with answers to the 10 questions all preservationists need to know about the law: 1. Where does government get the authority to regulate private property for preservation purposes? 2. What are the appropriate limits to government regulation of private property? 3. From a legal perspective, what are historic resources? 4. What regulatory tools exist to protect historic resources from private actions? 5. What regulatory tools exist to protect historic resources from government actions? 6. What are special legal considerations regarding the protection of religiously owned properties? 7. What laws address the protection of other specific historic resources? 8. What legal tools encourage the voluntary protection of historic resources? 9. What other legal strategies can be employed to save historic resources? 10. What are the latest trends and developments in preservation law? In the process of learning the answers to these questions students will develop an understanding of preservation law, its application, the legal system, and the interface between preservationists and lawyers.
This course will employ a genetic metaphor to discuss new understandings, and new approaches, to the evolving discipline of historic preservation. In evolutionary biology, it is axiomatic that gene pool diversity within a species supports resilience and multiplies available adaptive “pathways.” Can the same be said for pool of architectural prototypes in relation to the adaptive potential of the built environment? Does documentation and translation of durable architectural prototypes – like mapping the human genome – improve our ability to isolate (and ultimately to replicate) winning solutions? This seminar will explore some possible answers.
Advanced Research / Independent Study I
Each semester, there is the possibility of registering for “Advanced Research” within the Historic Preservation Program. This is what you may know as “Independent Study”. The student plans a course of self-study and inquiry, and seeks an advisor who will review and grade the work. If you wish to register for Advanced Research, students must submit to the HP office a one-page description of the project, including methodology, goals, and final product, as well as the advisor’s name and the number of credits before the end of the add-drop period. Advanced Research may be for 2 or 3 credits, depending on the scope of the work, and this should be determined at the time of application for the Advanced Research. Indicate who the faculty advisor will be – and discuss your interest in working with that faculty member to gain their approval. Although students will do the research on their own, the advisor will review the final work against the description and goals of the proposal and provide a grade to Andrew Dolkart as the central on-line grader. Faculty do not receive any additional financial compensation for their work as an advisor to an Advanced Research project. Students may not use paid employment within or outside the University as a basis for an Advanced Research project. An e-mail note to the HP Office from the faculty advisor is requested before the end of the add/drop period indicating that the faculty member is advising a student in an Advanced Research project, and approving the proposal submitted by the student. Advanced Research may involve library research, lab work, fieldwork, or other research methods, and the final product could be a paper, or digital design, or map, or something else alternative to a standard paper - whatever the student and advisor agree is the best format for illuminating the results of the research.