Historic Preservation

  • screenshots of InDesign workspace to show the size of the plan

  • screenshots of InDesign workspace to show the size of the plan

Sophie Zionts | PennPraxis

This summer, I was a design intern for the PennPraxis project of producing a conservation management plan for the Miller House and Garden in Columbus, Indiana. When I joined the project, much of the writing and photography had already been completed, and I was brought on to format and design the entire 350+ page plan. My primary job was designing and doing layout for the plan on Adobe InDesign, combining my knowledge on many different software including Adobe Illustrator, autoCAD, Adobe Bridge, and the Microsoft suite. This project was a collaboration between many professionals and academics, and was partially funded by the Getty Foundation, through it’s ‘Keeping it Modern’ initiative.

Under the guidance of PennPraxis/Professor Mason and in collaboration with Newfields (the Indianapolis Museum of Art) I conceived and created the conservation management plan for this modernist icon. Working with the Newfields archive, the Library of Congress archives, and the plethora of photography and research the team had completed prior, I combined these archival skills with my architectural design and layout skills to create the plan. It was incredible working on documenting and organizing methods of conservation for this modernist icon that was the brainchild of Americas prolific architects, landscape architects, and interior designers. I drew on many research techniques, combining skills I learned in my first year with HSPV but also drawing on my knowledge of architecture and layout software from my undergraduate education. During this summer, I became intimately aware of the intricacies of working in a layout software such as InDesign, and built on the software knowledge gained in Professor Hinchman’s class. In addition, I used the archival research and photography skills from both documentation courses to help me compile the plan.

Working on this project to completion helped me understand the amount of work, time, resources, and research that goes into a holistic conservation management plan. This internship also elucidated on the amount and level of collaboration between professionals, academics, and external people to create large plan such as this. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of historic preservation and conservation, it was extraordinarily interesting to see and participate in the volume and scale of collaboration required for a plan of this size. Although I wasn’t responsible for the research of this plan, learning about the Miller House and Garden and Columbus, IN was one of my favorite parts of this project. The depth to which the house and garden is ingrained into the local society is wonderful, and this CMP will allow it to remain a cultural stronghold within the city of Columbus for many years to come.