Teaching > RWU
HP301 Architectural Conservation > Assignments
Architectural Conservation Assessment
An architectural conservation assessment is the first step a
property owner may take to better understand the architectural
style(s), significance, and evolution of their historical house
— and how these, together with the owner's goals, can help
develop long-term treatments for preservation. Below, specific
reference is made to resources of the Heritage
Preservation Services, National Park Service. An assessment
typically includes a one-day site visit to inspect the house and
its context and speak with property owners. This is followed by
a couple days of site work, during which a multi-page, illustrated
report is developed, along with a list of preservation resources,
to provide an initial, inexpensive assessment that includes a
description of how to proceed.
Note: For this class, it is likely you will have to visit the
site at least three times to:
- undertake preliminary assessment,
- after reviewing field notes, undertaking off-site research,
and developing an outline of your report, to field check work,
make additional investigation, field notes, possibly samples,
photographs absed on questions deveoped in advance of the site
- develop a final draft of your assessment and return to the
site to verify assessment finding with existing conditions,
limitations of the site, review with the owner.
An assessment of this nature does not include detailed physical
anaylsis, historical research,
cost estimates, structural evaluation, code assessment or investigation
of potenital hazardous materials. While general preservation
recommendations may be referenced, specific conservation problems
may not be evaluated, nor may detailed treatment recommendations
be prepared. In-depth historical research, employing primary and
secondary resources, is also beyond the scope of this assessment.
Such work is typically addressed when a Historic
Structure Report or a Preservation
Plan is undertaken.
Select a specific historic structure (qualify its historic nature
when you assess its significance)
and undertake written and photographic documentation (employing
4"x6" color prints, mounted on Bristol board, or equal). Or consider
a Powerpoint presentation. Provide the following:
- Provide executive summary (one paragraph)
- Address the report to the Owner (or Agent, by title, of the
- Define the scope of services for the project.
of Professional Services.
- Note scope of work of project (reference
this Architectural Conservation Assessment).
- Preservation standards
Note dates that site visits
were conducted, with whom (name, tiles, affitiation), and
weather conditions ( or recent weather that may have affected
the structure, site).
- Describe locations that were inspected durign
site visits and areas that were excluded.
List (as a bibliography) pertinent records,
provided by the Owner or organization, that are referenbced
on site and in the report. Include copies as an appendix,
Architectural Style and Written Description
Historical name (source of name)
Local/State survey (Rhode Island)
Historic District Commission (contact information
of commission chair) [Rhode Island HDC zoning
Plaqued (repository of title/deed search),
Describe the architectural 'style(s)' of the structure.
Note the distinction between "ideal" stylistic elements (the
"high style") and "variations" (the "vernacular"). Make specific
reference to literature that describes the style(s) and, where
appropriate, site-specific examples of the style. American
A description of the architectural
style (or styles, for even a building's original design
may include several styles, making it a "hybrid" or
"eclectic") of the structure, including the distinction
"ideal" stylistic elements (high style;
monumental; polite) and:
"variations" (vernacular) with reference
to literature that describes the style(s) and;
where appropriate, other examples.
- Ideal characteristics, references.
- Primary resources
- Secondary (contemporary) publications
- high style, regional examples
- Site-specific stylistic characteristics
- Primary references
- Other regional, local example
Define and assess its significance
specific about the architectural, historical, or broader cultural
significance (structures must
be in or "eligible for inclusion
in" the National
Register of Historic Places
broader cultural significance,
which is the ability of a property to convey
Identify character-defining features. See
Preservation Brief 17: Architectural
Identifying the Visual Aspects of Historic Buildings as an Aid
to Preserving Their Character and Architectural
- Records (records
- Spaces (Notation)
- System(s) (Notation)
Provide a synthesis of the architectural
evolution of the structure, noting important features
and periods in the evolution.
'Sketch' the plan for reference and
other sketches of features and construction details;
- Provide prioritized recommendations as to what preservation
treatments should be considered, Reference The
Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic
- Note: In this assignment you are not expected to analyze
specific conservation problems or develop detailed treatment
- Free-hand field sketches, labeled, of:
- floor plans (number rooms employing conventional architectural
- elevations (optional),
- details (optional)
- Site photographs of exterior and interior, labeled.
- Recording of any architectural
Include these materials in the final report:
Carefully select ten (10) digital color
images for Powerpoint, label/identify all photographs,
present extra print and negatives in archival sleeves, and
hand in with permission release. Scans should be 640x480 pixels,
72 dpi resolution.
Include graphic material: prints, color
laser copies, or photocopies of historical photographs and
other images, as required for report and presentation;
Provide photographic images on CD.
Summarize your findings in a ten-page paper
(no longer) with citations, site data, and credits. Define
all preservation terms. Incldue bibliographic citations and
links to pertinent resources.
In an appendix, include all research
and field notes, sketches, files, and other material.
Do not re-write your notes but include original documents.
Bind material together for presentation. Please do not use
- Definitions (when possible, employing peer-reviewed
publications) of technical terms.
Resources and References for Methodology and Standards
All work proposed shall confiorm to the Natioanl Park Service
standards, particularlt the Secretary of the INterior's Standards.
Refere to these documents, below, and others, as needed.
Register of Historic Places
- Preservation Brief 17: Architectural
Identifying the Visual Aspects of Historic Buildings as an
Aid to Preserving Their Character.