The Preservation Design concentration prepares students with undergraduate training in design, engineering, and planning to apply preservation principles and methods to design practices. Unlike typical graduate-level design programs, Weitzman Design’s concentration applies these tools to the existing built environment, in a manner informed by current historic preservation theory and practice. In the last decade, the preservation and design fields have evolved much more complex and intense points of engagement – reflected in the ascendance of the creative reuse of historic structures and places as design problems, greater focus on technical understanding and modelling of the performance of existing buildings, and, at the scale of community, landscape and urbanism, much greater attention to conservation as a tool to achieve resilience.
This concentration prepares students for careers in architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, engineering and planning, as well as project review at the local, state or national level or with non-profits such as the Main Street Program.
Core objectives of Preservation Design are to supplement the student’s graduate training with the philosophical, technical, planning, and design considerations that come into play when faced with existing or heritage buildings or sites at a variety of scales and levels of significance. Students in the concentration may have varied prior studies or have varied professional goals. Thus, the concentration will be tailored to specific interests and prior experience through consultation with Faculty Advisors. Students with a professional design degree and at least three years work experience are recommended to the Master of Science in Design with a concentration in Historic Preservation (MSD-HP). MSHP Students who complete the Preservation Design concentration will be able to:
- Understand the role of values—historic, aesthetic, social, political, scientific and economic, among others--in shaping thoughtful strategies for intervention as well as community/stakeholder response to it.
- Apply current methodologies to assess the multiple tangible and intangible values associated with historic sites at varying scales and significance and identify the most effective interventions for their conservation and/or adaptive reuse.
- Understand, prioritize and resolve the technical issues that arise when adapting or preserving historic buildings, including changing use, legal requirements, building systems and materials failures.
- Observe, analyze and communicate the key characteristics of significant settings as a framework for new design or evaluation of design responses in historic contexts.
- Develop the capacity to propose (at the concept stage) and respond successfully to regulations such as design guidelines for the conservation of structures, landscapes and urban heritage sites.