Track 2: DESIGN - PLANNING THE CONSERVATION OF HISTORIC PLACES / Volet 2 : Conception - Planifier la conservation de lieux historiques

The Conservation Management Plan as a Catalyst for Positive Change – Wellesley’s Jewett Arts Center

Saturday, October 14
10:45 AM - 12:15 PM

The Jewett Arts Center at Wellesley College is the first major institutional work of architect Paul Rudolph and a seminal landmark in demonstrating how to successfully integrate a large contemporary, multi-disciplinary complex into the delicate fabric of a pastoral American college campus without compromising its integrity as a modern structure. Completed in 1958, Jewett almost immediately began to outgrow its space, and by 1970, plans were underway for an expansion of the facility. Although these were not carried out, ultimately minor renovations were undertaken in 1978 and a larger campaign executed in the early 1990s following the addition of Raphael Moneo’s Davis Art Museum to the west of Jewett. The cumulative effect of this work solved many immediate problems but has in both overt and subtle ways compromised aspects of Rudolph’s vision.

In 2015 Wellesley received a “Keeping it Modern” grant from the Getty Foundation to develop a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for Jewett. The timing was coincident with the commencement of construction on an addition by Kieran Timberlake to the adjacent Pendleton Hall that connected directly to Jewett, a move foreseen in the original 1970 expansion plan. The CMP was undertaken with the intention of reclaiming and reinforcing the identity of Jewett through the provision of both specific recommendations and general guidelines to manage all future work on the complex, while helping to better integrate the diverse arts programs housed in Jewett, Davis and Pendleton.

The presentation will focus on the value of the Jewett CMP as a vehicle not only to understand and conserve the facility, but also to help shape future interventions. Through a values-based analysis developed with broad participation from the Wellesley faculty, administration, and facilities staff, Jewett was situated as an important work of 20th century architecture a well as a critical component of the greater culture of Wellesley in serving its mission as a top tier women’s liberal arts college. This understanding was then used to build agreement in defining the primary goals of the CMP which include the re-establishment of original character lost through prior renovations, improvements to sustainability, operability and building performance, and the identification of potential areas for key interventions that could reinforce and enhance Rudolph’s vision while acknowledging the Arts Center’s contemporary function as part of the larger arts complex.

An important outcome of the CMP process was to forge consensus concerning the long-term value of the Plan and the recognition that, far from being a potential impediment that would inhibit future modification, the guidelines and process can enable creativity within a framework that encourages change to a degree that might otherwise be precluded from consideration. The CMP thus aids the full spectrum of need from pedagogy to operations, helping to shape future program, informing on-going maintenance, and guiding the extent and character of interventions. Finally, in weaving a compelling story about Jewett’s rich history, iconic status and the ongoing value that it provides as part of the Wellesley educational experience, the CMP can also be used as a tool for fund-raising purposes.

Learning Objectives:

David N. Fixler, FAIA, LEED AP BD&C

David Fixler, Architect

David Fixler, FAIA is an architect specializing in the rehabilitation of modern structures including works such as Alvar Aalto’s Baker House, and Eero Saarinen's Kresge Auditorium and Chapel - all at MIT, Louis Kahn’s Richards Labs at the University of Pennsylvania and the United Nations Headquarters. A frequent contributor to the evolving dialogue on modern structures and preservation theory, David’s work has been published internationally and he has lectured and taught at numerous institutions and events throughout the United States and 12 other countries on 5 continents. His writings include Aalto and America, published in 2012 by Yale University Press (with Stanford Anderson and Gail Fenske), articles in journals such as Change Over Time, CRM, Architecture Boston, the DOCOMOMO Journal, Traditional Building, Ptah and Spazio. He has guest edited special issues of the Journal of Architectural Conservation and the APT Bulletin, to which he is also a frequent contributor. David has helped organize numerous conferences on a wide-range of topics. A Peer Review architect for the GSA, he plays a leadership role in a variety of global organizations, including APT (co-founder and past Co-Chair of the Technical Committee on Modern Heritage), the Society of Architectural Historians and DOCOMOMO.


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Kyle Normandin

Associate Principal
Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.

Kyle Normandin is an Associate Principal at Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, in Los Angeles. He serves as a chair of the APTi’s Technical Committee on Modern Heritage (TC-MH) and is an Ex-officio board member of Association for Preservation Technology International. Kyle has contributed numerous technical papers on architectural conservation of cultural heritage and serves on the Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of Architectural Conservation. Kyle holds a B.A. in Architecture from UC Berkeley and an M.S. in Historic Preservation from Columbia University. Kyle currently serves as the Secretary General of the ICOMOS ISC20C and is on the Board of Trustees for the California Preservation Foundation.


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Ken Itle

Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.

Kenneth Itle is an Associate Principal with Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., in Northbrook, Illinois. He specializes in architectural preservation, with special emphasis in masonry, roofing, plaster, windows, and plaza systems. He is a licensed architect with more than 15 years of experience working on condition surveys, preparation of repair drawings and specifications, and construction observation for historically significant buildings nationwide.


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The Conservation Management Plan as a Catalyst for Positive Change – Wellesley’s Jewett Arts Center

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