Historic Preservation

Aaron Wunsch

Associate Professor


Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
M.Arch.Hist., University of Virginia
B.A., Haverford College

Aaron Wunsch currently teaches three core courses in Penn's Preservation Program: Documentation (HSPV 600), Site Analysis (HSPV 601), and American Architecture (HSPV 521). His seminars, generally taught in the spring, have focused on broad aspects of the American cultural landscape, from commercial architecture, to cemeteries and suburbs, to cartography and the idea of landscape itself. His publications and papers have addressed such diverse topics as the 'rural' cemetery movement in Philadelphia, the formation of Charlottesville, Virginia's, park system, and the architecture of early electric utilities. He has taught at the University of Virginia's School of Architecture and received long-term fellowships from the McNeil Center for Early American Studies and Winterthur Museum. Wunsch is also an active preservationist. He has served as vice president of Virginia's Preservation Piedmont, written numerous reports for the Historic American Buildings Survey, and been employed by that agency, the Cambridge [Mass.] Historical Commission, and the Massachusetts Historical Commission. His efforts on behalf of Charlottesville's James D. Nimmo House were recognized in Preservation Virginia's Outstanding Domestic Project Award for 2008.


5/6/2019 Schuylkill Yards development may rest on the Quaker dead, The Inquirer 
3/28/2019 Abandoned Power Plants, Hank's Take
2/27/2017 Cathedrals of Power: Philadelphia's Abandoned Turbine Halls- in Pictures, The Guardian
12/6/2016 Re-Capturing the Glory of Philadelphia Electric's Central Stations, Hidden City Philadelphia
10/24/2016 The Spectacular Architecture of Early Power Plants, Diana Budd, FastCo Design
10/18/2016 Philadelphia's Abandoned Power Plants Look Like Steampunk Temples, Patrick Sisson, Curbed
10/10/2016 The Layered History of a Queen Village Site Newly Listed on the Register of Historic Places
9/27/2016 The Crisis on Jewelers Row: Mayor Kenney We Need You, Hidden City Philadelphia
12/17/2015 More Losses on the Preservation Front & One Thing That Really Must be Saved, Hidden City Philadelphia 
9/11/2015 Distorted Perceptions Demolished the Levy-Leas Mansion, Hidden City Philadelphia
5/14/2015 At The Eleventh Hour, Seeking a New Accord at 40th & Pine, Hidden City Philadelphia
3/9/2015 - Historic South Philly church finds salvation in group effort - Newsworks
2/12/2015 - PennDesign prof helps save West Philly church from demolition - Penn Current
11/21/2014 - Penn Senior, a Future Doctor, Looks to Medicine’s Past for Insights - Penn News
12/26/2012 - "A Culture of Despair" When It Comes to Preservation In Philadelphia - Plan Philly
11/25/2012 - Landmark Furness Church on the Road to Salvation - Plan Philly
11/6/2012 - 19th Street Baptist & The Challenges That Lie Ahead - Hidden City
12/31/2010 - Building a City of the Dead - Plan Philly
11/15/2010 - 4/29/2011 - Building a City of the Dead: The Creation and Expansion of Philadelphia's Laurel Hill Cemetery. An exhibition presented by The Library Company of Philadelphia & The Friends of Laurel Hill Cemetery, guest curated by Aaron Wunsch.

Work and Research