Spring 2015 Courses

Spring 2015

American Vernacular Architecture
HSPV 528-401, St. George, January 14, 2015 — May 12, 2015

This course explores the form and development of America’s built landscape – its houses, farm buildings, churches, factories, and fields – as a source of information on folk history, vernacular culture, and architectural practice.

American Domestic Interiors
HSPV 531-001, Keim, January 14, 2015 — May 12, 2015

This course will examine the American domestic interior from the seventeenth century through the twentieth century with emphasis on the cultural, economic, and technological forces that determined the decoration and furnishing of the American home. Topics to be covered include the decorative arts; floor, wall and window treatments; and developments in lighting, heating, plumbing, food preparation and service, and communication technologies. In addition to the identification of period forms and materials, the course will give special emphasis to historical finishes. The final project will involve re-creation of an historic interior based on in-depth household inventory analysis and study. Several class periods will be devoted to off-site field trips.

Cultural Landscapes & Landscape Preservation
HSPV 538-001, Mason, January 14, 2015 — May 12, 2015

The course introduces the history and understanding of common American landscapes and surveys the field of cultural landscape studies. The cultural-landscape perspective is a unique lens for understanding the evolution of the built environment, the experience of landscapes, and the abstract 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 landscape will be surveyed. Class discussions, readings, and projects will draw on several disciplines--cultural geography, vernacular architecture, environmental history, historic preservation, ecology, art, and more.

Building Pathology
HSPV 551-001, Henry, January 14, 2015 — May 12, 2015

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.

Conservation Science
HSPV 555-001/101, Matero, January 14, 2015 — May 12, 2015

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.

Research, Recording, Interpretation II
HSPV 601-001/101, Wunsch / Hinchman / Elliott, January 14, 2015 — May 12, 2015

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.

Historic Site Management
HSPV 606-001, Young, January 14, 2015 — May 12, 2015

The 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.

Preservation Economics
HSPV 625-001, Rypkema, January 14, 2015 — May 12, 2015

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.

Topics in Historic Preservation: Photography and the City
HSPV 638-301, Ammon, January 14, 2015 — May 12, 2015

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 documenting change in American cities and suburbs. We might characterize the medium's evolution as moving through four major phases: 1) celebration of the great structures of the industrial city; 2) documentation and attempted reform of the social life of Progressive and New Deal era cities; 3) critique of expanding postwar suburbs and sprawl; and 4) reflection on change in the post-industrial city. Each week, we will compare two image collections as the basis for our discussion. While authorship by individual photographers provides the entry point to many of these conversations, our primary focus will be the images' portrayal of urban and suburban people, structures, and space. Through our investigations, we will explore how photography's dual documentary and aesthetic properties have helped to reflect and transform the city, both physically and culturally.

Memorials & Memorialization
HSPV 703-302, Mason / Lum, January 14, 2015 — May 12, 2015

The functions, meanings, images, designs and politics of memorials are an urgent issue in contemporary society. Memorials and memorialization processes occupy a central place in culture and public space, and concentrate some of the most interesting and fraught design, artistic and interpretive questions facing designers, artists and scholars today. This seminar, limited to 12 students from a variety of departments, will explore discourse and practices of memorialization. The focus of our critical inquiry will be the powerful connections between art, design, memory and culture as embodied and represented in memorials and memorialization processes. Particular topics will include controversies regarding tragedy memorials, changing discourses around public art, and the status of ephemeral/popular memorials. The course will be led by Randy Mason in collaboration with Ken Lum, Professor of Fine Arts. Together, they and the class will explore the literature from both heritage/social-science/history perspectives and art/design perspectives. Class sessions may include field trips, exercises, projects and guest lectures.

Germantown Futures
HSPV 703-301, Wunsch / Keim, January 14, 2015 — May 12, 2015

This seminar/studio hybrid explores urgent preservation and planning issues facing Philadelphia's Germantown neighborhood. Germantown has the largest concentration of historic buildings and landscapes outside of the city's core. But the word "concentration" is itself misleading: beyond the densely built-up spine of Germantown Avenue, the area is defined by large lots and old trees -- the very qualities that lured villa-builders there 200 years ago and suburban developers ever since. Contemporary development pressures are increasing dramatically; dealing with them robustly will require clear analyses of historic-resource patterns, zoning and planning structures, and community capacities. This course lays the groundwork for that effort, merging advocacy with analysis, resulting in recommendations for planning and preservation measures to improve the quality of life in Germantown without sacrificing its historic values and character. Students from varied PennDesign departments are welcome. Faculty for this course will include Aaron Wunsch, Laura Keim, and several preservation and planning professionals with significant experience in Germantown.

