Fall Courses 2018
This course is a survey of architecture in the United States. The organization, while broadly chronological, emphasizes themes around which important scholarship has gathered. The central purpose is to acquaint you with major cultural, economic, technological, and environmental forces that have shaped buildings and settlements in North America for the last 400 years. To that end, we will study a mix of “high-style” and “vernacular” architectures while encouraging you to think critically about these categories. Throughout the semester, you will be asked to grapple with both the content of assigned readings (the subject) and the manner in which authors present their arguments (the method). Louis Sullivan, for instance, gives us the tall office building “artistically considered” while Carol Willis presents it as a financial and legal artifact. What do you make of the difference? Finally, you will learn how to describe buildings. While mastery of architectural vocabulary is a necessary part of that endeavor, it is only a starting point. Rich or “thick” description is more than accurate prose. It is integral to understanding the built environment – indeed, to seeing it at all.
Building Diagnostics and Monitoring
Building diagnostics pertain to the determination of the nature of a building's condition or performance and the identification of the corresponding causative pathologies by a careful observation and investigation of its history, context and use, resulting in a formal opinion by the professional. Monitoring, a building diagnostic tool, is the consistent observation and recordation of a selected condition or attribute, by qualitative and/or quantitative measures over a period of time in order to generate useful information or data for analysis and presentation. Building diagnostics and monitoring allow the building professional to identify the causes and enabling factors of past or potential pathologies in a building and building systems, thus informing the development appropriate interventions or corrective measures. In the case of heritage buildings, the process informs the selection of interventions that satisfy the stewardship goals for the cultural resource. In the case of recently constructed buildings, the process informs the identification of envelope and systems interventions for improved performance and energy efficiency.
This course provides an introduction to architectural conservation and the technical study of traditional building materials. Lectures and accompanying laboratory sessions introduce the nature and composition of these materials, their properties, and mechanisms of deterioration, and the general laboratory skills necessary for field and laboratory characterization. Knowledge of basic college level chemistry is required.
Cultural Landscapes & Landscape Preservation
The course introduces the history and understanding of common American landscapes and surveys the field of cultural landscape studies. Methods of landscape preservation are also surveyed. The cultural-landscape perspective is a unique lens for understanding the evolution of the built environment, the experience of landscapes, and the economic, political and social processes that shape the places where most Americans spend most of their time. The course will focus on the forces and patterns (natural and cultural) behind the shaping of recognizably "American" landscapes, whether urban, suburban, or rural. Methods for documenting and preserving cultural landscapes will be surveyed. Class discussions, readings, and projects will draw on several disciplines--cultural geography, vernacular architecture, environmental history, historic preservation, ecology, art, and writing.
American Building Technology I: Building Anatomy
Much architectural writing--from Vitruvius to Le Corbusier--has drawn analogous comparisons between buildings and the human body. Like the skeleton, skin, and internal metabolic systems of the human corpus, buildings are comprised of a structure, infrastructure, and outer surface which are all connected and through which liquids, gases and solids pass. Traditionally, form depended in large part on systems of construction and the selection and manipulation of individual materials. Understanding architecture’s materiality in terms of form and fabric, structure and skin, and mechanical systems is essential in understanding not only what a building is, but how it evolves over time. American Building Technology will be divided into two discreet six week modules conceived in succession and taught during the second half of the first semester and first half of the second semester respectively. Module 1: Building Anatomy will examine traditional construction methods through a typological analysis of construction systems. Module 2: Building Archaeology will address the morphological evolution of a structure and its physical setting, sometimes known as “above ground archaeology.” Since the physical fabric and its evidences of cultural alteration present one primary mode of inquiry, archaeological theory and method provide an excellent means to recover, read, and interpret material evidence, especially in association with documentary and archival sources. The course is intended to introduce students in Historic Preservation to the physical realities of built form and its analysis through careful observation and description. Note: This course continues in the first half of the spring semester for another 0.5 CU.
Preservation Through Public Policy
This course explores the intersection between historic preservation, design and public policy, as it exists and as it is evolving. That exploration is based on the recognition that a challenging and challenged network of law and policy at the federal, state and local level has direct and profound impact on the ability to manage cultural resources, and that the pieces of that network, while interconnected, are not necessarily mutually supportive. The fundamental assumption of the course is that the preservation professional must understand the capabilities, deficiencies, and ongoing evolution of this network in order to be effective. The course will look at a range of relevant and exemplary laws and policies existing at all levels of government, examining them through case studies and in-depth analyses of pertinent programs and agencies at the local, state and federal level.
