Modern Matters: Conserving the Recent Past
In the Spring 2022 Semester, 14 graduate students in historic preservation and architecture at the Weitzman School of Design addressed the thorny issues surrounding the conservation of modern built heritage.
The seminar, organized by faculty members Frank Matero, professor architecture and chair of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, and Irene Matteini, lecturer, began with a discussion about the definitions and challenges of the ‘recent past’ within the framework of contemporary conservation philosophy and practice and then moved into issues related specifically to the technology, performance, deterioration, and intervention of modern heritage as understood through historical and scientific inquiry. Lectures focused on a select number of common materials, systems, and practices that defined the latter 20th century: concrete, the curtain wall, and prefabrication.
Each student was required to identify a topic of interest related to the course focus for further research. Issues of modern architecture’s particularisms, reception, and sustainability were especially considered. You can browse each student's final paper topic below, as featured in an exhibition at the 2022 Docomomo US National Symposium.