Symposium: Design + Heritage

By School of Design - University of Pennsylvania (other events)

Thu, Mar 16 2017 6:00 PM EST Sat, Mar 18 2017 5:00 PM EST

Concepts of heritage have evolved dramatically in the past 50 years, from the stately mansions of founding fathers to neighborhoods and landscapes, from sites of conscience to the intangible and ephemeral.  Throughout the world, leading designers have embraced the complex challenges of remaking historic places, creating sophisticated ensembles that range from seamless to provocative. 

Nonetheless, the basic principles of contemporary design in historic settings, as first codified in the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards in 1966, have remained unchanged.  The directives that additions and new construction in historic settings be “differentiated” yet “compatible” remains challenging, controversial–even mystifying—for designers, regulators, property owners and the general public. 

This symposium will engage designers, scholars, educators and stewards of heritage who are at the forefront of the field to explore innovative strategies for thoughtful, creative design in historic contexts.

Design + Heritage Symposium
The University of Pennsylvania School of Design
Co-sponsored by the PennDesign Graduate Program in Historic Preservation and the James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation.


Thursday, March 16th

Marlon Blackwell

6:00 p.m. Keynote Address 
Meyerson Hall, Lower Gallery

Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, is a practicing architect in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and serves as the E. Fay Jones Distinguished Professor in Architecture at the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas. He served as Department Head from 2009 – 2015 and was named among the “30 Most Admired Educators” by DesignIntelligence in 2015. Work produced in his professional office, Marlon Blackwell Architects, has received national and international recognition with significant publication in books, architectural journals and magazines and numerous design awards, including the 2016 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture and a #1 Design Firm ranking by the Architect 50. Blackwell was selected as a United States Artists Ford Fellow in 2014 and received the 2012 Architecture Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. A monograph of his early work, “An Architecture of the Ozarks: The Works of Marlon Blackwell”, was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2005. He was selected by The International Design Magazine, in 2006, as one of the ID Forty: Undersung Heroes and as an “Emerging Voice” in 1998 by the Architectural League of New York.

Friday, March 17th

8:30 a.m. Registration & Coffee

9:00 - 9:20  Opening Remarks

Frederick Steiner
Dean and Paley Professor, PennDesign

Fred Bland, FAIA, AICP
Managing Partner of Beyer Blinder Belle

9:20 - 10:30 Session 1: Communicating Context

How have our ideas about heritage and what is valued evolved over to past 50 years?
How do we assess and depict different types of heritage and educate residents, regulators, designers about it?


William Higgins, Higgins & Quasebarth, NYC/Fitch Foundation


Steven Semes, Director, Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, University of Notre Dame

Liliane Wong, Chair, Interior Architecture Department, RISD

10:30 - 10:45 Break

10:45-12:45 Session 2: Design + History



Winka Dubbeldam, Chair, PennDesign Department of Architecture


Ann Beha, Ann Beha Architects

Douglas Reed, Reed Hilderbrand  LLC

Garth Rockcastle, Meyer Scherer Rockcastle

Rob Rogers, Rogers Architects

12:45-2:00 Break for lunch.

2:00 - 3:30 Session 3: Regulating Change

How do regulations aid designers and the general public in framing exceptional design in sensitive settings?  Are the best regulations none at all? 

Moderator:  David Hollenberg, Adjunct Professor/University Architect, University of Pennsylvania


Meenakshi Srinivasan, Chair, NYC Landmarks Commission

Charles Sullivan, Executive Director, Cambridge Historical Commission

Daniel Bluestone, Director, Preservation Studies Program, Boston University  

3:30-3:45 Break

3:45-5:00 Session 4: Discussion + Closing remarks


Will Tippens, Vice President, Related Midwest

Nancy Rogo Trainer, Associate Vice President, Planning and Design, Drexel University

Winka Dubbeldam

Ann M. Beha, FAIA

Randall Mason, Ph.D., Chair and Associate Professor, the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, PennDesign

Saturday, March 18th- Optional Tours

Tour of George Nakashima House & Studio

Saturday, March 18, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Cost:  $35 plus a suggested donation of $35 payable directly to the Nakashima Foundation for Peace, which will collected before the tour.
Pre-Registration is required. Space is limited to 30 people.
Buses leave from and return to Meyerson Hall at the University of Pennsylvania

The George Nakashima Woodworker Complex, located in New Hope, Pennsylvania, was the home of the internationally renowned Japanese-American furniture maker and architect George Nakashima. This unique 12 acre complex comprising 21 structures designed by Nakashima was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2013. In 2015, PennPraxis was awarded a grant from the Getty Foundation as a part of its Keeping It Modern initiative to develop a conservation management plan for the property in partnership with the Nakashima Foundation for Peace, and George Nakashima Woodworker SA, Inc., stewards of the site.  

Participants should be prepared to walk on uneven surfaces and a wooded land. George Nakashima woodworker asks visitors to remove their shoes before entering some buildings at the property, as well as to refrain of taking interior photographs. Exterior photography is allowed.


School of Design - University of Pennsylvania