Historic preservation shouldn’t be seen as an end in itself – a way to separate a few valuable sites and prevent them from changing. Rather, preservation of buildings and landscapes should be seen as a means to the end of good stewardship, social well-being, prosperous and sustainable communities, and rich cultural memory. The PennPraxis team brings expertise in all aspects of historic preservation and cultural resource planning. Through research and an extensive portfolio of practical projects, our faculty, staff, and students have worked around the country and around the world to design preservation solutions that advance the curatorial care of buildings, sites, and cultural landscapes while activating these heritage places as civic assets.
Survey design and documentation
Cultural landscape analysis
Conservation management plans
Community-engaged heritage advocacy
Preparation of historic register nominations
The Boonton Preservation Project will develop a preservation plan for the Maxfield Engine House--a firehouse constructed in 1893.
Image: Camp for unemployed women in Atlanta, Georgia, ca. July 1934; via: Franklin D. Roosevelt Library
This project establishes the first comprehensive inventory of sites associated with unemployed women during the New Deal (specifically, 1933 to 1937), sometimes referred to as “She-She-She Camps.” A counterpart to the male-centric Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), these residential camps we
The Detroit Tactical Preservation Program is a partnership between PennPraxis and the City of Detroit's Planning and Development Department that focuses on the partial and incremental reuse of specific spaces within a larger building.
The National Park Service DC Small Parks Project aims to evaluate and manage change for the hundreds of parklets, roundabout circles, and other small parks created by or extended from the original L’Enfant Plan for Washington, DC by conducting detailed analyses of three prototype sites: Marion Park, Titanic Memorial Park, and a section of Fort Drive.
PennPraxis and the Center for Architectural Conservation are developing a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for the Pennsylvania Hospital, located in Philadelphia’s Center City.
A PennPraxis team is developing a conservation management plan for the Miller House and Garden, an internationally renowned mid-century Modernist landmark in Columbus, Indiana. The house itself was designed by architect Eero Saarinen, with interiors designed by Alexander Girard.
The South End Neighborhood Study (SENS) centered on a deep engagement process with residents and stakeholders to analyze the opportunities for growth, development, and heritage preservation in Stamford’s South End.
The project surveyed the 108-acre Great Falls of the Passaic/Society of Useful Manufactures National Historic Landmark District for the National Park Service for the first time since the district was updated in 1986.
The Historic Sacred Places Project created the first comprehensive, field-checked inventory of Philadelphia’s 842 purpose-built historic sacred places. PennPraxis’ field survey findings were published in The Pew Charitable Trusts’ 2017 report, Philadelphia Historic Sacred Places: Their Past, Present, and Future.
PennPraxis conducted a survey-based evaluation process for the Infill Philadelphia: Sacred Places / Civic Spaces project, a partnership between the Community Design Collaborative and Partners for Sacred Places, with North 4th LLC as project managers.
In 2018, PennPraxis led the Historic Preservation Citizen Engagement Project, which resulted in the Neighborhood Preservation Toolkit (Toolkit)--a new, free resource to build a larger, broader constituency for preservation in Philadelphia.
The Urban Heritage Project addresses issues at the intersection of built heritage, cultural landscape, and societal change through multi-disciplinary research and practice.
In partnership with the National Park Service, the Urban Heritage Project has worked on projects related to cultural landscapes in Washington, D.C. since the spring of 2012. This collaboration dates back to the 2012 - 2013 Parks for the People competition, organized by the Van Alen Institute and the National Park Service, when a PennDesign interdisciplinary studio was named a finalist in that competition.
Professor Vincent Reina of PennDesign and Catherine Droser, Research Associate at PennPraxis, consulted on a project for Philadelphia Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), to develop a report on subsidized housing in Philadelphia.
Not all of the Indianapolis Museum of Art's prized collections are located inside its building; in fact, some of the most famous works in the museum's collections are buildings themselves.
Philadelphia is known as a city of neighborhoods. So how do we help these areas of the City preserve their unique qualities? PennPraxis’ recent work with the Chestnut Hill Conservancy is a demonstration of how this can happen.
PennPraxis is engaged with the University of Pennsylvania Facilities and Real Estate Services to deliver a historical research and interpretation strategy for the Pennovation Works campus. Pennovation Works is Penn’s new hub for research and innovation, located in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Grays Ferry.
Conservation of Rwanda’s national genocide memorials grows with urgency each passing year. Deterioration of buildings, sites, and artifacts threaten the ability of Rwandans to mourn, commemorate and interpret the deeply meaningful and troubling events surrounding the 1994 genocide.
PennPraxis was awarded a grant from the Getty Foundation to develop a conservation management plan for The George Nakashima House and Studio in New Hope, Pennsylvania.
The value of Lehigh Valley is visualized across its industrial landscapes where the architectural remains of quarries, kilns and mills from the last two centuries are part of the history of the nation’s great industrial era.
The constantly shifting concept of “public good” poses a challenge to designers, stewards and managers of public space, as well as to politicians, elected officials, community leaders and citizens.
In fall 2008, the William Penn Foundation commissioned PennPraxis to study public art in Philadelphia with an aim of better understanding how the city currently supports public art and where gaps in programs exist.