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.
Led by Project Director Frank Matero, Professor of Architecture and Director of the Architectural Conservation Laboratory; Associate Director William Whitaker, Collections Manager of the Architectural Archives; Heritage Surveyor John Hinchman, Research Associate and Lecturer; and Post-Graduate Fellow Cesar Bargues, MSHP’15, the project will develop preservation guidelines, prepare workshops for the Nakashima board, staff, students and public, and incorporate an in-house training program for the conservation and maintenance of the house and studio.
The Nakashima House and Studio in New Hope, Pennsylvania are part of a larger complex that is an invaluable Modern landmark designed and built by George Nakashima, a Japanese-American architect, woodworker and one the most eminent mid-twentieth century furniture designer-craftsman of the American Craft movement.
The Nakashima Woodworker Complex was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2013 and was recently listed on the World Monuments Fund (WMF) 2014 Watch List; it is stewarded by the Nakashima Foundation for Peace, and George Nakashima Woodworker SA, Inc. As the complex evolves, Nakashima’s family, who continue to live on the property, and its stewards, aim to help the public interpret the relationship between the living traditions and the historic site. Nakashima’s furniture styles continue to be crafted and his legacy lives on through his designs and the Nakashima Foundation for Peace which he originally founded.
The Weitzman team’s primary focus is The Arts Building and Cloister, one of Nakashima’s most significant architectural works. Collaborative efforts by all parties involved jointly aspire to promote George Nakashima’s legacy and philosophy through the study and preservation of the complex. The Arts Building was designed originally as an art gallery and museum to display Nakashima’s furniture and the works of artist Ben Shahn, a friend of Nakashima’s. The cloister is used today as an events space used by the Foundation, as a museum, and orientation center. The project will conclude with a Conservation and Management Plan and Historic Structure Report, building on an inventory of archival documents compiled by Penn students in 2014, a working building chronology and narrative, and a complete set of “as-built” measured drawings and photo-documentation that was completed in 2015. Diagnostics of the hyperbolic paraboloid roof will require 3D recording, remote sensing of the building envelope, interior environmental monitoring for energy efficiency and collections care.