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M.S. Historic Preservation

Overview
The M.S. in Historic Preservation Program curriculum educates students to create new, future-oriented roles for built heritage that promote inclusive and resilient communities. With a particular focus on adapting to climate change and promoting social justice, the curriculum integrates humanist, scientific, and technological approaches necessary for students to shape the future of the profession: including the reuse of buildings, the design of adaptation technologies, planning and policy innovations, social and historical research, materials science and digital computation applied to the 3D scanning, documentation, assessment, monitoring, and care of built heritage. The program frames preservation both as an experimental form of creative expression and as a critical form of collective action guided by philosophical, ethical, and critical thinking, supported by evidence of its benefits to society, and enabled by emerging technologies and policy tools. We teach preservation as a social, material, and environmental process; as a way of thinking and acting through buildings and places of cultural significance to improve the built environment and people’s quality of life. The program’s curriculum and academic activities express an ongoing commitment to anti-racist systemic change as reflected in its anti-racism statement of purpose and the 2021-2022 anti-racism task force summary report.

Founded in 1964 as the first Masters Program in Historic Preservation in the United States, the program embodies a pioneering spirit by continually questioning how the discipline actively responds to the changing social values and climate challenges associated with architectural and cultural heritage, so as to ensure that the historic built environment better serves present and future generations.

The program prepares its graduates in the theoretical and practical foundations of preservation so they can be agents of positive environmental, cultural, and social change. Students are drawn from multi-disciplinary backgrounds such as architecture, art history, history, urban planning, engineering, science, art, urban design, archeology, anthropology, sociology, philosophy and jurisprudence. Students bring to bear their respective interests on preservation. By focusing on historical, aesthetic, technological, environmental, social and political questions, the program cultivates deep engagement with the ideas and practices that constitute preservation, and the broad multi-disciplinary skill sets that it draws upon.

The program reflects a global outlook in its diverse faculty, alumni, visiting scholars, advanced researchers, as well as in the locales where students work. It emphasizes real-world engagement with buildings, sites and communities near campus and beyond. Through study and engaged research in New York and New Jersey, as well as countries such as Italy, Cuba, Ethiopia, France, Haiti, Mexico, Norway, and the United Kingdom students apply skills in the real world and co-create knowledge with multiple publics. Learning beyond the lab and classroom is likewise enhanced through faculty-led publications, studio reports, research, public lectures and events such as the annual Fitch Colloquium.

Preservation Technology Laboratory
Jorge Otero-Pailos, Director of the MS Historic Preservation Program at Columbia GSAPP introduces the School’s newly renovated laboratory. Read more about the Preservation Technology Laboratory.
Curriculum
Columbia’s Historic Preservation Program provides a comprehensive foundation in the discipline through place-based studios, field work, laboratory research, lectures, and seminars. The curriculum encourages students to apply theoretical concepts, critical thinking and problem-solving in real-life contexts. With core strengths in design and technology, planning and policy, and history and theory, the curriculum mirrors the disciplines preservationists must engage and collaborate with in the professional world. The course of study provides fundamental knowledge of the spectrum of the discipline, and then affords each student the opportunity to develop an area of deep focus through a one year thesis.

The centerpiece of the curriculum is a three-semester studio sequence, supported by core coursework. These interdisciplinary and cross-cultural learning experiences encompass skill-building in historical, social, and technical research, data collection and visualization, community and stakeholder engagement, formal and material analyses, condition surveys, planning and policy development, interpretive and adaptive design, and the formulation of evidence-based proposals for action. Exploring questions of research and interpretation, cultural identity and values, justice and equity, sustainability and resilience, creative expression and process, these studios position the work in the field within broader societal and environmental contexts, and within broader realms of critical inquiry.

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, and provides support in identifying opportunities in New York and elsewhere.

A capstone of the curriculum is a student thesis. As a critical piece of independent research, the thesis allows students to augment their course and fieldwork to further develop specialized knowledge in an aspect of the preservation enterprise. Students develop their thesis work with the support of faculty to forge new lines of inquiry and practice, as well as to engage with members of the discipline as they launch their careers.

For those students who would like to like to specialize further or expand their studies, GSAPP offers dual degrees, allowing Historic Preservation students to jointly study Architecture (MArch), Urban Planning, or Real Estate Development.

Studio Reports

Visit an archive of studio reports completed as part of the M.S. in Historic Preservation Program here, and browse through highlights below.
Preservation as a Tool for Social Inclusion in Poughkeepsie, NY<br>Spring 2017
Yangon at a Turning Point: Progress, Heritage, and Community
Heritage, Education, and Urban Resilience: Building Alternative Futures in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Fall 2017
Heritage, Tourism and Urbanization in Lalibela, Ethiopia; Fall 2016
The Gingerbread Houses of Port-au-Prince
Eero Saarinen US Embassy in Oslo
Borders, Boundaries, and Exchanges Between People and Things Advanced V Studio; Fall 2018
NEW YORK-BASED STUDIOS

Browse the map below to view studio reports focusing on locations in New York.


