Dear Students and Faculty,
I hope you have all recovered from the end of the year festivities. The graduation and the end of the year show were an amazing finish to a phenomenal semester! This Spring semester was remarkably productive. I want to thank you all for your dedication, enthusiasm, hard work and scholarly rigor. I feel very fortunate to be working with such talented students, inspiring colleagues and great staff.
At the graduation ceremony we celebrated the Class of ’17. It was so moving to see you all in regalia walking across the stage to the cheers and applause of faculty, friends and relatives. It was the culmination of two intense years of education. In your hands is a portfolio of studio projects, research papers, and most importantly your masterwork: your thesis. Taken together, these works demonstrate your mastery of preservation, and readiness to enter the profession. Scroll down to read about this year’s recipients of faculty awards for “Outstanding Thesis in Historic Preservation,” and “Kinne Research Awards.” All theses will be archived digitally and be accessible in Avery Library and through our HP program website. You should all be proud of yourselves, and you certainly made the faculty proud.
The End of Year Show is a very special tradition within the HP program. Every year, the entering class curates, designs and builds a public exhibition showcasing the work of the graduating class as well as their own projects. It is a beautiful tribute to their graduating peers, as well as a reminder not to fall asleep in their laurels, because the class of ’18 is hot on their heels! This year, Nilika Mistry designed and managed the production with the help of her classmates. It was wonderful to see all the great energy and camaraderie of the first years as they came together to produce the exhibition. It is visually striking, and there was so much work to showcase that, for the first time ever, it covers a sprawling two floors. While the lively, week-long End of Year Show closed on Saturday 5/20, you can see images on the exhibition’s webpage, find the announcement of GSAPP’s recent Award Winners, and browse our growing student work archive. Seeing the exhibition one realizes the centrality of original hands-on research in our program. Research is how students engage in the production of new knowledge. The sequence of studios culminating in thesis is the research core of our curriculum, and I invite you to scroll down to the studio section to read more about the Spring studios led by Professors Erica Avrami, Bryony Roberts and Monty Freeman.
It is impressive that some of this recent research was already the subject of publications and exhibitions. This signals both the importance of the research, as well as our program’s impact in the discipline and the world. I want to highlight a few of this semester’s research achievements:
The student research conducted in Prof. Erica Avrami’s and Prof. Will Raynold’s Advanced Studio 3 was published as a report titled “Heritage, Tourism and Urbanization: The Landscape and Development of Lalibela, Ethiopia.” It was published jointly by GSAPP, WMF and the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development.
Students conducted research on St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Harlem as part of Prof. Bryony Robert’s Studio II “Harlem in Transition.” The work was presented as an onsite installation in collaboration with the church vestry and community activists.
Students in Prof. Jennifer Gray’s Spring class “Modern American Architectural History” conducted research on postwar buildings designed by American Architects in Venezuela. The research is being featured as part of an exhibition organized by DOCOMOMO Venezuela, with support from the US Department of State.
Students conducted research on how to reconstruct the historic smell of the J.P. Morgan Library as part of Prof. Andreas Keller’s and my “Experimental Preservation” course. The research was profiled in The New York Times and Hyperallergic.
Such cutting edge academic research is both informed by and enlightening for the profession. As a result, our faculty’s research and professional work are often the subject of national and international news. This Spring our program was the focus of much public interest. For example, Professor Adam Lowe and Prof. Carlos Bayod were featured in The New Yorker and PBS Newshour. Prof. Kim Yao was profiled in Architectural Record. Professor Andrew Dolkart was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal. Scroll down to the faculty news section to learn more about the faculty’s notable recent achievements.
Engaging with the world is part of our mission as a leading research institution. We engage by going out into the world, but also by inviting the world’s leading preservation figures into our program through our Historic Preservation Lectures Series. We are grateful for the gift from the Zabar Family Foundation, which allowed us to raise the profile of the series this year. At a time when so much attention inside and outside of our campus has been focused on building walls between nations, Prof. Leo Schmidt from Brandenburg University discussed how the fate of the Berlin Wall might help us rethink the role of preservation in international relations. The semester’s highlight was the Paul Byard Memorial lecture, delivered by Francine Houben, principal of the dutch firm Mecanoo Architects. Houben focused on her restoration of Mies van der Rohe’s MLK Library in Washington DC, and the New York Public Library. We also hosted the conferences of the Association of North American Graduate Programs in Conservation and the international Architectural Paint Research Conference.
