Graduate Program in Historic Preservation
Historic preservation addresses change responsive to the historic environment. At a time when society increasingly realizes the historical and cultural value of that inherited environment and what has been lost through the destruction of buildings, landscapes, and communities, the field of historic preservation has become central to the design, adaptive use, planning, and management of buildings, cities, and regions. By understanding the time dimension in human culture, it identifies history as an integrated component of the continuous change responsible for the material, psychological, and symbolic qualities of our environment. The Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the Penn’s School of Design provides an integrated approach for architects, landscape architects, planners, historians, archaeologists, conservators, managers, and other professionals to understand, sustain, and transform the existing environment.
The identification and analysis of cultural places and their historic fabric, the determination of significance and value, and the design of appropriate conservation and management measures require special preparation in history, theory, documentation, technology, and planning. These subjects form the core of the program, which students build upon to define an area of emphasis including building conservation, site management, landscape preservation, preservation planning, and preservation design for those with a previous design degree.
The Master of Historic Preservation degree requires two years of study and a summer internship and thesis.
PublicationThe Brooklyn Navy Yard: A Mission-Oriented Model of Industrial Heritage Reuse(2020-01-01) La Porte, KimberlyThis thesis examines how the mission-oriented corporation, an emerging type of public-private partnership, delivers historic preservation outcomes in coordination with other urban management goals. It presents a study of four redeveloped sites within the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York: Building 92, the Naval Cemetery Landscape, the Building 128 Complex (also called the “Green Manufacturing Center”), and Admirals Row Plaza. The redevelopment strategies implemented at the Brooklyn Navy Yard form a model for exploring the synergies between the conservation of heritage assets and broad urban planning, management, and regeneration policies. Though its projects have achieved varying degrees of success, the Brooklyn Navy Yard has found a relative equilibrium between retaining its integrity as a 300+ acre historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places and its organizational commitment to job creation, industrial growth, and community engagement. PublicationRecovery of the Rockaways: An Analysis of the Role of Cultural Resources in Public Policy after Hurricane Sandy and its Effect on Community Resilience(2020-01-01) Brill, KatherineAfter Hurricane Sandy devasted New York City in 2012, the Rockaway Peninsula, a culturally and architecturally significant region in the borough of Queens faced extensive damage. Managed by both the National Park Service and the city of New York, a range of policies were implemented post-Sandy to aid in urban recovery. The following study reviews the five most relevant policies and their impact on the way that cultural resources contribute to community resilience. While these policies took real steps toward creating a more resilient environment, each policy and intervention prioritized physical and environmental recovery as a vehicle for economic recovery, excluding an analysis of long-term impact on community resilience by largely failing to incorporate consideration of cultural heritage and resources. Analysis of policy and planning initiatives undertaken by the National Park Service, New York City Parks and Rec, and the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission reveals that historic preservation and cultural resources face roadblocks to being integrated with other climate-change, disaster-response, and urban regeneration policies. The study illuminates that lack of inclusive recovery priorities in the Rockaways stems from a lack of collaboration among government levels. To address this issue managing agencies must take on a more holistic view of recovery and community resilience in the urban environment. PublicationDemolition and Reconstruction as Urban Preservation in China: The Case of LiaoCheng City(2022-01-01) Zhang, ChuxuanThis thesis studies the large-scale “oxymoron” projects/policies (demolition and reconstruction activities) that occurred in China, especially in LiaoCheng City to understand the design of the policies/projects, the factors at play, and their effects on preservation efforts in historic Chinese cities. This study shows that large-scale “oxymoron” projects/policies are mainly affected by four aspects. Firstly, how to maintain the authenticity of historical heritage during the preservation process is still controversial due to China's unique cultural background. Secondly, the land finance, the rapid economic development, and the continuous expansion of the cities have made the land value of the historical centers rise rapidly. Governments and developers carried out large-scale demolition and reconstruction of historic cities for profits. In addition, local governments have too much power over the protection of historical cities. The third reason is that China's current preservation legal systems and regulations for historical cities are not complete. Fourthly, the awareness of the values of historical heritage is not enough under the influence of the idea of breaking the old and establishing the new in the Cultural Revolution. PublicationRevisiting the Past Treatments and Condition Assessment of the Painted Sanctuary at Tumacacori(2022-01-01) Yang, YifeiThis thesis focuses on the painted walls in the Sanctuary of the Mission Church of San Jose de Tumacacori, which has been managed by the National Park Service since 1918 and has been treated several times in the past years. The treatments from different periods overlaid on the surface of the Sanctuary offer interesting evidence of different types of conservation treatments conducted on in situ murals and decorative paintings over the past century. However, these treatments have never been closely examined nor distinguished as individual campaigns of treatment. This thesis intends to differentiate and analyze the treatments and materials applied to the surfaces of the Sanctuary with the help of ultraviolet light examination and microscopical analysis. In the meantime, the current conditions of the painted surfaces will be recorded. An effort will be made to evaluate the effectiveness of different treatments. Finally, based on the findings of the thesis, it will try to provide