M.S. Historic Preservation


The Historic Preservation Program prepares leaders to address the great challenges of protecting the world’s architectural, cultural, and historical heritage in the face of profound change. The multi-disciplinary program has set the standard in the dynamic field of historic preservation and heritage conservation since James Marston Fitch founded it in 1964 as the first such program in the United States.

The program’s renowned faculty uses the architectural and historic riches of New York City as its laboratory, while encouraging study throughout the United States and the world. The Columbia University curriculum stresses the development of analytical thinking and effective communication, coupled with a strong base of knowledge in history, theory, conservation science, planning and policy, and design. Students graduate with the necessary skills and knowledge to advance this rapidly evolving field and thus join the vibrant network of alumni who are already redefining the boundaries and practice of heritage conservation around the world.


The Historic Preservation Program offers a curriculum of extraordinary diversity. The curriculum includes a series of core courses, providing each student with basic knowledge of the field, and then broadens, allowing each student the opportunity to develop his or her own focus.

The core curriculum is the focus of a student’s first year. The centerpiece of the curriculum is studio. Students work individually and in groups within a studio environment, meeting one-on-one with each of the studio faculty. Key to the core curriculum is a course entitled “Theory and Practice of Historic Preservation” that provides each student with a grounding in the historical ideas behind the field. Students also take Preservation Planning and Policy, an introduction to planning as a preservation tool; Building Systems and Materials, which introduces building techniques and materials, and American Architecture I, a history of architecture in the United States through the 1880s. Several of the first semester courses continue into a student’s second semester.

During the summer between the first and second year, the Historic Preservation Program strongly suggests the completion of one or more internships or work experiences as part of a student’s education and career development.

During the second year of study, students take Preservation Colloquium, a class that analyzes issues introduced in the first year and prepares students for the completion of a thesis. By the beginning of the second year, students have finalized their thesis topic. Preliminary thesis presentations will be made during the first semester, but the bulk of thesis work will occur during winter break and during the second semester. All other classes during the second year are electives that may be taken from the offerings of the Historic Preservation Program, the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation in general, or from classes in other departments and schools at Columbia.

Students are encouraged to focus their work, particularly in the second year, and to acquire depth in at least one of the following areas: Preservation, Design, History and Theory, and Planning and Policy.

GSAPP Conversations

Historic Preservation Program Director Jorge Otero-Pailos speaks with Carlos Bayod Lucini and Adam Lowe of Factum Arte. Lowe and Bayod Lucini jointly taught an advanced preservation studio 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. 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.

Field Projects Research Reports

2016 Fitch Colloquium: Preservation and War, Panel 1

Pre War

Tim Winter
Research Chair of Cultural Heritage, Deakin University
Laurie Rush
Cultural Resources Manager and Archaeologist, US Department of Defense
Leila A. Amineddoleh
Founding and Managing Partner at Amineddoleh & Associates
Lucia Allais
Assistant Professor of Architecture, Princeton University
David Gissen
Professor of Architecture, California College of the Arts

Moderated by Erica Avrami
James Marston Fitch Assistant Professor of Historic Preservation, Columbia GSAPP

Spring 2017 Courses

Course Semester Title Student Work Instructor Syllabus Requirements & Sequence Location & Time Session & Points Call No.
A4892‑1 Spring 2017
Data Visualization For Architecture, Urbanism and The Humanities
Juan Saldarriaga All GSAPP Interdisciplinary, GSAS
600 Avery Hall
F 9 AM - 11 AM
Full Semester
3 Points
A6412‑1 Spring 2017
Professional Practice and Project Management
Claudia Kavenagh Elective
HP Lab-655 Schermer
TU 9 AM - 11 AM
Full Semester
3 Points
A6414‑1 Spring 2017
GIS for Preservation
Jennifer Most Elective, HP Students Only
202 Fayerweather
W 6 PM - 8 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
A6418‑1 Spring 2017
Building Diagnostics & Conditions Survey
Donald Friedman, William Raynolds Elective
HP Lab 655- Schermerhorn
M 11 AM - 1 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
A6419‑1 Spring 2017
International Issues in Preservation
Erica Avrami Elective
115 Avery Hall
TH 11 AM- 1 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
A6510‑1 Spring 2017
Neighborhood Preservation and Zoning
Carol Clark Mini Session
323 M Fayerweather
TU 6 PM - 8 PM
SES A 1/17-3/3
1.5 Points
A6712‑1 Spring 2017
Architectural Finishes in America
Mary Jablonski Mini Session
HP Lab 655- Schermerhorn
TU 6 PM -8 PM
Ses B 3/6- 4/21
1.5 Points
A6714‑1 Spring 2017
Experimental Preservation
Jorge Otero-Pailos, Andreas Keller Elective
300 Avery Hall
W 11 AM - 1 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
A6727‑1 Spring 2017
Old Buildings, New Forms
Francoise Bollack Elective
300 Buell North
TU 11AM- 1PM
Full Semester
3 Points
A6730‑1 Spring 2017
American Architecture II
Jennifer Gray Required 1st Year
200 South Fayerweather
TU 11 AM - 1 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
A6750‑1 Spring 2017
HP Studio II
Erica Avrami Required 1st Year
301 Fayerweather
M & TH 2 PM - 6 PM
Full Semester
6 Points
A6750‑2 Spring 2017
HP Studio II
Belmont Freeman Required 1st Year
301 Fayerweather
M & TH 2 PM-6 PM
Full Semester
6 Points
A6750‑3 Spring 2017
HP Studio II
Bryony Roberts Required 1st Year
301 Fayerweather
M & TH 2 PM-6 PM
Full Semester
6 Points
A6753‑1 Spring 2017
Thesis II
Required 2nd Yr
By Appointment
Full Semester
4 Points
A6764‑1 Spring 2017
Conservation Science
George Wheeler, Norman Weiss Elective
HP Lab-655 Schermerhorn
W 2 PM-6 PM
Full Semester
4 Points
A6784‑1 Spring 2017
Brick, Terra Cotta + Stone
George Wheeler, Norman Weiss, Daniel Allen Elective, Arch Tech Elective
HP Lab-655 Schermerhorn Hall
TU 1 PM- 4 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
A6800‑1 Spring 2017
Drawing Ideology
Bryony Roberts Elective
300 Avery Hall
TH 9 AM- 11 AM
Full Semester
3 Points
A6841‑1 Spring 2017
Public Interest for the Public Good: On Infrastructure
Mary Ellen Carroll
323 M Fayerweather
SES B 3/6-4/21
1.5 Points
A6848‑1 Spring 2017
John Ruskin and the 19th Century
Robert Hewison Mini Session
HP Lab-655 Schermer
2/13, 2/15, 2/20, 2/22 6-8 PM
SES A 1/19-3/4
1.5 Points
A6852‑1 Spring 2017
Interpretation and Architecture
Jessica Williams Elective
412 Avery
TU 4 PM - 6 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
Current Faculty
Michael Adlerstein
Carlos Bayod Lucini
Francoise Bollack
Mary Ellen Carroll
Carolina Castellanos
Belmont Freeman
Donald Friedman
Chris Gembinski
Claudia Kavenagh
Christopher Neville
Theodore Prudon
William Raynolds
Helen Thomas-Haney
Jessica Williams
Dual and Joint Degree Programs

Master of Architecture and M.S. in Historic Preservation

M.S. in Urban Planning and M.S. in Historic Preservation

M.S. in Historic Preservation and M.S. in Real Estate Development

Dual Degree graduate Andrea Tonc's (M.Arch/M.S. HP '16) award-winning graduation portfolio