Historic Preservation

As cities across the U.S. rebound from the population loss and disinvestment of the 20th century, officials, institutions, designers and planners have begun to focus on renewing public assets with civic investments large and small. Under the Kenney administration, Philadelphia has gone all in on this strategy with a plan called Rebuild, meant to invest $500 million in public and foundation money in neighborhood parks, recreation centers and libraries. In March, PennPraxis released a report—funded by the William Penn Foundation, which is also a major investor in the Rebuild initiative—to help provide context for the challenges of the city’s undertaking with research on civic infrastructure and the work of other cities.

Duomo di Pienza and fountain, taken from the Piazza Pio II. Photo: Arielle Harris

Over spring break, second year preservation students in Professor Randall Mason’s Pienza Seminar/Studio traveled to Tuscany, Italy for a week of fieldwork and site visits.

Photo: Architectural Conservation Lab

It’s not uncommon for Penn students to travel south, or west, with the onset of Spring.

Penn Presidential Professor of Law and Education Wendell Pritchett, PennDesign alumna Prema Gupta (MSHP’05), Assistant Professor in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation Aaron Wunsch

On Instagram, there are something like 1,500 photographs tagged with the phrase “This Jawn Matters,” a twist on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s “This Place Matters” campaign, customi

Lisa Servon at a book talk for Unbanking America: How the New Middle Class Survives

On January 30, Assistant Professor of Architecture Daniel Barber is among the panelists talking about “

From a video interview with graduating PennDesign students, 2016

Alumna Charlette Caldwell is a Project Manager at the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia.

Among the most recent additions to the National Register of Historic Places is Mill-Rae, a house designed in 1890 by Philadelphia architect Minerva Parker Nichols.

Historic preservation has existed as an active movement for over a century, and as a professional field for over 50 years. Within that time, concepts of heritage have evolved dramatically, expanding beyond the Neoclassical mansions of the Founding Fathers to include places such as vernacular neighborhoods, landscapes, and sites of memory. Yet, the basic principles of contemporary design in historic settings have not kept pace with the contexts and challenges facing preservationists, designers, regulators, property owners, and the general public. Last month, the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation convened the Design + Heritage Symposium to wrestle with these foundational principles and explore innovative strategies for thoughtful, creative design in historic contexts. The event was organized by Professor of Practice Pamela W. Hawkes and co-presented by the James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation.

Historic Preservation and Anthropology students and faculty. Photo credit: Clark Erickson.

During spring studio travel week, students from the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation and the Department of Anthropology traveled to Fort Union National Monument in Mora County, New Mexico.

Figure 1: Southeast elevation facing the Delaware river from the rail viaduct. (Source: PECO, 1930s)

Richmond Power Generating Station

Historic Preservation Studio
HSPV 701-201

In “Housing Lunatics and Students: Nineteenth-Century Asylums and Dormitories,” Carla Yanni, Professor of Art History, Rutgers University, explores the residential building types that have persisted at American universities for decades.

Clockwise from top left: Aki Sasamoto, A. Eugene Kohn, Dara Friedman, Steward Pickett, Carla Diana, Charles Renfro

Beginning Wednesday, January 18, PennDesign hosts more than 50 leading architects, artists, designers, planners, preservationists, and scholars in public lectures on the built environment and visual culture.