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

Spring 2019

Public History: Theory and Practice

HSPV 534-001, Thursday, 1:30 PM-4:30 PM


This seminar is required for students wishing to concentrate on the Public History of the Built Environment while pursuing an MS in Historic Preservation. It builds on skills developed in HSPV 521 (American Architecture), HSPV 600 (Documentation), and HSPV 606 (Site Management); only HSPV 600 is a prerequisite. Unlike many public history courses, this one focuses on interpretation of the built environment. While proficiency in archival research is required, an understanding of form and chronology in American architecture is helpful. Fundamentally, this course is about community, memory, and their relationship to built form. As such, it examines oral history methodology and includes readings in sociology and ethnography. It acknowledges that while buildings and landscapes are in one sense simply larger forms of material culture than furniture or other movable objects, they also “work” differently by dint of being inhabited, occupied, and publicly encountered, forming de facto frameworks for private and public life. More than other courses, this one grapples with interpretation and dissemination– everything from signage and monuments to websites and exhibits. It is not, however, a tutorial in the use of those media so much as a chance to reflect critically on their strengths and weaknesses in different contexts.

Historic Building Technology II: Building Archaeology

HSPV 541-001, Monday, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM


Built works— be they barns or bridges, gardens or corn fields, palaces or pit houses – all embody something of their makers and users, and the prevailing social and cultural norms of the day. As a form of material culture, things-buildings and landscapes- are made and modified consciously and unconsciously, reflecting individual and societal forces at play. Since the physical fabric and its alteration present one primary mode of evidence, their investigation provides a critical form of research, especially in association (and often in contest) with archival documentary sources and oral histories. This course will examine the theories and techniques used to investigate the morphological evolution of built works, sometimes known as “above ground archaeology”. Students will learn and apply methods relevant to the reading of architectural fabric. Methods of investigation will include absolute and relative dating techniques such as dendrochronology, finishes stratigraphy, mortar analysis, and various typological - seriation studies including framing, molding, fastener (nails and screws), and hardware analyses. Students are expected to use this knowledge in combination with the recording skills of HSPV 601 to record their assigned sites. Taught in the first half of the semester: 1/16/2019-3/4/2019.

Building Pathology

HSPV 551-001, Friday, 2:00 PM-5:00 PM


This course addresses the subject of deterioration of buildings, their materials, assemblies and systems, with the emphasis on the technical aspects of the mechanisms of deterioration and their enabling factors, material durability and longevity of assemblies. Details of construction and assemblies are analyzed relative to functional and performance characteristics. Lectures cover: concepts in durability; climate, psychrometric, soils & hydrologic conditions; physics of moisture in buildings; enclosure, wall and roof systems; structural systems; and building services systems with attention to performance, deterioration, and approaches to evaluation of remedial interventions. Prerequisite(s): HSPV 555 or one technical course in architecture.

Documentation, Research, Recording II

HSPV 601-001, Monday, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM


This course provides an introduction to the survey and recording of historic buildings and their sites. Techniques of recording include photography and traditional as well as digitally-based quantitative methods including measured drawings and rectified photography. Emphasis is on the use of appropriate recording tools in the context of a thorough understanding of the historical significance and function of the site.

Preservation Economics

HSPV 625-001, Tuesday, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM


The primary objective is to prepare the student, as a practicing preservationist, to understand the language of the development community, to make the case through feasibility analysis why a preservation project should be undertaken, and to be able to quantify the need for public/non-profit intervention in the development process. A second objective is to acquaint the student with measurements of the economic impact of historic preservation and to critically evaluate "economic hardship" claims made to regulatory bodies by private owners.

Photography and the City: The Visual Construction of Urban and Suburban America

HSPV 638-401, Wednesday, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM


This seminar explores the intersecting social and cultural histories of photography and the urban and suburban built environment. No prior background in photography is necessary. Since its inception in 1839, photography has provided a critical means for representing urban space. The medium has helped to celebrate the great structures of the industrial city, reform cities from the Progressive Era through urban renewal, critique expanding postwar suburbs, and document change in the post-industrial and post-disaster city. In all of these ways, the photograph has been both a reflection of the city and an agent of its transformation. Our subjects each week will include individual images and larger photographic archives. We will discuss not only the creation of these images, but also their application in design and planning discourse. Although technical training in photography is not expected, students will have a chance to construct a photo-essay of their own. Through our investigations, we will collectively explore how photography's dual documentary and aesthetic properties have shaped the city—physically, socially, and culturally.

Theories of Historic Preservation II

HSPV 661-301, Monday, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM


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 while the second half takes place in the spring semester and engages advanced topics. Taught in the second half of the semester: 3/11/2019-4/29/2019.

Advanced Studio: Conservation and Development of Urban Heritage Sites

HSPV 703-301, Wednesday, 2:00 PM-5:00 PM


This studio-based course will focus on the challenges confronted by the conservation profession in turning the urban heritage into a development tool for cities in developing countries. The preservation of the urban heritage is moving to a new paradigm of intervention responding to: an growing interest in communities for preserving their intangible and tangible urban heritage; rising development pressures on historic neighborhoods; the generalization of adaptive rehabilitation as a conservation strategy; and recent international agreements calling for expanding the role of the urban heritage in the social and economic development of the communities. This is a problem that is in the cutting edge of the research and practice of urban heritage conservation and has planning and design implications making it ideally suited to a multi-discipline studio approach. The course is modeled on successful 1-CU spring studios conducted in recent years—the Gordion Site Planning Studio (2011), Parks for the People (2012), and the Regeneration of Historic Areas in the Americas (2012, 2014, 2016, 2018)—that attracted students from across the School and fit easily with core studios and thesis projects. Students from multiple departments are encouraged to participate in the course; enrollment will be kept to about 12. The course will combine seminar and studio methodologies in ways that they support each other. The knowledge acquired through the seminar work will be put to use in a studio exercise whose objective is to recommend urban heritage conservation interventions for expanding the contribution of the historic center of Cartagena in Colombia to the social and economic development of the city. The course is open to 2nd year MSHP and MSD-HP students. All others need instructor approval to enroll. Please email Eduardo Rojas at eduardorojasarq@gmail.com

