Dear Students and Faculty,
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a cheerful holiday season with family and friends. It’s been an exhilarating first semester as Director, and I feel really fortunate to be working with you our distinguished faculty, students and staff in this new capacity. I’m grateful for your support of the program, and for your part in helping to make this a smooth and successful transition.
Before stepping into this new role, I took eight months to question my own assumptions and take a fresh look at our program through other people’s eyes, through your eyes. I had countless conversations listening to our students, faculty, administrators and alumni as well as colleagues at other schools, and preservation professionals. I came out of those conversations with a clear sense of the challenges we face, but also with a strong conviction in our ability not only to surmount them, but also to raise new standards of excellence in preservation education, to convene the best faculty and students in the world, to anticipate and critically engage in the structural transformation of preservation taking place in the next five to ten years as globalization unwinds, and to ready our graduates for successful and fulfilling careers.
We already introduced some important and necessary improvements to our curriculum in response to student and faculty input. A new studio sequence addresses the need for issue-driven hands-on field experience and provides students with more choice in exploring their individual interests. For the first time, our program now supports every student to travel in an international advanced studio. Everyone will graduate with experience working at one of the world’s important historic sites, in collaboration with major international preservation organizations. I attended all the studio final reviews and was really impressed by the students’ projects, their level of creative energy, intellectual ambition, and commitment to preservation. Congratulations to you all! And a heartfelt thank you to all the Fall studio faculty for their dedication, innovation and generosity. For more about each of these studios please scroll down to the Studios section.
We’ve answered the need to help our students produce innovative individual theses, which will set them apart from their peers at other schools. We changed Colloquium to a thesis-centric course to provide more guidance in the structure and methodology of writing a thesis. There is now an intense faculty review of thesis progress in December. At the thesis reviews, I was impressed by the new level of scholarly rigor and intellectual ambition. I look forward to seeing the fruits of all the students’ labor in your final theses! Many thanks to Paul Bentel and Chris Neville for leading this effort.
Another important change is that we freed up Fridays for class field trips so that students may benefit from more and better coordinated field activities. Fridays are also reserved for program wide activities such as thesis reviews, conferences, and other events. We are fortunate to count among our regular full time and adjunct faculty some of the discipline’s most distinguished scholars and professionals living in New York. I feel strongly that Columbia should also give students access to the rest of the world’s leading figures. With that in mind, we’ve introduced “master classes,” intense deep dives into important topics, taught by important figures beyond our university. In the Fall semester, David Gissen, from the California College of Arts, taught The Rights of Monuments and Erik Langdalen, from the Oslo School of Architecture, taught Urban Preservation. The Spring semester we will host master classes by Robert Hewison on John Ruskin, and Mary Ellen Carroll on The Public Interest in Preservation. We also introduced a new Fall course taught by Michael Adlerstein on the important topic of Sustainable Retrofits. This Spring, Bryony Roberts will be offering a seminar entitled Drawing Ideology on the history of how preservationists draw and think.
Our lecture series offers another opportunity for our students to learn from distinguished professionals and academics from around the world. A generous gift from the Zabar Family Foundation allowed us to raise the caliber of speakers in our lecture series. We have also introduced a new format of roundtable debates hosted by faculty that explore the various stakes in contemporary professional work. We had two very stimulating debates on preservation activism and digital preservation technology. The highlight of the Fall Lecture Series was, as always, the Fitch Colloquium. This year it convened faculty and international experts to explore the nexus between preservation and war both historically and in relation to today’s armed conflicts.
A measure of our program’s strength is the not only the caliber of our faculty and students, but also how we come together as a community, to sustain each other in our efforts to advance our knowledge of preservation, and in so doing advance the profession as a whole. I really appreciated the urging of our Student Council Representatives to have regular informal brown bag lunches with students and faculty. The conversations we had about preservation, and how we relate through our work to the world at large, were revealing and inspirational, and I look forward to continuing them next semester.
We will have many other opportunities to come together next semester, starting with our first ever “Historic Potluck Dinner” on the evening of January 19th, and the HP Alumni-Student Networking event on January 26th.
I look forward to seeing you all soon, and toasting to the new year together!
After an extensive search process, we are pleased to welcome Melissa Parsowith to the HP office as the Program Manager. Managing the historic preservation program in a full-time capacity, she will coordinate student advising, career services, program administration, and budget. Melissa is a New Jersey native who received her B.A. in Communications and Management from Pace University and her M.S.Ed in Higher Education Administration from Baruch College. She comes to us with significant experience in academic administration, serving most recently as Assistant Director of Executive Business Programs at Pace University. She looks forward to continuing to meet the Historic Preservation community at GSAPP and beyond.
