Historic Preservation

Frank Matero and students at Fort Union

The Center for Architectural Conservation

Director: Frank G. Matero, Professor of Architecture and Historic Preservation

The Center for Architectural Conservation (CAC) is devoted to training and research in the technical conservation of the built environment. VIsit the CAC's website for a full archive of past and current projects.

Founded in 1991 as The Architectural Conservation Laboratory (ACL), The Center for Architectural Conservation provides a unique intellectual environment for those pursuing focused study in architectural conservation and building technology. The Center encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration on contemporary issues related to the conservation of culturally significant buildings, monuments, and sites throughout the world, including issues of sustainability. Through grants and sponsored projects, the faculty and staff, in collaboration with other University centers (such as the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter, the Cartographic Modeling Laboratory, and PennPraxis), conduct a full agenda of research and teaching dedicated to documentation, recording, field survey, material analysis, condition assessment, risk analysis, and the development of new treatments and treatment evaluation of historic structures and sites. The Center is also a founding partner of Penn’s new Materials Library, adding its vast collection of historical and traditional building materials to new contemporary materials that allow students with diverse interests to experience first-hand the materials and materiality of architecture and construction technology.

Since its founding more than 25 years ago, The Center has developed a robust research and training agenda through national and international project-based funding that has provided sponsored graduate and post-graduate internships and the facilities necessary for that research. Partnerships include a wide range of institutions, among them:  The National Park Service, The Getty Conservation Institute, Word Monuments Fund, Global Heritage Fund, The Aga Khan Trust for Culture, The National Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic England, Middle Eastern Technical University, Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico , Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas-the Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser (FORTH-IESL), and Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

In addition to providing graduate and post graduate students with the necessary environment to participate and collaborate in applied projects at home and abroad, The Center offers professional workshops and master classes for the public and professional community. For more information on research and training activities, please visit www.conlab.org.

Recent CAC Projects

Abode Structure

Photo: Carolyn Dickensheets, 2018

“Identifying the vulnerabilities of sites like Wupatki is perhaps the most critical challenge currently facing all...

Three researchers with clipboards, masked and distanced, face the camera posed against a brick building

Maggie Sollman, Rohan Lewis, and Kecia Fong survey the hospital's north facade during the summer fieldwork season. (Photo: Starr Herr-Cardillo)

PennPraxis and the Center for Architectural Conservation are developing a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for the...

Log cabin

Adobe Ruins Monitoring, Mesa Verde, Cortez, CO 1996 Ayyubid City Wall, Cairo, Egypt 1999 Bar B C Ranch, Grand...

Group of students on scaffolding within large run down room doing restoration work

Photo by Frank Matero 

Weitzman School of Design students Noah Yoder (MSHP'20) and Joe Bacci (MSHP'20) finalize their conservation treatments...

Group shout outside Mancos building.

Frank Matero, professor of architecture and chair of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, and Matt ...