This Spring we announced the launch of a new podcast series, GSAPP Conversations, featuring interviews with our guest speakers and faculty. I invite you to listen in on these fascinating conversations, and to please help us spread the word about this new resource available on Itunes and Soundcloud. It is great listening to accompany your summer travels, or your commute to work.
On that note, I am thrilled that many of our graduating students already have jobs. I want to recognize the work of the Program Office in helping to open professional doors for you. Melissa Parsowith has professionalized our career services with Leigh Smith’s support. We now have streamlined communications with alumni and employers, and more effective career networking events to give students access to the profession.
Continuing students will be moving on to summer internships both in the US and abroad. We are very fortunate to have received an anonymous gift to support summer research travel for them. They will be engaging in hands-on international projects and crisscrossing continents. In addition, Prof. Will Raynolds will be running a summer workshop to digitally document a string of monuments along the Jordan Valley.
Our Historic Preservation Program is stronger than ever, with the largest full-time tenure and tenure track faculty in its history alongside 30 adjunct faculty. We have been able to re-allocate resources to strengthen the curriculum, in particular the courses in architectural conservation, science, and technology that now take up nearly half of our class offerings. In addition, conservation is newly integrated into the required Studio 1 so that every one of our students has a foundation in architectural conservation. Also for the first time, we have added a second year studio in advanced preservation technology with funding to travel internationally, which allows students to do hands-on conservation work on major monuments around the world. You’ll be able to read about this exciting recent work by some of the faculty and students in more detail below.
I wish you all a pleasant and productive summer. I can’t wait to see the product of all activities when we all meet again in September.
New Adjunct Faculty
Bryony Roberts joined the faculty to teach a new seminar called Drawing Ideology and Studio II. Her studio was entitled “Harlem in Transition” and focused on the preservation and adaptive reuse of St. Luke’s and St. Martin’s Episcopal churches. She also organized a discussion panel as one of the Lecture Series events entitled “Performing History”. She earned her B.A. from Yale University and her M.Arch from Princeton University, and started her own research and design practice, Bryony Roberts Studio, in 2011. Her practice combines methods from architecture, visual art, and preservation to produce transformations of existing architecture.
This semester, Erica Avrami, Belmont Freeman and Bryony Roberts taught separate Studio II courses focused respectively on three separate locations: downtown Poughkeepsie, NY, the Andrew Freedman Home in the Bronx, and Harlem.
Past as Prologue: Preservation as a Tool for Social Inclusion. Poughkeepsie, NY - Erica Avrami
A core aim of this studio was to engage students in evidenced-based preservation planning and project development at a scale beyond the individual building or site, so as to understand the role heritage and plays within larger community, urban, and regional dynamics, and to ensure that preservation generates positive long-term outcomes for populations and environments. This studio focused on the downtown area of Poughkeepsie along Main Street. Once a thriving, mixed-use hub of the city, it has declined significantly, having been cut off from the waterfront and other areas, in part due to past urban renewal efforts and the construction of arterial highways as well as the loss of industry in the region. Students undertook research into the evolution of the city, mapped and analyzed current physical and socio-economic conditions, and developed policy and project proposals that utilize preservation as a tool for: retaining affordable housing in the downtown area, fostering economic vitality, especially through the incubation of small businesses, and engaging a diverse citizenry in the use of Poughkeepsie’s history and significant places. This studio involved community engagement, archival and historical research, visual analyses, as well as a range of mapping and survey methods to understand the physical and social context and evolution of the study area.