We are also thankful to have the continued support of Leigh Smith , who assists both the historic preservation and urban planning programs.
Last Fall we welcomed some extraordinary new Adjunct Faculty members with distinguished academic and professional careers. We are thrilled to have them as part of our scholarly community.
Kim Yao, Claudia Kavenagh and Emilie Evans co-taught the new Core Studio 1. Yao is a Principal at the award winning Architecture Research Office. Evans is the Director of the Rightsizing Cities Initiative (RCI) with Heritage Strategies International and PlaceEconomics, and co-founder and co-leader of Brick + Beam Detroit. Kavenagh is the Director of the New York office of Building Conservation Associates, Inc. She is not new to the faculty, but she took on a new role this semester leading the teaching of architectural conservation within Studio 1.
Adam Lowe and Carlos Bayod Lucini co-taught the inaugural Advanced Preservation Technology Studio III. Lowe is the founder of Factum Arte and the Factum Foundation for Digital Technology in Conservation, dedicated to the development and application of high resolution recording technologies to the preservation, study and dissemination of cultural Heritage. Bayod is an architect and in charge of multiple digital scanning projects at Factum Arte.
Michael Adlerstein taught the seminar “Sustainable Retrofits,” which introduced students to this growing area of practice. He is Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, and lead the design and execution of the renovation of the UN compound, the recently completed Capital Master Plan.
David Gissen taught a master class on “The Rights of Monuments,” which explored how national and international policies assign rights to heritage. Gissen’s course prepared students for this year’s Fitch Colloquium on Preservation and War. He is an architectural historian and Professor of Architecture and Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts.
Erik Langdalen taught a master class on “Urban Preservation.” He is a practicing architect, a professor of architecture, and the head of the Institute of Form, Theory and History at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO).
This Fall, the Historic Preservation students were hard at work in their respective studio courses.
First year students participated in Core Studio I, newly revamped by Professors Kim Yao, Claudia Kavenagh and Emilie Evans to balance historical research, architectural design, building conservation and planning regulation. The students spent the first half of the semester doing field work on Ellis Island, an exceptional site that is at once a National Monument, on the National Register of Historic Places, on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places, and a New York City Landmark. They focused on the South Side hospital, which is normally closed to the public. There they worked in collaboration with Save Ellis Island to document existing conditions, study the factors contributing to the site's continued abandonment, and propose preservation solutions that would make the site accessible again. They spent the second half of the semester working in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, an area with a number of historic resources under new real estate development pressure. They evaluated the historic significance of the buildings, conducted community surveys and proposed solutions to insure their preservation ranging from adaptive reuse proposals to conservation treatments.
Second year students participated in one of three Advanced Studio III. All advanced studios travel internationally to offer students the ability to engage in major historic sites in collaboration with important international preservation organizations, and become familiar with how preservation is practiced in other cultures.
To kick off the Spring semester, historic preservation students and faculty will come together on Thursday, January 19th for the 1st annual HP Potluck Dinner. The event will take place from 6:30pm - 8:30pm in Brownie's Cafe. Wine will be provided & all are welcome to join!
The HP Department is hosting a speed networking event on the evening of Thursday, January 26th at The Liberty. Invitations to follow shortly. For any questions regarding this event, please contact Program Manager, Melissa Parsowith, at email@example.com
To prepare for internship and job interviews, HP students will be invited to join M.Arch students on Friday, January 27th and Saturday, January 28th to participate in portfolio building workshops.
The Graphics Project is an annual series of discussions, tutorials, and workshops designed to give students the tools to organize and present their work and prepare their final portfolios. Workshops are required for AAD and 3rd year M.Arch candidates but open to all Columbia GSAPP students.
The panel Architectural Narratives kicks off Graphics Project 2017 on Friday, January 27th at 1pm in Wood Auditorium with a discussion of current modes of architectural storytelling, from social media to photography and filmmaking, digital visualization to immersive experience and VR. The discussion is moderated by Cassim Shepard, founder of Urban Omnibus with presentations by Rama Allen (The Mill), Kai-Uwe Bergmann (Bjarke Ingels Group), and architectural photographer James Ewing.
The first weekend of Graphics Project workshops (January 28th and 29th) include narrative, model photography, indesign, typography and layout, and presentations from recent graduates on their award winning portfolios is open to all GSAPP students.