Documentation, Research, Recording I
The goal of this course is to help students learn to contextualize the history of buildings and sites. In order to gain first-hand exposure to the actual materials of building histories, we will visit a half-dozen key archival repositories. Students will work directly with historical evidence, including maps, deeds, the census, city directories, insurance surveys, photographs, and many other kinds of archival materials. After discussing each type of document in terms of its nature and the motives for its creation, students will complete a series of projects that develop their facility for putting these materials to effective use. Philadelphia is more our laboratory than a primary focus in terms of content, as the city is rich in institutions that hold over three centuries of such materials; students will find here both an exposure to primary documents of most of the types they might find elsewhere, as well as a sense of the culture of such institutions and of the kinds of research strategies that can be most effective. The final project is the completion of an historic register nomination.
Historic Site Management
This course focuses on management, planning, and decision making for all types of heritage sites from individual buildings to historic sites to whole landscapes. Course material will draw on model approaches to management, as well as a series of domestic and international case studies, with the goal of understanding the practicalities of site management. Particular topics to be examined in greater detail might include conservation policy, interpretation, tourism, or economic development strategies.
Advanced Digital Media for Historic Preservation
Advanced Digital Media focuses on the visualization and dissemination of information for historic preservation. Through a combination of lectures, readings and the use of software, the course will explore integrative and engaging methods of generating and communicating data specifically developed by and for historic preservation. Mapping, graphics, video, apps and web-based platforms will be addressed in this course. Students will be expected to bring topics, ideas and discussion, and through a set of projects asked to find new and innovative ways to visualize and share the information using the communication tools of the modern age.
Contemporary Design in Historic Settings
Contemporary design can add value and meaning to historic settings of any age or scale. Rigorous dialogue with history and context enriches contemporary design. This seminar immerses designers, planners and preservationists in the challenging yet rewarding realm of design with landmarks as well as existing structures and sites. Readings of source materials, lectures and discussions explore how design and preservation theory, physical and intangible conditions, and time have shaped design response, and how political, cultural and aesthetic environments have influenced regulation and design with heritage. Through sketch problems set in Philadelphia and analysis of outstanding case studies from around the world, students will learn to communicate their understanding of historic places and critique a range of responses to historic contexts. No prerequisites.
Theories of Historic Preservation
Theories of historic preservation serve as models for practice, integrating the humanistic, artistic, design, scientific and political understandings of the field. This course examines the historical evolution of historic preservation, reviews theoretical frameworks and issues, and explores current modes of practice. Emphasis is placed on literacy in the standard preservation works and critical assessment of common preservation concepts. In addition to readings and lectures, case studies from contemporary practice will form the basis for short assignments. Professional ethics are reviewed and debated. The instructor’s permission is required for any student not registered in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation. Note that the course is organized in two parts; the first half, on the basics of preservation theory, is taught in the fall semester (HSPV660) while the second half (HSPV661) takes place in the spring semester and engages advanced topics. Note: This course continues in the second half of the spring semester for another 0.5 CU.
Historic Preservation Studio
The studio is a practical course in planning architectural, urban and regional conservation interventions, working in a real community context. The course brings to bear the wide range of skills and ideas at play in the field of historic preservation. The main focus of the studio is understanding the cultural significance of the built environment and its communities; the relation of this significance to other economic, social, political and aesthetic values; and the possibilities for material, programmatic, policy and other interventions. Through the documentation and analysis of a selected study area, studio teams undertake planning exercises for buildings and landscapes, consult with communities and other stakeholders, carry out documentation and historical research, and propose policies and projects. The studio seeks to demonstrate how, through careful evaluation of problems and potentials, preservation planning can respond to common conflicts between the conservation of cultural and architectural values and the pressure of social forces, economic interest, and politics. The studio focuses on a specific site in need of comprehensive preservation effort, often in Philadelphia proper. Students work in teams as well as on individual projects. Consultation with local preservation and planning groups, community representatives, and faculty advisors informs research and analyze the study area, helping to define major preservation planning problems and opportunities, formulate policies, and propose preservation plans and actions.
Conservation Seminar: Masonry
Pre-requisite: HSPV 555 Conservation Science and permission needed from department. This seminar will offer an in-depth study of the conservation of masonry buildings and monuments with a particular focus on American building stone. Technical and aesthetic issues will be discussed as they pertain to the understanding required for conservation practice. Part 1 will address a broad range of building stone, masonry construction technologies, and deterioration phenomenon; Part 2 will concentrate on conservation methodology as well as past and current approaches for the treatment of stone masonry structures. The subject will be examined through published literature and case studies. Students will gain practical experience through lab and field exercises and demonstrations. The subject matter is relevant to interested students of conservation and preservation, architecture, landscape architecture, architectural history, and archaeology.