Preservation Design Proposals for the Andrew Freedman Home - Belmont Freeman
The Andrew Freedman Home is a grand Renaissance Revival palazzo on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, built in 1924 as a retirement home for formerly-affluent people “of good social class” who had fallen on hard times. Since the 1980s the facility has been owned by the Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens Council, which has struggled to maintain the structure and has never fully realized its plan to renovate the building for senior housing. Different social service entities operate from the Home, and the Bronx Museum of Art and other arts organizations have used the site for events and installations. The Andrew Freedman Home is an individual NYC Landmark, as well as being included in the Grand Concourse Historic District, which is characterized by some of the city’s best Art Deco design. The neighborhood is in flux, with a resurgent economy, demand for affordable housing, and a lively cultural scene. The Home occupies a full-block site with, by current zoning, tremendous unrealized development rights. This studio focused on the enlightened development of the site as a strategy for the long-term preservation of the Freedman Home. As an architectural design studio, the product was individual design proposals by each student. To inform our design interventions, the class first researched the history of the site, the present social, political and economic context, physical condition of the building and landscape, and current operations at the facility.
Harlem in Transition - Bryony Roberts
Focusing on threatened churches in central Harlem, this studio foregrounded processes of community involvement and design experimentation. The course looked at monumental churches St. Luke’s and St. Martin’s that are architecturally stunning but have shrinking congregations and resources. Students focused on the social value of these sites–how to document their social histories and to repurpose the spaces for contemporary users. This process involved archival research as well as active discussions with current users and local communities. Students developed proposals for the future use and transformation of the sites, including conservation, programming and design. This studio encouraged a broad range of design thinking beyond standard architectural solutions, including possibilities for multimedia, ephemeral and performative design ideas. The semester culminated in an exhibition on the challenges facing historic churches in Harlem, and strategies for reimagining their social and architectural futures on April 29, 2017 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.
Tania Alam ‘17
• Recipient of a Historic Preservation Faculty Award for Outstanding Thesis: “The Evolution of American Historic Color Palettes” Advisor: Mary Jablonski
Jessica Elizabeth Betz '17
• Recipient of a Historic Preservation Faculty Award for Outstanding Thesis: “The Influence of Glass Transition Temperatures on the Performance of Acrylic Thermoplastic Adhesives” Advisor: George Wheeler
Mayssa Jallad '17
• Recipient of a Historic Preservation Faculty Award for Outstanding Thesis: “Beirut’s Civil War Hotel District: Preserving the World’s First High-Rise Urban Battlefeild.” Advisor: Jorge Otero-Pailos and the Peer to Peer Award, in recognition of outstanding service to classmates, faculty and school.
Nick Kazmierski '17, Dual Degree with Master of Architecture
• Recipient of the Ali Jawad Malik Memorial Theory Honor Award in recognition of high quality of work in the history/theory sequence.
Cheng Liao '17
• Recipient of a William Kinne Fellows Prize for travel and study abroad, for the proposal: Modern Adaptations of Vernacular Architecture: Case Study of Architects and Non-Architects Practices in Vietnam
Cameron Robertson '17, Dual Degree with Master of Science, Urban Planning
• Recipient of the GSAPP Service Award '17 • In recognition of willing service to the School, and who gives promise of real professional merit through attitude and character.
Katrina Virbitsky '17
• Recipient of a William Kinne Fellows Prize: The conservation and management of the Berlin Wall concrete panels
Laura Weinstein '17
• Recipient of a Historic Preservation Faculty Award for Outstanding Thesis: “The Progression of Historic Preservation in Miami Beach and the Challenges of Sea Level Rise” Advisor: Carol Clark
Qi Zhang '17
• Recipient of a Historic Preservation Faculty Award for Outstanding Thesis: “Urban Preservation in China: The Survival of an Idea Despite Political Repression, 1950-1982” Advisor: Jorge Otero-Pailos
Cameron Robertson ‘17 served as a student representative for GSAPP to the University Senate.
Sarah Redden ‘17 was invited to participate in a Round Table discussion by the Chairholder of the Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage that took place March 15-17, 2017 in Montreal, Canada. The theme of the Round Table was: Balancing Tourism and Heritage Conservation: a World Heritage context.
Future Anterior special issue on “Smell in Preservation” came out in May 2017.