For any questions regarding this event, please contact Lyla Catellier at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are increasing opportunities for students to gain hands-on field experience. Many of your classes will take you to visit projects where you might be required you to go up on a scaffolding. In order to access a scaffolding in New York, you need to be certified in scaffolding use and safety. With this in mind the Historic Preservation Program has contracted with a certification company and is making the certification course available free of charge to all students.
All HP students are invited to attend a 4-hour scaffolding certification training course on Friday January 20th in 300 Buell South.
(First Years) Session 1: 10 am to 2pm
(Second Years) Session 2: 2:30pm to 6:30pm
Please rsvp to email@example.com
Prof. Erica Avrami published “From Passion to Public Policy: Making Preservation More Sustainable” in Bending the Future: 50 Ideas for the Next 50 Years of Historic Preservation in the United States, ed. Max Page and Marla R. Miller (Amherst and Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2016), 49-52. She also published “Running downwind of Schumpeter’s gale: Creative destruction and the social construction of heritage,” ICOMOS University Forum Workshop on Authenticity and Reconstructions, University of Bologna, Italy, March 13-15, 2017,“Negotiating Values in the Reconstruction of Historic Places on the World Monuments Watch,” From Conservation to Reconstruction: How World Heritage is Changing Theory and Practice, University of Montreal, March 9-11, 2016 and a piece in the Journal of the American Planning Association,which was published in February. She was also part of the North America study team for UNESCO’s Culture: Urban Future - Global Report on Culture for Sustainable Urban Development, which was presented in Quito, Ecuador, at Habitat-III in October 2016. She is the principal investigator, in collaboration with the Columbia Earth Institute - Center for Sustainable Urban Development and The American Assembly on a recently awarded $162,000 grant from the NY Community Trust. The grant supports a series of symposia and publications to study and identify new ways to assess preservation’s effects on NYC neighborhoods and influence city policy. Lastly, Prof. Avrami served on the inaugural jury for the Terra Award, the first international design prize for earthen architecture (chaired by 2012 Pritzker winner Wang Shu)
Prof. Paul Bentel‘s firm Bentel & Bentel Architects recently installed, the Freeport Waters Trail is a local history project funded by the New York State Council on the Arts and the Village of Freeport and planned by Long Island Traditions, a local culture and historic preservation education organization. Designed in collaboration with Nancy Solomon, the four panels feature images and text highlighting local themes of maritime culture and local history. The sign supports themselves project an image of the information content reflecting the Bay Houses of the South Shore, the local tradition of boat building, historical accounts of Rum Running and notable local individuals. The project was conceived as a way of both informing the public at large, many of whom flock to the fishing piers of Freeport, and to celebrate local history and culture. For more information visit the Long Island Traditions website. His firm won the design commission for a new classroom building on the campus of Webb Institute, a school of naval architecture and marine engineering founded by William Henry Webb in 1889 which offers tuition free education to its students. The school is located on the North Shore of Long Island in a building complex designed by James Brite as the country estate of Herbert Pratt and completed between 1912 and 1914. The new classroom building will house the primary studio and classroom space for the entire student population. The building’s “green” landscaped roof will take its place on the central axis of the historical main house thus reimagining a former parterre. The new structure will reconstitute both the symmetry of the original estate as well as the historical relationship between buildings and open space initially conceived by Brite. Prof. Bentel also led a tour for the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities of Ormsdon House, a Bertram Goodhue designed “Great Estate” on Long Island with a highly regarded landscape plan by Olmsted Brothers. The former estate built for John Aldred in 1916 now serves as the Monastery of the Basilian Order of Saint Josaphat. The house and grounds were placed on the National Register in 1979. The tour was part of SPLIA’s ongoing effort to raise local awareness of significant historic structures among the local communities. Paul is a member of SPLIA’s Board of Trustees and chairman of the organization’s Preservation Committee. Additionally, Prof. Bentel’s design for the amenity spaces in 432 Park Avenue have been recognized as the Best Bar and Lounge for 2016 by Interior Design Magazine and was recently named one of the ten most beautiful Lounge spaces in the world by Architectural Digest. Currently, Prof. Bentel’s firm is completing the renovation of the Conductor’s Building in Harvard Square and its conversion to a restaurant called Les Sablon. The historic structure once served as the end-of-the-line of the Cambridge Trolley and housed amenities for Conductors and Engineers working on the line. The 15’ x 80’ structure is an elongated crescent which follows the curve of the former trolley tracks as they loop back to the mainline redirecting trolleys back along the return track. The project is being carried out under the regulatory guidance of the Cambridge Historical Commission. The building is expected to open to the public in the late spring of this year.
