Historic Preservation

  • Drew McMillian researched the energy efficiency of the curtain wall.

    Libraltar Savings and Loan Building, Nighttime Elevation View ca. 1959. (Source: Arts & Architecture. “Financial Institution by Greacen and Brogniez, Architects,” August 1960).

  • Maxwell Lent looked into the current status of AIA award winning buildings, including Penn's Moore School building.

    Pender Labs, Moore School of Engineering, University of Pennsylvania. (Source: Photo Credit: Athenaeum of Philadelphia, Lawrence Williams Inc. Collection, Local ID#:77133-A). Demolished.

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.

Annie Greening | The Kind of History That's Hard to Ignore: The National Homes Corporation, 1940-1986

José Hernández | Guastavino Turns Modern

Natalie Perri | Being Concrete About Concrete: Examining the Architect's Not-So-Virtuous Material

Drew McMillian | Curtain Wall Interventions for Energy Efficiency: A Carbon Life Cycle Assessment

Maxwell Lent | Where Are They Now? An In-Depth Look at the Philadelphia AIA Gold Medal Winners Since 1947

Yi-Ju Chen | Preserving Japanese Modernism

Priyanka Gorasia | Proposal for the Repair and Restoration of the Robinson Store Mosaic-Clad Concrete Facade

Jane Nasta | Painted Desert Community Complex: A Case Study of Mission-66 Preservation

Qianhui Ni | Post-Tensioning Retrofit of Fallingwater

Cyrus Yerxa | Uses of Cinder Concrete in Floor Construction 1880-1950

Anyuan Ji | Thin Stone Veneer Case Study: Amoco Building and Finlandia Hall

Yixiao Hu | Yesterday's Tomorrow: History and Conservation of the 20th Century Plastic House

Namrata Dadawala | Surface Treatment Strategies for Exposed Concrete: A Case Study of Secretariat Building, Chandigarh, India

Yuxuan Wu | Migrating Corrosion Inhibitors