HP students Justin Clevenger, Melissa Doherty, Travis Kennedy, Adam Lubitz, Morgan O'Hara, David Peterson, Halley Ramos, and Katherine Taylor-Hasty are working with Professor Jennifer Gray and collaborating with HP Alumna Hannia Gomez, President of DOCOMOMO Venezuela, on an upcoming exhibition and publication featuring the work of American modern architects in Caracas. Opening at the American Embassy in Caracas in late July, the exhibition includes work by Robert Moses, Richard Neutra, Bruce Goff, Marcel Breuer, and many more, and demonstrates the enduring cultural exchange between the United States and Latin America.
Prof. Michael Adlerstein led a discussion about Sustainable Retrofits along with his UN consultants, Syska and Vidaris, on April 24, 2017. The discussion focused on Adlerstein’s study to assess the carbon-saving value of structures that are retained.
Prof. Erica Avrami served as junior faculty representative for GSAPP to the University Senate this year. During the semester, she participated in the first workshop of the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) University Forum held in Paris from March 13-15, 2017. The forum dealt with the question: Can the reconstruction of heritance play an important role in the process of re-building society in the wake of destructive events? She also represented the ICOMOS Sustainable Development Goals Working Group at the United Nations Economic and Social Council Partnership Forum on April 5.
Prof. Carlos Bayod, along with Prof. Adam Lowe, had his work on digital preservation technology was featured on April 28th’s PBS Newshour. You also hear him featured along with Jorge Otero-Pailos and Adam Lowe in episode #5 of the GSAPP Conversations podcast.
Prof. Paul Bentel, along with his firm Bentel & Bentel, received the Excellence in Preservation for Rouge Tomate Chelsea, a restaurant and building restoration. The project was also selected as an honoree for the NYCXDesign Award in 2017. Bentel & Bentel received an Award for its design of the Amenity Space at 432 Park Avenue from NYCXDesign.
Prof. Brigitte Cook has been the project architect at PBDW architects for the 4th floor renovation at the New-York Historical Society, which is now open to the public. It includes the first gallery dedicated to women in American history and a revision of the Luce Center. Her office was also the architects of record, collaborating with the design architects, Eva Jiřičná of London and Prague for the Tiffany Gallery. She also presented at the SHPO Preservation Conference in Connecticut on “Changing Technology: Innovation in Historic Documentation” on Thursday, May 18th.
Prof. Andrew Dolkart gave a speech entitled “Hiding in Plain Sight: The Six-Story Apartment House in New York City” at a symposium exploring the history of architectural and urban development in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island at the Brooklyn College Library on March 23, 2017. He also gave two lectures in early April at the Kungl. Konsthögskolan (the Royal Institute of Art) in Stockholm. One lecture, to the conservation students, examined the roots of historic preservation in New York, and the other, open to all students, presented the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project. The website for the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, co-directed by Professor Dolkart and three other Columbia HP graduates, was recently launched, and can be found at www.nyclgbtsites.org. He was also recently quoted in the May 10th Wall Street Journal article, “Gutting New York Landmarks to Preserve Them”.
Prof. Don Friedman’s research was used as a basis for the exhibit accompanying the symposium “The Rise of the Skyscraper City: All the Tall Buildings in Manhattan, 1874-1900” on March 9-10, 2017 at the Skyscraper Museum.
Prof. Adam Lowe published “Digital Recording in a Time of Iconoclasm, Tourism and Anti-Ageing,” in In Harm’s Way: Aspects of Cultural Heritage Protection. He joined the Director of UNESCO, the Egyptian Minister of Antiquities, Dr. Khaled El Enany, and the Swiss Ambassador Markus Leitner for the inauguration of Stoppelaere House, a fully restored masterpiece of twentieth century architecture by Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy. The restoration of Stoppelaëre´s house is part of the Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative, a collaboration between the Ministry of Antiquities, the University of Basel and the Factum Foundation for Digital Technology in Conservation. His foundation Factum Arte announced new projects at Strawberry Hill, Cochno Stone, and Borgherini Chapel, and his work on digital preservation technology was featured on April 28th’s PBS Newshour. You also hear him featured along with Jorge Otero-Pailos and Carlos Bayod in episode #5 of the GSAPP Conversations podcast.