Professional Practice for Historic Preservation

HSPV 713-301, Thursday, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM


This course is intended to introduce students to the professional practice of historic preservation and, more specifically, how preservation professionals fit into the larger fields of design and construction. It will expose students to the types of roles they may play once they enter the professional world, as well as the skills and knowledge they will be expected to have. Through a series of lectures, in-class exercises, and case studies of current or recently completed preservation projects, students will learn how projects are developed from inception through design and construction. There will be discussion of some of the inherent challenges in designing projects that involve existing historic buildings, as well as how architectural conservation is incorporated into such projects. It will also discuss the phasing of and "players" involved with typical preservation projects. A significant portion of the course will be dedicated to preservation project management from the perspectives of the architectural conservator, the architect and the contractor--from writing a proposal to managing a complex project to project delivery methods. The course should be of particular interest to architects who anticipate being involved with historic buildings, architectural conservators, as well as planners and individuals interested in managing historic sites that might undergo preservation projects.

Conservation Seminar: Wood

HSPV 738-301, Tuesday, 6:00 PM-9:00 PM


Prior to the twentieth century, most structures found in the built environment relied upon wood as a primary material for both structural members and decorative features. An understanding of the physical properties as well as the historic application of this organic material provides the basis for formulating solutions for a wide spectrum of conservation issues. As the scope of preserving wooden structures and wooden architectural elements is continually broadened, new methods and technology available to the conservator together allow for an evolving program - one that is dependent upon both consistent review of treatments and more in depth study of craft traditions. This course seeks to illustrate and address material problems typically encountered by stewards of wooden cultural heritage - among them structural assessment, bio-deterioration, stabilization and replication techniques. Through a series of lectures and hands-on workshops given by representative professionals from the fields of wood science, conservation, entomology, engineering, and archaeology, theoretical and practical approaches to retaining wooden materials will be examined with the goal to inform the decision making process of future practicing professionals. Pre-requisite: HSPV 555 Conservation Science.

Conservation Seminar: Finishes

HSPV 740-301, Tuesday, 1:30 PM-4:30 PM


The seminar will advance students’ knowledge of and skills at researching, analyzing and interpreting historic architectural finishes. Lectures, demonstrations, hands-on exercises, case studies, and site visits will consider the history, technology, analysis, deterioration, and treatment of historic finishes. Guest lecturers will enlarge the subject with discussion and demonstrations of archival research of finishes, advanced methods of scientific analysis and presentation of a long-term project to analyze and conserve historic finishes at the US Treasury Building (Robert Mills). The course will also address historic plaster with a guest lecture and demonstration of plaster materials, application, and casting for ornamental plaster. We will make and apply paints and other finishes in class. A visit to the decorative arts studio and Philadelphia sites displaying decorative painting will complement lectures and assignments. Bartram’s Garden, the eighteenth-century home of botanist John Bartram in West Philadelphia, will serve as a case study and subject for the final assignment. Pre-requisite: HSPV 555 Conservation Science.

Preservation Case Studies

HSPV 748-001, Tuesday, 2:00 PM-5:00 PM


Preservation Case Studies will build upon the philosophical underpinnings of the core theory courses and will bring cutting-edge theoretical debates, current issues and the latest work of faculty and guests into the HSPV curriculum. Lectures will be anchored by a series of Case Studies on a variety of traditional and modern resources given by David Fixler, and will feature an international roster of other faculty, practitioners and guest scholars, who, through their project examples, will sample and explore current theoretical, conceptual, political and practical issues facing the historic preservation field.

Topics in Preservation Technology: Litho-Mania

HSPV 741-301, Tuesday, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM


Nearly every culture in the Old and New World has made use of natural stone for its buildings and monuments, whether as found rubble or ledge rock, cut and dressed load-bearing dimensional stone, or thin veneer cladding on a brick, steel or concrete frame. There is an abundant variety of stone in the United States and virtually every type of fissile rock has been put to use for buildings and monuments. The use of native and imported stone as the material of choice reached its zenith at the end of the nineteenth century. Through the creative talents of American architects, engineers, and artists who took advantage of and promoted the extensive variety, availability and relatively low cost of domestic and imported stone, masonry buildings and monuments proliferated giving rise to what critics termed a national ‘lithomania’. This seminar will offer an in depth study of the stone employed for building and sculpture in the United States. Utilizing Penn’s newly acquired Vermont Marble Company (VMC) archives and vast stone collection, the class will consider the ‘culture of stone’ through a cross-disciplinary study of its historical, aesthetic, and technical aspects as they pertain to design and conservation practice including extraction, finishing, and installation for masonry building and monument design and construction. The course will also utilize a digital humanities approach by including instruction in the methods, formats, and platforms applicable for web-based dissemination of the research produced. HSPV 741 is open to ALL interested students in preservation, landscape architecture, architecture, architectural history, fine arts, and archaeology.