Weitzman School of Design

The University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design prepares students to address complex sociocultural and environmental issues through thoughtful inquiry, creative expression, and innovation. As a diverse community of scholars and practitioners, we are committed to advancing the public good–both locally and globally–through art, design, planning, and preservation. 

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 21
  • Publication
  • Publication
    Alveolar Erosion and its Conservation Recommendations for the Sandstone Masonry at Durham Castle
    (2010-01-01) Simple, Tiffani L
    This research addresses the sandstone masonry of Durham Castle, a World Heritage site located in Durham, England. The study encompasses a focus on its current condition, deterioration mechanisms, and in particular, alveolar erosion, and the performance of previous repair techniques. The stone and weathering observed at the castle appear to be consistent across the entire site, regardless of age or location and are representative of other buildings in the area. The obvious diagnosis therefore appears to be related to the geo-chemical nature of the stone more than any other single factor. Alveolar erosion is particularly evident and poses the greatest risk given its resultant loss of stone and unit volume, leading to visual disfigurement and structural instability. Because of this long-lived problem, composite mortar repairs and stone replacement have frequently been performed on the castle. This study researches this current deterioration mechanism through literature reviews, archival research, on-site survey and investigation, and material analysis including thin section petrography, soluble salt and clay identification, porosity, and water absorption/desorption. This study concludes with possible sources of alveolar erosion at Durham Castle and conservation recommendations to maximize the retention of original stone through both preventive and remedial treatments before replacement in kind becomes necessary.
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    From Dockyard to Esplanade: Leveraging Industrial Heritage in Waterfront Redevelopment
    (2010-01-01) Spector, Jayne O
    The outcomes of preserving and incorporating industrial building fabric and related infrastructure, such as railways, docks and cranes, in redeveloped waterfront sites have yet to be fully understood by planners, preservationists, public administrators or developers. Case studies of Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Philadelphia/Camden, Dublin, Glasgow, examine the industrial history, redevelopment planning and approach to preservation and adaptive reuse in each locale. The effects of contested industrial histories, planning approach, funding, environmental remediation, building materials and scale are evaluated as how they impact preservation outcomes. The case studies reveal a trend towards preservation of industrial waterfront buildings and infrastructure and demonstrate how such preservation has been leveraged to contribute to the success of re-purposed urban waterfronts.
  • Publication
    Certainty in the Uncertainty of Venice: John Ruskin and the Daguerreotype Photographic Process
    (2010-01-01) Medler, Crystal Leah
    John Ruskin was among the first to embrace photography as a tool for preservation of historic architecture. His use of the newly invented daguerreotype photographic process in Venice, beginning in 1845, altered the way he documented architecture and aided in his mission to spread awareness of what he believed to be destructive restoration that was conducted throughout Venice in the mid-nineteenth century. Ruskin used the daguerreotype photographic process to produce a record of architecture in Venice which was his implicit form of preservation – an alternative to the destructive restorations he encountered. Ruskin's interaction with the daguerreotype changed his way of thinking about architecture and the way in which he felt that it should be documented. His interaction with the daguerreotype is reflected in the transformation of his drawing and painting style which was previously focused on creating an aesthetically pleasing illustration – evolving to a more technically accurate measured drawing that aimed to be an exact reproduction of its subject. Ruskin's acceptance and use of photography set the tone for its use in the field of historic preservation where it could be used to preserve the memory and information of a building, and create awareness of the potential dangers of restoration of historic architecture.
  • Publication
    After Typology: The Suffering of Diagrams
    (2000-01-11) Braham, William
    Architects produce diagrams, not buildings, but diagrams that are wholly immanent, wholly embedded and coextensive with the materials, configurations, and forms of buildings. Theories of representation and expression have tended to privilege the concept over the building, treating the artifact as a site of interpretation, a mere extension of the process of its production. But if such concepts could be adequately expressed or understood separately from their manifestations, then the buildings themselves would be unnecessary. Architectural concepts only exist fully in their realization, as discoveries through the non-linear process called design. That condition of immanence inspires the recurring attention to method and process in the architectural discourse and equally the frustration with the embedded quality of the theorizing that it reveals.