Prof. Jorge Otero-Pailos gave a keynote address at the 2017 International Academic Forum Built Heritage: A Cultural Motivator for Urban and Rural Development held at Tongji University in Shanghai on April 7-10, 2017. He also gave lectures on his current work at: Tongji University’s School of Architecture (Shanghai), Tsinghua University’s School of Architecture (Beijing), and the Beijing Tsinghua Tongheng Urban Planning and Design Institute. While in Beijing and Shanghai he met with prospective and admitted students. He also spoke on the issues of refugee heritage at the event The Architecture of Exile: Refugee Heritage on February 24, 2017, and participated in a panel discussing Impossible Objects (New Terms/New Constituencies) at Storefront for Art and Architectures’s Smart Cities? Conference on April 23, 2017 at the New School.You can also listen to him talk with Carlos Bayod and Adam Lowe and discuss Washington DC’s MLK Memorial Library, and the challenges of balancing the legacies of Mies and Martin Luther King, Jr. with Francine Houben in Episode #5 and #10 of GSAPP Conversations podcast, respectively. He will be giving a talk at the Fitch Foundation Fitch Fellows Welcome Reception on June 14, 2017. Most recently, his book Experimental Preservation, co-edited by himself, Erik Langdalen and Thordis Arrhenius, was reviewed by Maarten Liefooghe in the Dutch journal Monumenten Landshappen en Archeologie, n. 2, v. 36 (March-April 2017): 58-61.
Prof. Richard Pieper held a meet and greet on March 25, 2017 at the Ellis Island New Immigrant Building. As Director of Preservation at Jan Hird Pokorny Associates, he lead a tour from the restored Ferry Building into a select group of unrestored buildings on Ellis Island at the event “The Actual Bricks and Mortar Story: Building Ellis Island’s Hospitals”.
Prof. Mark Rakatansky published the essay “The Transformations of Giulio Romano: Palazzo Stati Maccarani” in Aggregate.
Prof. Will Raynolds was a panelist at the Connecticut SHPO Statewide Preservation Conference. He will also be leading the Summer Workshop to Jordan. The workshop will conduct a rapid assessment of current conditions of the lesser known and largely unprotected historic sites along newly opened hiking trail and anticipate preservation, planning, and interpretative challenges associated with the ongoing development of the route.
Prof. Bryony Roberts moderated a talk at the AIA New York Center for Architecture representatives from Herzog & de Meuron, PBDW Architects, Foreground Conservation Arts, and the Park Avenue Armory. The Park Avenue Armory presented highlights of the transformative process of restoring and renovating this Gilded Age building, including the delicate insertion of new infrastructure, designing for code compliance, and the conservation of the outstanding architectural features in four of the period rooms completed to date. She also gave a presentation at the Princeton School of Architecture on March 4, 2017 for the Stand By Your Monster: A Conference on Queering Architectural Practice, as well as a lecture on her recent work at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago on March 30, 2017. She exhibited a site-specific installation in the California-Pacific Triennial at the Orange County Museum of Art that opened May 5, 2017. She also will be doing a performance and exhibition for Storefront for Art and Architecture in Fall 2017, as a collaboration with Mabel Wilson and the Marching Cobras of Harlem. The project re-interprets the legacy of marching in Harlem as a means of claiming space.
Prof. Norman Weiss organized a special exhibition in Wallach Study Center, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library. It was on view until April 22, 2017 in concert with the 6th Architectural Paint Research Conference (March 15-17, 2017) and Association of North American Graduate Programs in Conservation student conference (April 20-22, 2017). He also was part of the committee that spearheaded Architectural Paint Research Conference.
Prof. George Wheeler became a 2017 Alumni Award Winner at Muhlenberg College for his work in the conservation of art and architecture. While at Muhlenberg, he majored in art history and physics and was an All-Conference wide receiver and second baseman. The college honored him for his distinguished 25-year career in the Department of Scientific Research at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and his 13 years as Director of Conservation at Columbia University. In addition to citing his many publications, including his book, Alkoxysilanes and the Consolidation Stone published by the J.P. Getty Trust in 2005, it was noted that Dr. Wheeler is the only alumni in Muhlenberg’s history to receive the much coveted Rome Prize and in November 2016 received the Harley J. McKee Award – the highest award of the Association for Preservation Technology. Recent projects include the conservation of Cleopatra’s Needle – the Egyptian obelisk in Central Park, New York City, serving as the conservation science advisor for new Master Plan for the Alamo and as the chief scientific advisor for the conservation the Renaissance artist Tullio Lombardo’s Carrara marble sculpture of Adam. Dr. Wheeler also serves as conservation and science advisor for the Isamu Noguchi Foundation, for the outdoor sculpture collection of New York University’s Villa La Pietra in Florence, and for the fabrication of stone sculpture for the artist Jeff Koons.
