News Updates

Preservation Alumni's blog is a convenient location to see what is happening with other Alumni as well as get news and updates on what is going on in the Preservation community. Please check back often!

  • 17 Jul 2017 11:44 AM | Anonymous member

    The historic designation for the Harbour Bay Condominium in Bay Harbor Islands, Florida was upheld on appeal by the Miami-Dade County Commission during its meeting on June 22.  Historic designation was granted by a unanimous decision of the Miami-Dade Historic Preservation Board in November of 2016  Harbour Bay Condominium is the first property in Bay Harbor Islands to receive local historic designation that was successfully upheld on appeal. 

    Constructed in 1947 as the Nelson Villa Apartments, the complex is one of the earliest developments on the East Island of Bay Harbor Islands.  Bay Harbor Islands was incorporated in 1947, and the developer sought many prominent local architects to design buildings in the new town.  As a result, the East Island contained one of the largest concentrations of Miami Modern (MiMo) style architecture in the country.  The MiMo style is the unique interpretation of mid-century modern architecture adapted to the climate of South Florida.  Historic resources are under pressure by luxury waterfront condo redevelopment, and MiMO buildings are being demolished at a blistering pace. The East Island was listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 11 Most Endangered Places in 2014.

    Some of the Harbour Bay Condominium owners watched the horizon clear around them, only to then stand in the shadow of high rise condos with none of the characteristic MiMo charm or historic significance. In 2016, they approached the county’s Historic Preservation Board seeking historic designation to help protect the building from the pressures of development.  To speed the process, the owners hired Heritage Architectural Associates, a preservation architecture firm with offices in Miami Beach, to prepare the designation report and present it before the Historic Preservation Board.  After the Board voted unanimously to designate the building, a group of opponents appealed the decision to the County Commission.

    Steven Avdakov (’94), an architect and principal of Heritage Architectural Associates, led the team of residents and historic preservation professionals that opposed revocation of the designation.  Also speaking in favor of the designation were architect Gordon Loader (’86) of Heritage, Teri d’Amico, of D’Amico Design Associates, a long-time resident of Bay Harbor Islands who coined the term “MiMo”, and Christine Rupp, Executive Director of Dade Heritage Trust.  Several of the Harbour Bay Condominium residents spoke passionately about their love of the building and their desire to have it historically designated.  Several preservation professionals submitted letters of support for the designation.  In addition, support was received from both local and national organizations, including the Dade Heritage Trust, the Miami Design Preservation League, the Florida Trust of Historic Preservation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 

    Mr. Avdakov stated “the preservation of Harbour Bay Condominium is critical, not only for its architectural and historic significance, but also to provide a precedent for future planning in Bay Harbor Islands. Development pressures are only increasing. We commend the Miami-Dade County Commission for upholding this designation.” 

  • 26 May 2017 2:16 PM | Anonymous member

    Dear Alumni of the Columbia Historic Preservation Program: 

    As many of you have now heard, the Director of Conservation position held by Professor George Wheeler has been eliminated. You can read the full statement from the Historic Preservation program here. Preservation Alumni board members have been hearing a growing number of concerns from fellow alumni about changes to the Historic Preservation program, including this most recent one. In an attempt to better understand this restructuring and to better address our members' concerns, Preservation Alumni has opened a conversation with Program Director Jorge Otero-Pailos. However, at the moment we know only what has been publicly announced so we urge alumni to direct their questions and concerns to the program and Jorge directly at In addition to being the best source of updated information, we feel that Jorge and others within the department should be made aware of specific issues and the number of alumni concerned by this development. 

    The board of Preservation Alumni realizes that this announcement comes as a shock and we, along with all of you, feel emotional about George's departure. George influenced each and every one of our lives in indelible ways, both personally and professionally. To many, he was the linchpin of the program and the reason we chose to attend Columbia. George both supported our intellectual endeavors and was the friendly face we all needed at one time or another as we were thrown into new lives in New York City. He would let us sleep off our all-nighters in the conservation lab and be ready with a cup of coffee in the morning. He made a point to actively know all the students, he shared his wisdom, and he even so generously shared his wine. Beyond making the lab feel like a home to many, he created a learning environment where scientists, planners, and budding preservationists alike were comfortable to ask questions, engage in dialogue, and understand even the most complex chemical analysis - he is truly a remarkable educator, mentor, and friend. We thank George from the bottom of our hearts for his many years of service to the program and invaluable contributions to so many of our career paths. 

