Making Sense

City hall covered in graffiti

Photo by Bradley Maule for PlanPhilly

An essay by Starr Herr-Cardillo (MSHP '17) and Research Associate for the Weitzman School of Design department of Historic Preservation: "As someone working in the field of historic preservation, I’m used to seeing—and am occasionally criticized for—posts that overemphasize buildings, affirming their importance, mourning their ongoing or imminent destruction. Windows were smashed, walls were tagged, and structures were burned this weekend, but this moment is not about buildings. Damage to buildings is repairable, the murder and psychological torment inflicted by police brutality is not."   
Aerial view of Eastern State Penitentiary

Photo Darryl Moran courtesy Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site

In an essay for Values in Heritage Management: Emerging Approaches and Research Directions, Randall Mason, an associate professor in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, explains how Philadelphia’s iconic Eastern State Penitentiary is both an archive of past events and agent of contemporary social change.
Fort Union National Monument, New Mexico

Long rectangular voids in the adobe walls once served as doors and windows. Now there are no roofs, there is no shelter, these ruins are exposed to the elements all around them. Photo Courtesy of Evan Oskierko-Jeznacki. 

By using RFID moisture sensors readable with commercially available RFID equipment —the same technology used in everyday store antitheft systems—Oskierko-Jeznacki is able to monitor shelter coat leaks and moisture intrusion in the largest 19th century earthen ruin in North America. 
Miller House and Garden, Columbus, Indiana.

Photo courtesy of Newfields.

The Miller House and Garden is considered one of the finest examples of Modernist domestic design—a midcentury masterpiece in Columbus, Indiana, brought to life by a trio of renowned designers at the top of their fields. A PennPraxis team will help to chart the future course of that work.
In this church in Nyamata, in Rwanda, bullet holes cover the ceiling and soiled clothing cover the pews and the floor, all reminders of the genocide that took place in the country 25 years ago.

Randall Mason of the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design has been working in that country for the past three years to conserve memorials dedicated to remembering the 800,000 people who died and to support Rwandans in their quest to do the same. (Photo: Randall Mason)

Less than 25 miles south of the Rwandan capital of Kigali sits a red brick Catholic church. From afar it looks peaceful, much like other churches, but, up close, bullet holes and shrapnel marks become visible. Inside, wooden pews hold small mountains of soiled clothing.
Using a syringe filled with a breathable, lime-based injection grout, Federico and his team filled the voids of Franklin’s marble grave marker.

Using a syringe filled with a breathable, lime-based injection grout, Federico and his team filled the voids of Franklin’s marble grave marker. Photo by Rebecca Elias Abboud & Denise Henhoeffer.

Recently, two alumni of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at PennDesign led the restoration of Benjamin Franklin's grave marker at Christ Church Burial Ground.
Rendering of covid cells
Sarah Lerner (MSHP '20) cannot help but compare their current research on Progressive Era Bath Houses to her lived experience in the world of Covid-19.  
Multicolor mural depicting a smiling woman holding animated figures

Photo Carol M. Highsmith, Library of Congress, LC-DIGhighsm-21891,

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots that helped jumpstart the gay-rights movement in the United States, Change Over Time published an issue dedicated to LGBTQ heritage in which public historian Susan Ferentinos presents a way of “categorizing the LGBTQ historical landscape,” from sites of support and social life to sites of protest and political organizing, LGBTQ businesses and organizations, sites of spirituality, sites of persecution and violence, sites of separatism, and sites of art and architecture. 
Man restoring detail on stone carving on building

Photo courtesy of Eric J. Nordstrom of Urban Remains Chicago

Roy Ingraffia, Graduate Program in Historic Preservation lecturer alum works with the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers' (BAC) Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois (ADC 1 IL) to help restore Chicago’s Cook County General Hospital, an 105-year old Beaux Arts building – made of brick, granite, and terra cotta – that has been sitting vacant and neglected for over a decade, despite its historical significance in both the architectural and medical communities. 
Archival Photograph of the Mancos Common Press

Image from San Juan’s Skyway Magazine Summer/Fall 2019. 

Fank Matero was walking in downtown Mancos in January of 2013, past the old Mancos Times­-Tribune building on Grand Avenue. It was usually empty, so he was surprised to see an editor typing away inside. He asked if he could take a look behind the false wall of the building, which had always intrigued him. He was astonished by what he saw.
Ghost Structures in Franklin Court, Philadelphia, 1976, designed by Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates
In this commentary, Frank Matero, professor of architecture and chair of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, considers the dominance of modern architecture in historic preservation activities.