Historic Preservation

Fall Courses 2018

American Architecture

HSPV 521-001


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

HSPV 552-001


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.

Conservation Science

HSPV 555-001


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

HSPV 538-001


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.

Historic Building Technology I: Building Anatomy

HSPV 540-001


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. Historic 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

HSPV 572-001


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

HSPV 600-001


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

HSPV 606-001


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

HSPV 626-001/101


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

HSPV 640-301


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

HSPV 660-301


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

HSPV 701-201


The Preservation Studio is a practical course in planning architectural, urban and regional conservation interventions, bringing to bear the wide range of skills and ideas at play in the field of historic preservation. Studio teams undertake documentation and planning exercises for heritage sites and their communities, through research, consultation with stakeholders, analysis of comparables, and policies/project creation. Study sites are often in Philadelphia proper. Students work in teams as well as on individual projects. The preservation studio seeks to demonstrate preservation planning responses to common conflicts between historic preservation, social forces, economic interests, and politics. Recognizing that historical areas are complex entities where communities, cultural and socio-economic realities, land use, building types, and the legal and institutional settings are all closely interrelated, the main goals of the studio are (1) understanding and communicating the cultural significance of the built environment, (2) analyzing its relation to other economic, social, political and aesthetic values, and (3) exploring the creative possibilities for design, conservation and interpretation prompted by cultural significance.

Conservation Seminar: Masonry

HSPV 739-301


Pre-requisite: HSPV 555 Conservation Science and permission needed from department. This course will focus on understanding in greater detail the conditions associated with masonry deterioration and the current methods of analysis and treatment repair. Particular attention will be paid to a variety of masonry (stone, brick, terra cotta, and concrete) and its use as a material (architectural and sculptural) and building envelope wall systems (structural/performance). Specific types of instrumental/field analysis and intervention methods/materials will be discussed within the context of conservation problem solving. There are several factors that have aided in the large quantity of masonry used in building construction, particularly within the latter half of the 19th century and early 20th Century. The abundant variety of masonry materials, the ability to manufacture and transport that material efficiently, coupled with a skilled labor force, allowed masonry to be an economical and aesthetic choice for architects and builders. The historic context in which masonry has been used is relevant to the behavior of individual materials and the manifestation of conditions over time. Much of what is considered visible deterioration can be attributed to any number of intrinsic and extrinsic factors including the ways in which the masonry was formed/manufactured, method/placement during installation, associated building materials/features, and interaction with the environment. All of these factors must be taken into account when understanding behavior of masonry and developing a strategy for conservation. Aside from understanding the properties of masonry, basic principles of deterioration, and the methodology behind developing a treatment program, it is essential to recognize that each conservation project comes with a set of parameters. These parameters may come in the form of physical restrictions or limited project resources, however, in many cases what appear to be constraints can aid in guiding the project approach. At the end of the course, students should have a grasp on how to identify, analyze, and record masonry conditions, select methods to evaluate level of deterioration, develop strategies for repair and recognize potential project parameters. The first half of the course will offer a more in-depth introduction to masonry materials, quarrying/manufacturing, construction technologies, deterioration, and methods of instrumental analysis. The second half of the course will focus on treatment and repair of masonry buildings and monuments as well as post-treatment analysis. Lab and field exercises will be offered to supplement the lectures and to provide more practical experience for the students.

Courses from Previous Semesters