Spring 2023 Courses

Course Semester Title Student Work Instructor Syllabus Requirements & Sequence Location & Time Session & Points Call No.
A4080‑1 Spring 2023
HP Elective Internship
Sarahgrace Godwin
FULL SEMESTER
1.5 Points
11504
A4334‑1 Spring 2023
Modern American Architecture
Jorge Otero-Pailos
WARE LOUNGE
M 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
1.5 Points
11506
A4839‑1 Spring 2023
Building Conditions Assesment
Kyle Normandin
CONSERVATION LAB - 655 SCHERMERHORN
M 2 PM - 5 PM
SES A
1.5 Points
11507
A6419‑1 Spring 2023
International Issues In Preservation
Erica Avrami
409 AVERY
TU 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
11509
A6689‑1 Spring 2023
Preservation in Cuba: Architecture, Planning, and Public Art
Angela Rojas
115 AVERY
TU 9 AM - 11 AM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14567
A6714‑1 Spring 2023
Experimental Preservation
Jorge Otero-Pailos
200 BUELL
TH 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
11512
A6750‑1 Spring 2023
HP Studio II
Erica Avrami, Shreya Ghoshal, Chat Travieso
301 FAYERWEATHER
TU + TH 2 PM - 6 PM
FULL SEMESTER
6 Points
11514
A6753‑1 Spring 2023
Thesis II
Jorge Otero-Pailos
BY APPOINTMENT
FULL SEMESTER
4 Points
11513
A6856‑1 Spring 2023
Master Class
Robert Hewison
CONSERVATION LAB - 655 SCHERMERHORN
T/TH 6:30-8:00, F 2 PM -3:30 PM
SES B (3/20-3/31)
1.5 Points
11516
A4124‑1 Spring 2023
Modern Building Technology
Theodore Prudon
PRESERVATION TECHNOLOGY LAB - 655 SCHERMERHORN
F 9 AM - 11 AM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
11505
A6688‑1 Spring 2023
Making Invisible History Visible: Preserving Sites if Cultural Significance
Andrew Dolkart
412 AVERY
F 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14566
A6702 Spring 2023
Investigative Techniques
Amanda Thomas Trienens
CONSERVATION LAB - 655 SCHERMERHORN
W 1 PM - 3:30 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
11510
A6705‑1 Spring 2023
Architecture & Development of NYC
Andrew Dolkart
200 BUELL
W 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
11511
A6788‑1 Spring 2023
Conservation of Concrete, Cast Stone & Mortar
Norman Weiss, Heather Hartshorn
CONSERVATION LAB - 655 SCHERMERHORN
M 2 PM - 5 PM
SES B
1.5 Points
11515
A6414‑1 Spring 2023
Digital Heritage Documentation
Bilge Kose
CONSERVATION LAB - 655 SCHERMERHORN
W 5 PM - 7 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
11508
A4047‑1 Spring 2023
Immeasurable Sites
Emanuel Admassu
114 AVERY
W 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
11291
A4890‑1 Spring 2023
Conflict Urbanism
Laura Kurgan
300 BUELL SOUTH
M 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
11405
A4407‑1 Spring 2023
Methods in Spatial Research
Adam Vosburgh
WARE LOUNGE
F 9 AM - 11 AM
SES A
1.5 Points
11410
A4861‑1 Spring 2023
Footprint: Carbon and Design
David Benjamin
409 AVERY
TH 11AM - 1PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
11468
A6675‑1 Spring 2023
Resilient Caribbean: Prototyping a Hub for the Dominican Republic
Nelson De Jesus Ubri, Vanessa Espaillat Lovett
115 AVERY
W 7 PM - 9 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
18430
A6897‑1 Spring 2023
Principles and Praxis of Spatial Justice
Ifeoma Ebo
504 AVERY
M 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
11294
Pla6816‑1 Spring 2023
JOINT MSRED/MSUP SEMINAR OPTION
Adam Lubinsky, Melissa Bindra
M 1:30-3:30
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
18431
Pla6818‑1 Spring 2023
ADV VI STUDIO / SEMINAR OPTION
David Gissen
M 1:30-3:30
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
18432
PLA6870‑1 Spring 2023
Sustainability and Energy Efficiency for CRE
Adrian Silver
209 FAYERWEATHER
TU 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
SES B
1.5 Points
12012
A4063‑1 Spring 2023
Points Unknown: Cartographic Narratives
Joshua Begley
WARE LOUNGE
F 11 AM - 1 PM
FULL SEMESTER
3 Points
14552
Recent News

Conferences

2022 Fitch Colloquium: Preservation in China’s Future: Day 1

Student Portfolios

Tonia Sing Chi ‘18 MArch/MSHP
Award-Winning Graduation Portfolio
Toniasingchi
Andrea Tonc ‘16 MArch/MSHP Award-Winning Graduation Portfolio
Andrea tonc portfolio update