    In speaking with George about all of the recent changes, he has asked that we share this short message: "I would hope that all alumni and concerned preservation professionals do all they can to help make the program as good as it can be moving forward." As such, Preservation Alumni's mission is to support and enrich the program and we will continue to work towards this mission in this time of change. Our main goal is to maintain a "place at the table" so that we can help the program in any way and communicate the sentiments of our membership. Be assured that Preservation Alumni is also devoted to ensuring that our alumni network is kept up-to-date on any news and ways that alumni can support our program. Thank you all for your continued commitment to the program and for fostering an active alumni network, without which none of our work would be possible. 

    - Board of Directors, Preservation Alumni

  • 06 Apr 2017 1:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    PA is collecting (gently) used Columbia graduation gowns for future graduates to use. Gowns should be clean and in good condition, and may be dropped off at Columbia at the following times/locations:

    1. HP Studio (301 Fayerweather Hall) after 1pm - ask for Mayssa

    2. Conservation Lab (655 Schermerhorn Ext.) between 6-8pm on Tuesday nights - ask for Jes 

    3. Or upcoming Preservation Lecture Series events on Thursday April 6 or April 13 at 114 Avery Hall - ask for Andrea

    Please contact for any questions about drop off, or for alternate options. 

  • 13 Jun 2016 2:08 PM | Anonymous member

    Call for Nominations

    World Monuments Fund invites nominations for the 2016 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize. The prize is awarded biennially to an individual or firm in recognition of innovative design solutions that have preserved a modern building or a group of buildings. 

    Nominations for projects that have enhanced a site’s architectural, functional, economic, and environmental sustainability while also benefiting the community are encouraged.

    Established in 2008 with founding sponsor Knoll, the prize seeks to raise public awareness of the contribution that modernism makes to contemporary life, the important place that it holds in the architectural record, and the influential role that architects and designers play in preserving our modern heritage.

    Read more about the World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize and submit a nomination here.

    Deadline: July 15, 2016

  • 09 Feb 2015 11:10 AM | Anonymous member

    Please join the Morningside Heights Historic District Committee for good food, good conversation and good cheer as it honors local historian, Jim Mackin, and the Historic Districts Council.

    When: Thursday, February 12th: 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
    Where: Janet & Martin Cohen: 603 West 111th Street, # 3E (between Broadway & Riverside Dr.)

    Suggested donation: $25

  • 02 Jul 2014 11:01 AM | Anonymous member

    What: Andrew Dolkart will lead a tour of select interiors of Teachers College and Union Theological Seminary

    Where: Broadway and West 120th Street, northeast corner

    When: July 8, 6:00 p.m.

    Suggested donation: $10

    Reservations required: Email

  • 25 Apr 2014 8:13 AM | Anonymous member
    Neighborhood historian Jim Mackin will talk about the evolution of Riverside Church, Union Theological & Jewish Theological Seminaries in Morningside Heights.

    When: Thursday, May 1, 7:00–8:30 pm
    Where: Riverside Church, Room 10T
    (91 Claremont Avenue at W. 120th Street)

    Suggested donation: $10.00
    Sponsored by the Morningside Heights Historic District Committee
  • 04 Mar 2014 12:33 PM | Anonymous member

    Dispatch from Detroit
    Emilie Evans
    March 3, 2014

    Detroit is an exciting place to live and work. There is energy on the ground here, fueled by passionate advocates, entrepreneurs, artists and others all working to move the city forward.

    I work as a preservation specialist for both the Michigan Historic Preservation Network and the National Trust for Historic Preservation focusing on issues at the intersection of preservation and rightsizing (the readjustment of a city’s infrastructure and physical footprint to accommodate its current and projected population).

