2019 Fitch Colloquium Keynote Event

Thu, Feb 14    5:30pm

Preservation Technology Lab Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

The Historic Preservation program is delighted to announce the completion of renovations to the Preservation Technology Laboratory, which will provide students with a wonderful space to collaborate in their work at GSAPP. As a result of the renovation, students will also have access to state of the art equipment for documentation, data collection, and experimentation. All students will be trained to use the Laboratory’s new equipment to enrich their explorations in Studio, Thesis, and independent work.

To celebrate this wonderful milestone for the program, Program Director Jorge Otero-Pailos will be holding an official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Thursday, February 14th. Students, faculty, alumni and members of the preservation community are invited to attend.

The ribbon cutting ceremony will be followed by the Keynote address for the Fitch Colloquium, presented by Norman Weiss, Adjunct Professor of Historic Preservation, titled ‘Building Science’.

Register here to attend.

5:30pm - Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, 655 Schermerhorn Extension

6:30pm - Fitch Keynote Address Cocktail Reception, 209 Fayerweather

7:00pm - Fitch Keynote Address, Norman Weiss, 209 Fayerweather

To access Schermerhorn Extension, enter Schermerhorn Hall from the campus level. Click here to view Schermerhorn Extension on the Columbia University Campus Map.

2019 Fitch Colloquium Keynote Address: Building Science

For at least half a century, research in the physical sciences has played an important role in the investigation of historic buildings and of their behavior. Is there a clear relationship between science and architecture? When and how did science and engineering develop into the technical disciplines that we know today?

Here at Columbia, the training of architects began in the School of Mines in the 1880s. But about three hundred years earlier, the study of physical substance began to move beyond the observations of the classical world. This lecture will point to some key moments in that development, including the printing of books, and the formation of scientific societies.

By the end of the 18th century, for example, there was an understanding of the curing of masonry mortars, and of the corrosion of iron. In the 1850s, the scientific study of buildings included new approaches to the selection of durable architectural materials, such as salt crystallization testing and the measurement of compressive strength. Analytical instrumentation offered us new opportunities in the 20th century, and the digital revolution continues to expand our horizons today. It’s an amazing story.

Norman R. Weiss, trained as an analytical chemist, is recognized for more than fifty years of scientific work with historic buildings. He has taught here at Columbia University since 1977. Prof. Weiss is a Fellow of the Association for Preservation Technology, Vice President of MCC Materials, and Director of Scientific Research of Integrated Conservation Resources, Inc. He is Consultant Editor of the UK-based Journal of Architectural Conservation, and Chairman of the Preservation Technology and Training Board of the National Park Service. He is also a Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation, and of the Society of Antiquaries of London.

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