recommendations for future interventions for the painted Sanctuary of Tumacacori. PublicationFlood Barriers: Evaluating Flood Preparedness Guidance for Historic Structures at Cultural Heritage Sites in the United States(2021-01-01) Westberg, MerisMore cultural heritage sites across the United States are at risk of flooding than previously recognized due to the escalating effects of climate change. The National Flood Insurance Program, which is responsible for mapping and communicating flood risk to citizens, has had little impact on the cultural heritage stewardship community. As a result, there is generally low flood risk awareness, low flood insurance take-up rates, and minimal investment in long-term adaptation among site stewards. More sophisticated, accessible tools for understanding flood risk are now available and should be leveraged to promote a culture of flood preparedness within the field. Disaster planning is becoming increasingly integrated into cultural heritage site management, but most preparedness resources focus exclusively on collections, largely omitting consideration for the historic structures which are the backbone of many sites. This may be because strategies for preparing historic structures for flooding require specialized knowledge of historic architectural systems, building codes, and preservation standards. The historic preservation community has not committed to developing preparedness guidance which integrates structures preparedness with the complexities of site management. What guidance is available on flood preparedness for historic structures is written primarily for private property owners and is deferential to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards, which do not formally promote adaptation. This thesis therefore examines what flood preparedness guidance for historic structures at cultural heritage sites does exist and recommends how the cultural heritage stewardship community can improve and promote flood preparedness before irreplaceable structures become functionally obsolete due to flood risk. PublicationPink and papered: the John and Bartha Moulton homestead and its relationship to broader trends in rural, Mormon, and domestic architecture in the American West(2020-09-01) Yoder, NoahThe John and Bartha Moulton Homestead is one of six remaining homesteads settled by Mormon families along “Mormon Row,” an early 20th century ranching community in Grand Teton National Park. Built in 1938, the Moulton family’s home is known as the “Pink House” for its striking pink exterior. It is a standout relic of late-stage homesteading and has become a popular tourist attraction. The house has been unoccupied since 1990 and has been passively conserved by The National Park Service. As such, the building retains a high degree of integrity and still showcases original hardware, wallpaper, paint, and other finishes that illustrate the life and tastes of the Moulton family. Though anomalous in color, the Pink House was in many ways typical of homesteads along Mormon Row and among 20th century Mormon homes throughout the American West. Today, few buildings remain on Mormon Row, and those that do are largely log frame structures in keeping with a romantic, rustic vision of western settlement. However, the Moulton homestead is a vibrant reminder that the Row was once populated by thoughtfully designed houses in a variety of materials. This thesis examines the Pink House and its interior finishes as they relate to Mormon domestic architecture, and contextualizes the house within greater trends in farmhouse planning and design as modern amenities and mass-produced items became available in rural areas. PublicationTHE GHOST OF SLAVERY EXORCISED ONCE AND FOR ALL: ROMANTIC NATIONALISM AND WHITE BLINDNESS IN HERMON ATKINS MACNEIL’S CIVIL WAR SOLIDERS AND SAILORS MEMORIAL(2021-01-01) Lewis, JoshuaThe plethora of monuments produced in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a phenomenon dubbed ‘statue mania’ by the scholar Erika Doss, continue to vex today. Removed from original time and context, they can provoke wildly variant readings or simply elude notice altogether, hidden in plain sight. Using various lenses, including urban planning, art history, and the dynamics of memory and history in the half century following the Civil War, this thesis seeks to demonstrate the value of analyzing these everyday monuments. This is done through close and thick examination of one case study: the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Memorial in Philadelphia, PA. The ensuing analysis argues that the monument, designed by the sculptor Hermon Atkins MacNeil, celebrates a glorious vision of American virtuousness and heroism by framing the conflict of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery as a moment when the nation truly emerged as its ideal self, worthy of the heroic status afforded to it after World War I. Through this case study, this thesis seeks to understand the ideology behind the commission and placement of the monuments of statue mania to aid both the public and municipalities in future decisions related to management and preservation with a more robust interpretive framework. It works upon strong pre-existing literature to do so but seeks to address a couple of major gaps. These include a lack of scholarship addressing Unionist monuments and scant coverage of the context of urban planning design principles as crucial context for monuments. After surveying nearly three decades of the monuments’ path from planning to fruition, the analytic core of the thesis begins with the latter gap by examining the monument as part of the broader City Beautiful Movement and the landscape of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, where the two pylons composing the monument operated as a frame for the great canvas of civilization, progress, and glory found in Philadelphia’s great urban planning experiment. Next, the thesis examines Hermon Atkins MacNeil’s past work as an artist, which sought to humanize his indigenous subjects while still vindicating American conquest as a result of the forces of destiny. This notion of an exceptional American destiny later finds voice in Soldiers and Sailors. Then the thesis contrasts Soldiers and Sailors with its primary inspiration, Paris’ Arc de Triomphe, and their shared theme of romantic nationalism. Finally, the issues of Civil War memory are further expounded upon, particularly regarding race and the broader trends of sectional reconciliation. In Soldiers and Sailors, the issue of slavery is central, but what is ignored is what is at stake for Black Americans both during and after the war, as these sordid histories are inconvenient to MacNeil’s triumphal narrative. The thesis concludes by examining the implications of the analysis, arguing that