Spring Historic Preservation Course Descriptions
American Architecture II
This course is a survey of architecture built in the United States and its territories between 1876, the country’s first centennial, and 1989, the end of the Cold War, a date which marked America’s triumph as the only world superpower. It is designed to help develop competence in identifying, understanding, and analyzing historic structures, their significance, types, and styles. The intention is to make you proficient in the use of the methodological, historiographical, visual, and intellectual tools necessary to grasp fully the meanings of historic buildings in their various contexts.
Mini-Course: Oral History and the Built Environment
Oral history is a unique medium that is able to provide a layered sense of place and affect how buildings, spaces, and neighborhoods are experienced. This mini-course will introduce students to the basics of oral history and how it can be used to complement and inform work in historic preservation. Topics covered will include oral history/interviewing methodology, use of recording equipment and interview design. Trip to Brooklyn Historical Society and the Brooklyn Navy Yard will reinforce how oral history can be used creatively as a tool for understanding the built environment. Students will be introduced to a variety of existing oral history projects and will be expected to research and conduct a short oral history interview of their own on a topic of their choosing.
Mini-course: Re-making a Shadow: The Future of House Museums
Historic House Museums are fundamental elements composing a national identity and a cultural memory. Traditionally they have stood as shrine to a person or concept - reminders for social continuity. Presently these house museums are struggling for relevancy and their place within the complex new structure of fast-paced media, and internet based communication. As a result of these cultural shifts, historic house museums are having difficulty with finding new audiences, increasing fundraising, maintaining volunteers, producing programming and planning long term stewardship.
Conservation Project Management
The Conservation Project Management course is designed to introduce students to professional practice in the discipline of historic preservation. It ties together the various aspects of historic preservation you have been studying in your other classes, to demonstrate how all these parts come together and support each other during the course of our professional work on preservation projects. To accomplish this, the syllabus follows the ‘real world’ sequence of activities that I make use of on projects in my professional practice.
We will use one building as a case study throughout the semester. The building will have a wide range of issues, from materials conservation concerns to issues related to adaptive use and associated upgrades of building systems to the required governmental regulatory process, allowing students to implement each aspect of the curriculum at the case study building. Beginning with the writing of a proposal and the development of a work plan, we will progress to a conditions survey of the building’s exterior and interior and the development of a report of findings. Following a decision about appropriate treatments and uses, we will discuss the production of technical drawings and specifications, and then options for how that work might translate into a bid phase and construction phase activities. Since the case study project will also require approval from the local landmarks board, concurrently the students will develop an application and presentation to that agency. Throughout, we will include discussions about practical and logistical issues that might arise as the work process unfolds.
Mini-Course: Furniture Conservation in House Museums
This course will explore the types of deterioration typically experienced by furniture in historic house museums, including light damage, structural damage caused by fluctuations in RH, insect and fungal damage, and structural damage caused by misuse, over-use, and accident. Preventive conservation methods, including light and climate modification, integrated pest management (IPM), and proper housekeeping and object handling will be emphasized. Materials and techniques of furniture conservation treatment will be covered, including: anoxia treatments of insect infestations; surface cleaning of both finished and unfinished wood; reintegration or restoration of light-bleached surfaces and damaged or degraded finishes; structural repair of damaged solid wood, plywood and veneer; and replacement of loss. Emphasis will be placed on reversible, minimally intrusive treatment techniques, and decision-making that is cognizant of the mission, interpretive goals, and condition of the specific historic house setting.
GIS for Preservationists
A geographic information system (GIS) allows us to visualize and interpret data about places. The creation of maps using GIS can help us answer geographic questions in ways that are quickly understood and easily shared. For this reason, GIS has become a central tool in many fields, including historic preservation, where it has been used successfully in a variety of ways including documenting threats to historic resources and telling the stories of communities and places. In this class we will cover the basics of the popular software ArcMap with a focus on ways GIS can be integrated into the practice of historic preservation.
Real Estate for Historic Preservation
Historic preservation and real estate development have often been viewed as being at cross‐purposes. This course seek to debunk that notion by demonstrating examples of how historic preservation, at the building and district scales and with a focus on cities, creates unique, authentic, and appealing places that offer competitive advantages over their competition. Integrating preservation into new urban place‐making efforts often generates significant real estate value and therefore can be an important component of developer’s real estate investment strategies. Taught by two active professionals in the fields of real estate planning and development and historic preservation, this course will introduce students to the practicalities of development and preservation and will challenge students to better understand the tools and objectives of both professions. Through class lectures, case studies, team assignments, field trips, and guest lectures from other experts in real estate, planning, and design, the course will explore the various ways historic preservation‐guided development projects are planning and executed and the roles and responsibilities of and interactions between involved public agencies and private development players. Various tools for financing projects will be explored including easements, state and federal historic preservation tax credits, and municipal bond financing. Public‐private real estate development projects analyzed will include affordable housing, commercial development, adaptive re‐use of industrial structures, urban retail, and others. Students will come away with an understanding of what motivates private parties to pursue preservation projects as sound and predictable investment opportunities, the toolkit of incentives that can be deployed, and the role that the government plays in this process. In addition, the course will focus on the importance of creating a broader understanding of the public benefits and alignments of interest around the public policies of urban economic revitalization and public place‐making of which adaptive re‐use and historic preservation have always been an important part.