  • Publication
    Performance of the Roof Structure at the Wagner Free Institute of Science: A Computational Simulation and its Implications fo Plaster Conservation
    (2010-01-01) Woodman, Katharine Helene
    The structural performance of historic buildings is a critical concern with respect to safety and functionality. While the decorative surface fabric of a building is the most visible manifestation of its architectural value, the integrity of these surfaces may be affected by the performance of the underlying structure. When symptoms of inadequate structural performance are manifested by cracked or displaced finishes, a structural engineer is generally consulted in order to evaluate the structural integrity of the building. More recently, engineers have begun to look towards more sophisticated analytical methods in order to help better simulate and understand structural behavior. In particular, Finite Element Analysis (FEA) has become increasingly prolific in the field. This thesis sought to critically analyze the capabilities and limitations of FEA in its application to the diagnostic of historic structures, utilizing the Wagner Free Institute of Science as a case study. Finite element analysis was utilized to investigate the structural performance of the roof structure--inclusive of the arched trusses, the vaulted roof assembly and the plaster.
  • Publication
    Walter Benjamin and the Tectonic Unconscious: Using Architecture as an Optical Instrument
    (1999) Mertins, Detlef
    The writings of Walter Benjamin include appropriations and transformations of modernist architectural history and theory that offer an opportunity to broaden the interpretation of how the relationship between the 'unconscious' and technologically aided 'optics' is figured in his commentaries on cultural modernity. This essay focuses on three moments in his writings, each of which touches on this topic in a different way: first, on Benjamin's reading of Carl Bötticher's theory of architectural tectonics as a theory of history in which the unconscious serves as a generative and productive source that challenges the existing matrix of representation; secondly, on Benjamin's transformation of Sigfried Giedion's presentation of iron structures into optical instruments for glimpsing a space interwoven with unconsciousness, a new world of space the image of which had seemingly been captured by photography; and thirdly, on Benjamin's suggestion that the mimetic faculty continues to play within representation, history and technology to produce similarities between the human and the non-human. In each instance, Benjamin reworked the dynamic dualism of nineteenth-century architectural tectonics - (self)representation seeking reconciliation with alterity - into a dialectic. In so doing, he set the cause of revolution (of a modernity yet to come) against metaphysical and utopian claims, progressive and regressive alike.
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    Commemoration and Protest: The Use of Heritage Trails to Connect Women's History with Historic Sites
    (2010-01-01) Moshier, Marissa J
    Women's heritage trails employ the theme of women’s history to link historic sites across cities or entire states. As shifts in preservation practice have begun to promote greater diversity in the interpretation of historic sites, these trails serve as educational tools and initiatives for heritage tourism that create networks of women’s history sites. The trails also serve as public commemorations of women’s roles in American history and as protests against the absence of women in the interpretation at historic sites. Through case studies in Boston, New Jersey, Maryland, and upstate New York, this thesis considers the motives and goals of women’s heritage trails within a broader movement to include the histories of diverse populations at heritage sites.
  • Publication
    Beneficial Additions: Addressing Brutalist Architecture to Create a Financial and Spatial Synergy Between Historic Places of Worship with Secular Mix-Use Building Additions
    (2010-01-01) Lofstrom, Johanna Luise
    Rather than demolishing a historic house of worship due to lack of maintenance funding, this thesis proposes a design solution that preserves the structure while addressing the congregation's fundraising and programming needs. The goal is to design an example of how different identities of program can be combined while preserving the integrity of the historic structure. The thesis will assert that new additions can be beneficial as means of income for structures listed on the D.C. Landmark list that are exempt from federal funding and tax incentives. The end goal is to give structures that were not self-nominated for the D.C. Landmark list an opportunity to adapt to the owner's needs while still preserving the historic building.
  • Publication
    Curating Architecture: An Investigation of the Motives and Practice of Architectural Collection and Exhibition with Recommendations for Interpretation of the Architectural Study Collection at Independence National Historical Park
    (2010-01-01) Hawes, Sarah Elizabeth
    This thesis examines the history, theory and practice of collecting and exhibiting architecture as a context from which cultural resource management guidelines for the interpretation of architectural fragment collections is generated. The Independence National Historical Park Architectural Study Collection serves as a case study to apply this framework as the National Park Service prepares to design and curate an interpretive exhibit for a representative selection of the collection.