Historic Preservation

Black and white picture of an old Theater in Detroit, MI


The Preservation Studio is a practical course making architectural, urban and landscape conservation operations, bringing to bear the wide range of skills and ideas at play in the field of historic preservation. As part of the core MSHP curriculum the Studio experience builds on professional skills learned in the first-year core. The work requires intense collaboration as well as individual projects.

The Preservation Studio centers on common conflicts between historic preservation, social forces, economic interests, and politics. Recognizing that heritage sites are complex entities where communities, cultural and socio-economic realities, land use, building types, and 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.

Studio teams undertake documentation, planning and design exercises for heritage sites and their communities, working variously on research, stakeholder consultation, comparables analysis, writing policies and designing solutions. Students work in teams as well as on individual projects. 

The Graduate Program in Historic Preservation also offers advacned elective studios in the spring, like the required Preservation Studio, the elective topics and sites vary semester to semester. They are listed as course numbers HSPV 705 and HSPV 703. 

Studio Reports

Side by side of the Midway barn when it was built and today

Full report of the 2021 Master of Science in Design with a concentration in Historic Preservation (MSD-HP) three-week...

Aerial view of a city on the waterfront

Full report for the Spring 2020 course, Urban Regeneration in the Americas: The Conservation and Development of Urban...

The Arts Building by George Nakashima

Photo credit, John Hinchman, The Center for Architectural Conservation.

Full report of the 2019 Master of Science in Design with a concentration in Historic Preservation (MSD-HP) three-week...

Black and white photo of a street corner in midcentury Detroit

The Alger Theater. Source: Friends of the Alger Theater

Full report for the Fall 2019 course HSPV 701 Preservation Studio.

Students working on historic preservation project.

Professor Pamela Hawkes and students Caroline Dickensheets and Elizabeth Trumbell examine the framing below the floor in the First Library.

Full report for the summer 2017-2018 praxis course Site Management, Interpretation and Conservation 

West Philadelphia: Using preservation as a partner in neighborhood revitalization

Using preservation as a partner in neighborhood revitalization. The full report can be read here

Select student work from past Historic Preservation studios. Location of the site and the studio teams are indicated...