it reveals the central problem of monuments: they are intended for public consumption, yet historically have been utterly lacking in any avenue for meaningful public participation. While it is never clean or easy, increased democratic participation and a greater potential for the public to be actively involved with the creation of new monuments can create a richer culture of monuments, attending to the breadth and depth of history rather than the comforting narratives of the powerful. PublicationSymbiotic Approach: Towards a Preservation Model for the Auction Hall and Its Contemporary Extension at Navi Mumbai's MAFCO Wholesale Market(2022-01-01) Dadawala, NamrataThis research is an effort to develop a model preservation approach to derive a preservation philosophy for the Auction Hall and its extension (F & F’, in Fig. 1) in the MAFCO Wholesale Market Complex, Navi Mumbai, by implementing a values-based method, derived specifically for the Indian context. India’s Independence (1947) brought with it new challenges of demonstrating the democratic, secular, economic and social voices of the independent country into its architecture. Its first-generation modernist architects succeeded in this endeavor by adapting the international style of Modernism to the local context and started a new regionalist style of architecture for India. However, insufficient methods to understand these direct translations of the cultural reforms into built forms have led to a lack of official or public recognition for these modern structures, contributing to the significant reasons for their deteriorating conditions in India. The absence of interest leads to fewer research efforts into India’s modern heritage and a lack of nationally accepted regulatory preservation guidelines for such structures. An essential starting point in developing a preservation design philosophy in this thesis is the Madrid-New Delhi document, a non-regulatory statement of principles and guidelines around conserving and preserving modern heritage. Burra Charter is used as a supplement that helps in structuring the assessment of the values for the MAFCO Wholesale Market, further enriched by the framework used in Warm Modernity, which helps to understand the significance of modern structures concerning the Indian context. All three documents are essential to forming an in-depth understanding of the Auction Hall and its extension, further deriving the preservation design philosophy for the place. The interdependence of the framework derived in this thesis emphasizes that no document is sufficient to derive new meanings for modern heritage according to contemporary needs. This thesis calls this approach a Symbiotic one, in which the inter-dependence of the expertise brought by all the actors involved in the sites of modern heritage would enable a genuine process toward a more sensitive and sustainable future for these sites of architectural and cultural significance. While the values ascribed, significance stated, and preservation approach developed herein are specific to the Auction Hall and its extension at the MAFCO Wholesale Market, Navi Mumbai, the methodology and framework of analysis could be applied to the sites of modern heritage in India. PublicationDocumentation and Data Management Strategies for Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West(2020-01-01) Ortiz Cortés, Mónica P.Managers of historic sites must address issues of visitation, conservation, documentation, recording, and educational programs as part of their responsibilities on a daily basis. As a result, vast amounts of data in varying formats have to be organized to satisfy both current and future needs. Due to the absence of a universal preservation management methodology, often the best methods and most useful software for the needs of the site are difficult to identify, expensive to deploy, have a questionable long-term service life and have difficulty addressing the wide range of factors at play on a historic site. Data that is collected is often not processed to a level where it can have long term usefulness resulting in swollen servers that contain vast amounts of data that can be difficult to isolate for a given need. In house solutions often are conceived out of necessity, typically are unique to a given site and often result in data that serves only a narrow range of functions. Adding to this complex web, sites are often dependent on outside forces to help with the collection process. Still, different parties can often arrive at different solutions, even when focusing on the same resource, resulting in the redundancy of labor and data. Focusing on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West office space, as a case study, this thesis attempts to evaluate and compare past and current data collection methods used by both Taliesin, as well as outside parties, in an effort to identify a common foundation on which a Building Information Modeling (BIM) platform could be constructed. The modern use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) has great potential for historic sites, but the high costs and steep learning curves associated with the leading BIM software significantly reduces the likelihood that they will find solid traction in the management of historic sites in the near future. As a result, an additional goal is to identify a cost-effective digital methodology that employs BIM style management, which can address several current issues. These includes 1) helping to reduce data collection redundancy, 2) offering a resource that can meet the wide range of needs of the Taliesin management team on both a day-to-day, as well as a long term basis, and 3) offering solutions to meet the needs of outside parties without having to radically modify or redo existing data. PublicationDeveloping a Methodology for the Conservation of a Tserkva: Examining the structural and Decorative Composite of the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Drohobych, Ukraine(2022-01-01) Horton, BlairIn January 2020, a multi-year project was initiated to preserve the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (CEHC), a historic wooden church in Western Ukraine. Building upon preliminary documentation, this thesis responds to the conservation challenge presented by the polychrome wall-paintings where the icons and motifs used in the religious liturgy were painted directly onto the structural timbers. This thesis proposes a methodology for their joint conservation informed by examination of the church’s heritage values, regional agents of deterioration, and conservation discourse around the larger typology. Through developed preservation principles and a phased timeline, the site-specific needs of the church are considered in order to aid resource managers in prioritizing future conservation work.