Prof. Françoise Bollack published Reflections on the Art of the Incomplete in AREA, an Italian architectural magazine. She also published “Old City, New Forms” in L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui.
Prof. Carol Clark, a Director in the Office of the Chief Architect at NYC’s Department of Design & Construction, is leading the Exemplary Buildings Competition project. It is in the forefront of efforts by the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability to lower building energy use, and will result in updates to the building code.
Prof. Janet Foster accepted the position of Chair of the New Jersey Historic Trust, the state-wide organization that promotes and funds historic preservation projects in New Jersey in September 2016. She also collaborated with colleague Joan Berkey to prepare a ground-breaking nomination to the National Register for the Historic Cold Spring Village in Cape May County, NJ. The village is an assemblage of wooden, vernacular buildings dating from the 1690s through 1912, moved to a site for preservation and interpretation. Up to now, moved buildings and museum villages were not considered to be “historic”, but the nomination argues that collecting historic buildings on a new site represents a distinct and important phase in the American preservation movement, popular from the 1940s through the Bicentennial in 1976. The nomination was accepted onto the NJ Register of Historic Places as of October, 2016. She is joining with other concerned citizens in Morris County, NJ, to advocate for the preservation and re-use of the 1847 Glen Alpin estate (see photo attached). The house is an outstanding example of the Davis-Downing ideals of an American Picturesque “cottage”. It has been publicly owned since 2002 but a lack of a viable use for the property threatens its continued existence.
Prof. Belmont Freeman published “Rural visions” about the work of SANAA architects, and “ Post Trump” about Donald Trump and his legacy as a property developer in NYC, in Places journal.
Prof. Mary Jablonski delivered a paper “Time Tested Repairs: A Review of 11 Years of Cemetery Stone Repairs” at the Stone Deterioration Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, September 6-9, 2016 as well as a paper at the October 2016 APT San Antonio conference on early cast stone “Hidden in Plain Sight - The Cast Stone of the Coignet Building”. She was interviewed and mentioned in the Fall 2016 issue of Preservation “Set in Stone” about the Coignet Building in Brooklyn, NY. She is the co-chair of the 6th International Architectural Paint Research Conference to be held at Columbia University and sponsored by the Historic Preservation Department, March 15-17, at which she will also be presenting a paper on Kalsomine Paint.
Prof. Adam Lowe was the subject of an in depth profile in The New Yorker titled “The Factory of Fakes: How a workshop uses digital technology to craft perfect copies of imperilled art.” The article examined his pioneering work in high-resolution scanning of cultural heritage around the world.
Prof. Chris Neville received the award of the Taconic Fellowship for his community history project in Bushwick, NY.
Prof. Jorge Otero-Pailos created a major public art installation for Westminster Hall, in the British Houses of Parliament, as part of his ongoing series The Ethics of Dust. The work was commissioned by Artangel. At the close of the exhibition the artwork was divided and acquired by: The Museum of London; The Ulster Museum, Belfast; The Whitworth, Manchester; The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea; Kelvingrove / The People’s Palace, Glasgow; Museums Sheffield; and the Worcester City Arta Gallery & Museum. His co-edited book with Thordis Arrhenius and Erik Langdalen titled Experimental Preservation was published by Lars Müller Publishers. He published the following articles: “ Experimental Preservation,” in Places Journal, (September 2016); “The Atmosphere as a Cultural Object,” in Climates: Architecture and the Planetary Imaginary, ed. J. Graham, (New York: Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2016), 243-250; “Preservation” in Recycled Theory: Dizionario Illustrato/ Illustrated Dictionary, ed. S. Marini and G. Corbellino (Macerata: Quodlibet, 2016), 441-450; “Pollution,” in Bending the Future: 50 Ideas for the Next 50 Years of Historic Preservation in the United States, ed. M. Page and M. R. Miller (Amherst and Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2016), 194-200. He was the subject of articles in the V&A Conservation Journal, The Times Literary Supplement, Time Out London, The Guardian, The Evening Standard, Apollo: The International Art Magazine, Ideas.TED.com, Baunetz Woche, The Art Newspaper, The Architect’s Newspaper, RIBA Journal, The Guardian, La Nueva España, El Comercio, ABC, Fad Magazine, Whitehot Magazine, Culture Whisper, and others. Last Fall he gave a public lecture at the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture, and presented papers in two symposia: “Smoke, Mies,” at the Mies van der Rohe—Barcelona 1929 Symposium, organized by the Fundaciò Mies in Barcelona, Spain; and “The Secret Airborne Life of Buildings,” at The Secret Life of Buildings Symposium, organized by the University of Texas Austin. He participated in a public panel on the UNESCO World Heritage listing of The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier at the French Embassy’s Cultural Services in New York. He served on the jury of the Richard Morris Hunt Fellowship Prize in Washington DC.