Mini-Course: National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the federal listing of buildings, districts, sites, etc. of historic significance. Professionals in the field of Historic Preservation are frequently called upon to complete National Register nominations as part of advocacy for the preservation of a building, in order for an owner to take advantage of historic preservation tax credits, or for other reasons. This mini‐course will examine the criteria for National Register listing and each student will complete a minimum of one National Register nomination for a building the New York State Office of Historic Preservation is interested in seeing listed on the register.
International Uses in Historic Preservation
This course will examine international policies and processes in the preservation of cultural heritage, as well as their theoretical underpinnings. A primary aim of the course is to promote critical thinking about the various approaches to preservation and the cultural values that inform them, with an eye toward better understanding US practice within a global context. The initial part of the course will focus on the workings of the World Heritage system and related programs and entities, so as to provide an introduction to existing international infrastructure. The remainder of the course will be issue-driven, using cases and varying geo-cultural contexts to examine philosophies, policies, and professional praxis.
Mini-Course: Historic Replicas: Replacement Materials Workshop
This course pairs a discussion on the suitability of replacement materials in restoration and conservation projects with a practical workshop component. Students are instructed in common restoration techniques such as mold making, lost wax casting and composite mortar patching. Students will gain an understanding of the challenges of replacement materials compatibility with original historic fabric and develop essential manual skills. Hands-on participation includes creating decorative replicas for use in the restoration of a NYC landmark. Course explores multiple case studies and includes a tour.
Architectural Finishes in America is about the decoration, ornamentation, and protection of buildings with a wide variety of finishes. Buildings and preservation should not merely be about the outer shell of the building but how people saw themselves and expressed themselves in the finishes of their homes and public buildings. We can not cover every finish but we will look at paint, wallpaper, plaster, stucco, twentieth century wall and ceiling finishes, tile, linoleum, and glass. The course will be a mix of lectures, site visits, and conservation treatments. As part of this course, the class will work on a field conservation project performing trial conservation treatments. The site of the project changes each year. Several sessions will involve travel time to sites for investigative and conservation work. The remaining sessions will be held in the Conservation Laboratory in Schermerhorn Hall.
Old Buildings, New Forms
This seminar focuses on recent, cutting edge, architecture transforming old buildings to produce new forms in the United States and world-wide. These projects are examined not as unfortunate hybrids but as provocative works of modern architecture made possible by contemporary ideas of sustainability, by new attitudes to buildings as transmitters of cultural and architectural meanings and by 20th century artistic developments. The seminar includes site visits of projects in New York City with the architects, individual work by each student on specific buildings and lectures on the subject by Françoise Bollack.
Preservation Studio II
In Studio II, students break into small working groups to explore real-world preservation problem, focusing on issues in the New York region. Studio II projects in recent years have included preservation/planning studies, historical analysis, interpretation of historic resources, and design issues. Groups strategize on preservation issues distinct to each problem and in their analysis develop proposals which consider the historic resources as they relate to design issues, aesthetics, history, local zoning, economic realities, and other issues. In Spring 2012 there were three studios – one focused on interpreting the resources in neighborhoods along Brooklyn’s East River waterfront; another that developed a preservation plan for the commercial area of the Richmond Hill neighborhood on Staten Island; and the last, a design studio, addressing the challenging problem of building on the one-story remnant of a landmark building in Harlem that had burned. The final reports for all studios since 2003 are available on the Historic Preservation Program’s website.
Thesis (Required 2nd year course)
The thesis is a clear, well-researched substantial argument in support of a position on a question of general interest in the field of historic preservation. Students begin work on their thesis in the fall without registering for a course. There will be two group meetings for all students and faculty in the fall semester to give students a chance to articulate and refine their thesis topic, decide on a faculty advisor, and begin research to answer the thesis question. In the spring semester students register for Thesis as a course, and present again to all members of the faculty to assess progress on the thesis . In April, the student will meet for an hour with a jury of their advisor and readers to defend the thesis and polish their thoughts on the topic. At other times during the semester, the student should be meeting with Historic Preservation faculty as advisors to their work.
Basic Conservation Science
This course is required for students planning to focus on materials conservation in the 2nd year. Offered in the spring as the foundational course for students interested in architecture conservation. The course includes laboratory basics of sampling, testing, and procedure; basic properties of building materials; and the physical and theoretical considerations involved in building “conservation”.
Stone, Brick and Terra Cotta
This course explores the group of traditional masonry materials--brick, terra cotta and stone. The format includes lectures, demonstrations and field trips. The goals of the course are to provide: 1) an historical overview of their manufacturing and sourcing as architectural materials with a focus on the 18th century to the present; 2) an understanding of their fundamental material properties in relation to their use and deterioration in a range of masonry construction systems; and 3) an exploration of the state-of-the-art means and methods of their repair, maintenance, and conservation.
Structures, Systems & Materials II
Structures, Systems and Materials II builds on information introduced in Part I, and brings this material up to the present in terms of understanding modern building systems and materials. It address how steel frame and concrete buildings are made, and how they often fail. 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.
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 Trisha Logan 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.