Protecting historic places at various life stages

Since 1992, Holly Boyer-Manders has been an architect in New Jersey. She’s worked on dozens of historically designated projects, including two national historic landmarks, and she’s worked on several award-winning preservation projects. 

George Nakashima’s Arts Building, the facade of the house with a portico and a small pond surrounded by stones.
George Nakashima’s Arts Building (Photo: PennDesign)

Even with all of her experience in the field, Boyer-Manders still felt something was missing: A master’s degree focused on historic preservation, providing her a foundation of expertise she knows she’d thrive on. But, she wasn’t sure how to make it work.

“To take two years off from work for school, it kind of made it something that I didn’t even think about,” she says. “But when I heard about this one-year program, I thought, ‘Well, that’s actually within reach.’”

Now, one year later, Boyer-Manders is gearing up for a summer capstone project.

The new degree—officially a Master of Science in Design with a concentration in Historic Preservation(MSD-HP)—kicked off at the Weitzman School in the fall of 2018. Developed to meet the needs of practicing design professionals seeking post-professional training, specialization, or a career change, the one-year MSD-HP complements the two-year Master of Science in Historic Preservation, which serves students entering preservation from an allied field, such as history, art history, and archaeology, and those with undergraduate training in design or planning but little professional experience.

A three-week preservation design studio this summer, taught by Professor of Practice Pamela Hawkes, will immerse Boyer-Manders and her classmates in a visitor center project involving the George Nakashima House, Studio, and Workshop in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

“It’s a great way for all the students to work together and to incorporate everything they’ve learned,” says Hawkes. “Visitor centers are a wonderful paradigm for design in historic settings because they should not detract from what is already significant about the site, but still should have their own interest and integrity. This project will give the students a chance to express their ideas, finding the right balance for this place, and providing guidelines for how the site will evolve in the future.”

Read more at PennDesign News.