Conservation Seminar: Materials B Metals/Finishes
HSPV 740-301, Meighan / Myers , January 14, 2015 — May 12, 2015

Module 1: Metals - Melissa Meighan In architectural context we think of metal as a modern material, however, copper alloys appear in the Middle East in connection with buildings in the third millennium BC, and by the first millennium BC, both iron and copper alloys are used in the Middle East and the Mediterranean for structural joining, as sheathing, as materials handling tools, and as monumental sculpture. In ancient Rome wrought iron beams were used and lead was the material of urban water piping and roofing. Prior to the Western Renaissance, wrought iron was also used in India; the Chinese cast massive iron sculpture and constructed a full scale cast iron pagoda; and the Japanese cast a bronze Buddha over 50' high. It is in 18th century England that metal, cast iron, came to be used as the fundamental structure of buildings and bridges, leading to 19th century engineering masterpieces. The metal bones and skin structural approach to building construction allowed for the development of the curtain wall, a common modern day phenomenon. Various metals in a wide range of forms, finishes and colors have been used extensively for architectural decorative embellishment, as well as lighting, clocks, fencing et cetera, both interior and exterior, and for monumental sculpture. The course will continue the introduction to the material science and characterization of the metals commonly used in buildings and monuments - copper, iron, aluminum, lead, zinc, tin, nickel, titanium. It will briefly survey traditional technologies used for extraction, processing, forming, joining and finishing with an overview of historical use. A review of basic metallurgy, the mechanisms of corrosion and other aspects of deterioration, will be followed by training in condition assessment, a survey of preventative strategies and the range of conservation treatment methods. The course will meet at the University of Pennsylvania and at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and includes a tour of outdoor sites. There will be the opportunity for a hands on metal forging workshop or a visit to a metal casting foundry. Module 2: Finishes - Cassie Myers Architectural surface finishes are among the most transformative and ephemeral of all materials in the built environment. Enduring harsh conditions and subject to frequent change, they are intrinsically vulnerable and as a result, are often replaced or disappear entirely. They offer insight into architectural alterations and conditions, imbue buildings with meaning, influence the perception and expression of design, and the effect of color and light. They ornament, imitate and fool the eye, and function as disinfectants, insecticides and waterproofing. Because architectural surface finishes encompass a wide range of material types and possibilities for conservation intervention, approaches to their treatment vary widely, from protecting and presenting original material to replicating them with new paint. The course will address the technology, analysis, deterioration, and treatment of historic finishes. Students will gain an overview of the materials and technology of which architectural finishes have been most commonly made, the types and causes of deterioration and diagnostic approaches, and treatment. Two categories of treatment will be considered, the replication of paints based on sample analysis and in situ excavation, and second the treatment of deteriorated or buried paint intended to be represented as part of the architecture or site. Guest lecturers will elaborate on finishes analysis. Analysis of historic finishes at the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion in Germantown will provide a case study for developing skills. 

Special Topics in Historic Preservation: Feats of Clay - Brick & Terra Cotta
HSPV 741-301, Matero, January 14, 2015 — May 12, 2015

Of the major construction materials and systems employed since the earliest architectural building, few display the geographical and temporal spread or extreme material transformation as architectural ceramics. Born of clay, water, and fire, brick and its kin—terra cotta and structural, roof, and ornamental tile—have been employed to construct, protect, and ornament buildings in an unbroken tradition stretching from the towers of the Old Testament to the contemporary rain screens of today’s high-rise buildings. Dating to the mid-15th century, the word can be traced to the Old French brique, meaning “a form of loaf” or “broken piece, fragment or bit,” as in to break bread, thus reminding us of the ancient relationship between building in brick and the civilizing hallmarks of agriculture and urbanization. Archaeological excavation reveals an ancient and continuous global narrative of invention and re-invention. In each case, the remarkable adaptability of this modest material, hand-shaped, molded, pressed, poured, or extruded in a myriad of sizes, shapes, colors, and textures has produced structural designs of complex form and pattern, as well as incredible durability. Despite its repetitive production, brick can be deceptively variable, allowing functional and aesthetic vitality even in its most common usage. Regular by definition, brick finds its voice in legion, the result being a wall, arch or vault of any dimension or shape. Its close relative, terra cotta, possesses all the benefits of durability and reproducibility as brick but with the enviable advantages of the artist’s hand and even greater versatility in color and shape. Despite modernism’s embrace of brick’s no-nonsense functionality and its long history as a fireproof material, brick has long been viewed as a second class material reserved for utilitarian structures or concealed with more luxurious stone or stucco veneers or even paint. From its earliest origins, Philadelphia has been a city of brick. Swedish, then English masonry traditions shaped the young metropolis. Philadelphia’s brick masons passed some of the first brick laws in the colonies and were among the first to organize as a trade union. By 1880 brick was the dominant building material in urban America and compared to Boston and New York, Philadelphia possessed the highest concentration of brick buildings in the country. The region boasted in possessing the best clay deposits in the United States and its brick and terra cotta manufactories were world famous in their technological advances and quality of product, supplying architects and builders with a large variety of stock and custom designs. Given this unique context, our focus will be a cross-disciplinary study of structural clay products - namely brick and terra cotta. We will consider these materials in terms of material process, product, and structural assemblage and these considerations will allow an exploration of (1)historical and traditional technology and design, (2)material characterization and analysis, (3)performance and (4)conservation. These areas of consideration will set the structure of the course which will be conducted as a seminar where students will have the opportunity to conduct original research and to contribute to the Exhibit: Feats of Clay to open in the Kroiz Gallery/Architectural Archives in May 2015. Guest lectures and visits to sites in New York City and Boston Valley Terra Cotta Co. in Buffalo are planned. Open to all students in historic preservation, architecture, fine arts, archaeology and art history.