-Performing History, organized by Bryony Roberts, Speakers: Kate Gilmore, Artist and Associate Professor, SUNY Purchase College, Bryony Roberts, Architect and Visiting Professor, Columbia GSAPP, Xaviera Simmons, Artist and Research Scholar, Harvard University. Moderated by Andrés Jaque, Architect and Adjunct Associate Professor, Columbia GSAPP
-Living Memory Theater: Performing Heritage in Zagreb and Dubrovnik, The Shadow Casters (Boris Bakal and Sandra Uskokovic)
-Material Matters, Frank Matero, Professor of Architecture and Historic Preservation, Director, The Architectural Conservation Laboratory, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania
-The Fall and Rise of the Berlin Wall, Leo Schmidt, Brandenburg University of Technology
-The Mogao Grottoes - Taking the Long View of Cultural Heritage, Martha Demas, The Getty Conservation Institute
-People, Place, Purpose - Paul S. Byard Memorial Lecture, Francine Houben, founder and creative director of Mecanoo Architecten
The 6th Architectural Paint Research Conference was held at Columbia March 15-17, 2017. The theme of the conference, Powers of Ten, is reference to a short film from 1977 by Charles and Ray Eames. Like the film, Architectural Paint Research (APR) deals with magnitudes of scale, from a single pigment particle, to a painted house, to the decorative tastes of an entire region. In the spirit of the film, the 2017 APR conference took a closer look at how we carry out our research at every level, from the micro to the macroscopic. The conference was spearheaded by three HP Faculty: Claudia Kavenagh, Mary Jablonski, Norman Weiss.
On March 20, 2017, Crossing Waters documentary was shown at Columbia. The Documentary focuses on America’s attitude towards immigrants, yesterday and today, with focus on one immigrant group in one of Poughkeepsie, NY’s neighborhoods .The Producer, Director and Co-editor Jane Watson, as well as Vassar College Emeritus Professor of Geography Harvey Flad were available for a Q&A after the documentary was shown.
Otero-Pailos speaks with Francine Houben of Mecanoo. They focus on her firm's ongoing renovation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington DC, originally designed by Mies van der Rohe.
“I felt two men on my shoulders. On the left side is Mies and on the right side is Martin Luther King, Jr. ... I said Martin Luther King is more important to make the building more open, more welcoming. In a kind of very subtle way, I balanced Mies and Martin Luther King and if it was conflicting, Martin Luther King won.”
–Francine Houben on the design process of the MLK Memorial Library
Otero-Pailos speaks with Carlos Bayod Lucini and Adam Lowe of Factum Arte. Based in Madrid, London and Milan, Factum Arte was founded by Lowe and has become internationally renowned for setting new standards in digital documentation and redefining the relationship between originality and authenticity. Lowe and Bayod Lucini jointly taught an advanced studio in Historic Preservation at Columbia GSAPP in the Fall of 2016, which involved the documentation of the medieval church of San Baudelio de Berlanga in Spain, as well as some of its paintings in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Cloisters.
They discuss the need for teaching students not only practical skills but also a conceptual understanding of how new technologies can be applied, the importance of recording of artefacts during times of peace, and Factum Arte’s work in creating of the first high resolution digital record of the Tomb of Seti I in Luxor, Egypt:
"...the Valley of the Kings was designed to last forever, but never to be visited..."
– Adam Lowe
Gunny Harboe ‘82 received the Preservation Alumni Leadership Award. Gunny is the President of Harboe Architects, a firm which has worked on many Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in Chicago with great success. He is also a US/ICOMOS Fellow, a founding member of DOCOMOMO_US, and holds leadership positions at an array of organizations dedicated to the preservation of the built form in Chicago.
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