Prof. Will Raynolds presented “Post-Disasithter Data Collection: Testing New Tools in Port-au-Prince, Haiti,” co-authored by Prof. Erica Avrami. This was published through the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) 44th Annual Meeting, Montreal, Canada, May 13-17, 2016.
Prof. George Wheeler is a stone conservation consultant on the Master Plan Team for the project Reimagining the Alamo. He has received the Association for Preservation Technology’s highest honor – The Harley McKee Award – which recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the field of preservation technology. First presented in 1985, this award is named for the late Harley J. McKee (1905-1976), the second president of APT. In bestowing the award on Dr. Wheeler at the annual conference in San Antonio, Texas, APT President and Historic Preservation Program alumnus, Dean Koga lauded Wheeler on his significant contributions to the field including his seminal book, Alkoxysilanes and the Consolidation of Stone, published by the J. Paul Getty Trust. Prof. This winter, Wheeler is set to publish a chapter in the Handbook of Sol-Gel Science and Cultural Heritage, and will also complete a book to be published later this year titled, “Lessons from Eden: What Tullio Lombardo’s Adam teaches us about sculpture conservation” with co-authors from the Metropolitan Museum.
Prof. Jessica Williams, along with a team at the Intrepid Museum, received a competitive grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for a project that I’m directing. Cold War: Stories from the Deep will expand the Museum’s oral history project and create dynamic interpretation content around the history of the submarine Growler. In addition, her writing is featured in the latest issue of Museum, the magazine of the American Alliance of Museums. Two of my exhibition labels were recognized as part of the Excellence in Exhibition Label Writing Competition.
If you have other faculty updates please send them to Melissa Parsowith firstname.lastname@example.org
The objective of the Historic Preservation Lecture Series is to offer students, faculty, alumni and the interested public opportunities to learn about current topics from leading preservation professionals and academics, who have recently completed an important project, book or other significant work. In addition to the traditional lecture, the series also includes panel discussions hosted by faculty, which foster discussion between speakers and students about contemporary preservation theories, practices and applications. The highlight of the lecture series is the annual Fitch Colloquium, the program’s prestigious international event.
This year the lecture series was made possible in part by a generous gift from the Zabar family foundation.
This Fall, the Historic Preservation program continued their Lecture Series with ten events this semester:
The 2016 Fitch Colloquium focused on the nexus between preservation and war, historically and in contemporary conflagrations. For those that missed the event, it can be viewed on the Fitch Colloquium event page.
The symposium was divided in three sessions:
The “Pre-War” session was moderated by Prof. Erica Avrami, and included speakers: Tim Winter, Research Chair of Cultural Heritage, Deakin University; Laurie Rush, Cultural Resources Manager and Archaeologist, United States Department of Defense; Leila A. Amineddoleh, Founding and Managing Partner at Amineddoleh & Associates; Lucia Allais, Assistant Professor of Architecture, Princeton University; and David Gissen, Professor of Architecture, California College of the Arts.
Alumna Kathryn Gardner was the inaugural winner of the US ICOMOS Murtagh | Graham Prize for her thesis entitled A Bitter Truth: Astringent Persimmon as a Bio-Alternative to Standard Wood Preservation Treatments. The Prize was awarded at the USICOMOS Gala Dinner last Wednesday.
Amy Swift , M.S. HP ‘09, was featured in Glamour Magazine in an profile article entitled “How I started my Own Construction Company in Detroit.”
Debora Barros , M.S. HP '05, at PBDW Architects, is working as project manager on the revitalization of the Palace Theatre, in Times Square. The project is part of a hotel and entertainment redevelopment, which includes elevating the theater twenty-nine feet, allowing for the addition of over 10,000 sf of new front-of-house space, code-compliant and accessible circulation, back-of-house spaces for the theater both beneath and adjacent, as well as new retail space beneath the theater. The consulting team includes her HP 2005 colleague Jennifer Kearney and Prof. Mary Jablonski, from Jablonski Building Conservation.
If you have other alumni updates please send them to Melissa Parsowith at email@example.com