Track 4: This New World: Preservation technology and emerging issues within our historic buildings and built landscapes

General Abstract

2 - Preservation versus Conservation: Expanding the Definition

Wednesday, September 26
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: HYATT-Regency

Historic preservation can be restrained by its linguistic terminology, which may limit its larger role in society. In our book, Historic Preservation: An Introduction to Its History, Principles, and Practice, we asked the question: What is the underlying value and staying power of the terminology that defines our role as preservationists? This paper opens a dialogue to further the discussion of who we are and what we do.
The terminology—historic preservation—itself may be an impediment. The problem is not so much the actual words as it is the perception that historic preservation has in the past been identified with elite individuals or groups who have the means and time to be involved with such activities. Other countries use the more inclusive term heritage conservation when referring to historic preservation activities. Heritage conservation is the commonly accepted term in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan, for example. In Great Britain, heritage conservation incorporates a larger sphere that includes both historic structures and the natural environment. The five hundred sites owned by the English National Trust include castles, houses, and monuments but also gardens, nature preserves, and parks, as well as over 775 miles of coastline.
Although some may prefer terms such as heritage conservation, there is a reason historic preservation is prevalent in the United States. As writer and professor James Marston Fitch asserted in his book, Historic Preservation: Curatorial Management of the Built World, “The term will continue to serve as the umbrella name for the field for the simple reason that it has become institutionalized, e.g., the National Trust for Historic Preservation; the Association for Preservation Technology; the societies for the Preservation of New England, Virginia, and Long Island Antiquities; national legislation entitled Historic Preservation Act of 1966; and courses in some 90 universities classed as preservation-oriented.” Concurrent to its fifty-year celebration, APT has created a new Code of Ethics. In doing so, members grappled with the terms preservation and conservation. So many institutions and legal documents use the term preservation, including APT, that it is hard to imagine abandoning it altogether.
Other terms equivalent to historic preservation might include conservation zone, heritage district, designation zone, or simply historic area or region. Some American academic institutions have adjusted their curricula to include courses and concentrations in heritage conservation. But will the term historic preservation actually be replaced? Perhaps, if historic preservation moves beyond its linguistic and cultural constraints and is redefined by the larger role it can play in society. Although some see the inherent value, even necessity, of this revision, such a change would be feasible only over time.

Learning Objectives:

Ilene R. Tyler, FAIA, FAPT, LEED AP

Ilene R Tyler, LLC

After serving as a VISTA volunteer at Baltimore’s Neighborhood Design Center, and completing a study for the Main Street Program in southwestern Pennsylvania, Ms. Tyler joined Quinn Evans Architects in Ann Arbor. She managed complex restoration projects for The First Church of Christ, Scientist Mother Church in Boston, the Parthenon in Nashville, and the Old Courthouse as part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis. Her co-authored book, Historic Preservation: An Introduction to Its History, Principles, and Practice, is a best seller in the field of preservation and is widely used by preservation programs all across the country.


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Lonnie Hovey

Lonnie Hovey, AIA, FAPT is an award-winning architect with over 30 years of experience on preservation, restoration, and rehabilitation projects across the country for many federal, state, municipal, and city clients. Federal clients include the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Architect of the Capitol, Army Corps of Engineers, Department of the Navy, Executive Office of the President, and General Services Administration. Projects include banks, churches, courthouses, cultural landscapes, libraries, master plans, monuments, museums, private and federal office buildings, pump houses, and university buildings. He served as the federal preservation officer and Director of Preservation for the Executive Office of the President overseeing projects in the 22 buildings used by the Executive Branch, the biggest project being the modernization of the EEOB.

Lonnie is an Associate and Sr. Preservation Architect with Whitman, Requardt & Associates, LLP (WRA). Founded in 1915, WRA is headquarted in Baltimore, Maryland, with 19 regional offices. Lonnie works out of WRA's Philadelphia office.

Lonnie is an active APT member having joined in 1988. Service includes national and regional involvement with symposia, training programs, and annual conferences. Service also includes positions on the APT Board of Directors, and the Chapters, Outreach, Student Scholarship, and Training & Education Committees. Inducted into APT's College of Fellows (COF) in 2007, he is currently involved with the APT and COF Archives, the APT Legacy Program, and writes the 'From the Archives' column for Communiqué.


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2 - Preservation versus Conservation: Expanding the Definition

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