Historic Preservation Program

Andrew Dolkart, director

The Historic Preservation program welcomed another class of high-caliber students this year, with several pursuing dual degrees in Urban Planning and Architecture. The ever evolving curriculum added new electives this year, including The Future of House Museums (Franklin Vagnone), Furniture Conservation (John Childs) and Historic Replicas: Replacement Materials Workshop (Matt Reiley). Historic Preservation co-sponsored the 12th International Congress on the Deterioration and Conservation of Stone this fall, held at Columbia and organized by Professor George Wheeler. The program also sent students to the annual Association for Preservation Technology conference in Charleston, including five who were recognized as APT Student Scholars.

First year students worked on studio projects at Woodlawn Cemetery and Hell’s Kitchen North in the fall. For Studio 2 in the spring, the students split into three different studio projects: designing a visitor center for Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island within the James Renwick small pox hospital ruin; developing preservation strategies for hurricane prone areas of New York in light of Hurricane Sandy’s damage; and documenting post-war public school architecture in Manhattan for a non-contiguous National Register district nomination. Second year students kept busy with coursework and thesis writing. Richard Lowry, Jonathan Taylor and Jennifer Whisenhunt each won preservation thesis awards, while Emily Rinaldi received the GSAPP writing prize for her thesis on the controversies in preserving Confederate monuments.

Several courses took field trips to sites they studied, including the International Cultural Site Management class to Fallingwater and the first-years to Stone Creek Quarry in Branford Connecticut. Xenia Vytuleva’s Experimental Practice in Soviet Preservation course traveled to Moscow in January with three preservation students. The group toured threatened Constructivist architecture of the early Soviet era, including the Melnikov House and the Narkomfin building, where they presented an educational exhibit to promote the structure’s preservation.

The Inquiry: HP lecture series, organized by second-year HP students, hosted a well-attended and remarkable line-up of programs. The lectures varied between topics of conservation, history and theory, for both local and international issues. The series welcomed back program alumni Barbara Campagna and Will Tippens in the spring, for lectures on the Richardson Olmstead Complex, the former Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane and using preservation tax credits in real estate development. Other alumni relations continued to be strong this year, with the program hosting an inaugural Speed Networking event to connect students with program alumni who have made the most with their preservation degrees in their careers.