Architectural Conservation encompasses the physical documentation, analysis, conditions diagnosis, testing, monitoring, treatment, and preventive maintenance of buildings, structures and sites. It is the technical means by which a wide spectrum of preservation interventions are conducted on all built heritage to address a broad range of issues from material deterioration to historical interpretation. As one specialization within the broader field of Historic Preservation, it is distinguished by the application of scientific method in the study of historic buildings and sites in accordance with a clearly defined theoretical and methodological approach. Work opportunities within this specialization include private practice such as architectural and technical consulting firms as well as public institutions such as federal and state agencies and non-governmental organizations that own or manage heritage places. Click here for further details.
The Preservation Design concentration prepares students with previous training in design, engineering, and planning to apply preservation principles and methods to design practices. Unlike typical graduate-level design programs, PennDesign’s concentration applies these tools to the existing built environment, in a manner informed by current historic preservation theory and practice. In the last decade, the preservation and design fields have evolved much more complex and intense points of engagement – reflected in the ascendance of the creative reuse of historic structures and places as design problems, greater focus on technical understanding and modelling of the performance of existing buildings, and, at the scale of community, landscape and urbanism, much greater attention to conservation as a tool to achieve resilience.
This concentration prepares students for careers in architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, engineering and planning, as well as project review at the local, state or national level or with non-profits such as the Main Street Program. Click here for further details.
Preservation planning uses policy and planning tools to carry out preservation at larger scales – of neighborhoods, cities, towns, and cultural landscapes. Issues of larger-scale preservation -- and how they connect with other planning, development, environmental and social issues – continue to grow as strategically important parts of preservation practice.
Work in the preservation planning concentration focuses on decision-making processes relating to the management and financing of heritage places through time, as well as the integration of heritage values into territorial planning and policy systems. Community planning, adaptive reuse proposals, policy analysis and innovation are typical project types. The professional pathways for those focusing on preservation planning include: public policy (including regulatory and survey work), city and town planning (including urban revitalization, economic development and community development), real-estate development and consulting, advocacy, and creative placemaking.
Correspondingly, preservation planning graduates secure jobs in a broad range of organizations: governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, foundations, not-for-profit corporations, developers, and consulting firms. Click here for further details.
Public History of the Built Environment
The Public History of the Built Environment (PHBE) concentration prepares students to put the study of urban and architectural history in service to publicly-oriented historic preservation practice. Unlike more general graduate-level public history programs, PennDesign’s concentration focuses on the built environment, in a manner informed by other aspects of current historic preservation practice. Our emphasis is on the American cultural landscape—using Philadelphia as our laboratory—but the tools and skills covered will be relevant for international application across diverse geographies. This concentration prepares students for careers in government such as the National Park Service (NPS), State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs), public history museums, historic sites, archives, cultural resources management (CRM) firms, and design offices specializing in Historic Preservation. Click here for further details.