    Through my work and partnerships on the ground, I aim to bring preservation to the table as a proactive participant alongside other decision-making entities involved in city planning, neighborhood revitalization, and also demolition campaigns around the city in a way it hasn’t been in the city previously. To achieve this, I work at the macro level alongside citywide organizations like the Detroit Land Bank and Detroit Future City as well as at the neighborhood level through strategic workshops and education of property owners, developers, and CDCs about the tools available to do good preservation work. 

    Preservationists are taught, and our professional experiences reaffirm, that preservation and rehabilitation are critical neighborhood revitalization tools. But in a rightsizing context – with Detroit, and cities like it, being inundated with millions of dollars in demolition money – it’s challenging to have that message heard across the board. I recently wrapped up a two-week intensive survey of 18,000 historic properties in Detroit using smartphones and volunteers as part of a project to provide a preservation perspective to help inform demolition decisions. Detroit is a different landscape than we learn about in school and necessitates new ways of thinking about what preservation means. The threat of demolition of thousands of historic properties – some viable and some not – is ongoing and imminent.

    While I’m the only person from my organization in Detroit, I have colleagues across disciplines that help support and contribute to the work I do; the opportunities for cross-pollination of ideas and projects here is invigorating and inspirational. The collaborative environment in Detroit is unparalleled.

    I love this city so much that I’ll be getting married here this May! In addition to the venue in Detroit, we’re supporting the community as much as possible through our Detroit- and Michigan-grown menu items, local musicians, and local beers and wines.

    In my spare time, I love to shop for produce at Eastern Market on Saturday mornings; ride my bike along the Dequindre Cut, a formerly defunct railroad passage; lounge on the beach at Belle Isle, weather permitting; and explore the architecture of the many neighborhoods of Detroit. This winter has provided many opportunities to become adept at snow-driving and windshield-scraping. And last spring I managed to squeeze in a couple of Tigers games too.

    At the end of the day, I hope to have helped change the conversation around preservation in Detroit, repositioning it as a proactive and positive force that contributes to neighborhood revitalization through the retention and celebration of Detroit’s historic built environment.   

  • 06 Nov 2013 3:44 PM | Anonymous member

    This edition features Amanda Crawley, a 2008 graduate from Columbia GSAPP with an emphasis in preservation planning. She has been the Executive Director of Historic Kansas City since 2011 and is the proud owner of a 1919 cottage in the South Plaza neighborhood of midtown Kansas City.

    What trends/challenges are non-profits dealing with?

    I'd say that most of the trends and challenges fall in to two main categories: building and retaining membership and breaking down misconceptions, both of who we are as a group and what preservation is at-large. To attract members, first and foremost we must to be able to demonstrate that we are successful in our mission to save historic buildings. For HKC, this means focusing on advocacy and policy while also ramping up our outreach and exposure strategies, particularly through online communication and social media. 

    We are also developing and promoting innovative member benefits that appeal to a wide audience. For example, we've recently started a new members-only tour series called Urban Explorers in which we take groups into buildings and places not open to the public. We've toured active construction sites, underground tunnels and warehouses, and luxury condominiums. As long as it’s interesting and exclusive, they will come!

    In terms of breaking down misconceptions, we've been working hard to align our efforts with current issues and interests, particularly sustainability, right-sizing, tourism and economic development. We've started a very successful and active Young Preservationists group, have entered into a formal affiliation with popular interest group called
    KCModern, and will continue to explore innovative partnerships. In order to be successful in this day and age we need to align ourselves with interests and movements outside of preservation.

    What are some recent successes and saves for Historic Kansas City?

    Historic Kansas City partnered with a local neighborhood association to oppose the proposed demolition of four apartment buildings in the
    Old Hyde Park Historic District. The owner, a real estate development company based in New Jersey, was claiming economic hardship. For months, Historic Kansas City engaged in 
    community and stakeholder meetings, and our involvement in the case culminated in a public presentation to the Historic Preservation Commission. The commission voted unanimously to deny the certificate of appropriateness based on economic hardship. The buildings are now in a three-year waiting period before a demolition permit could be issued. We will continue to engage with stakeholders and developers to ensure a positive long-term outcome for the buildings.

    Also, Historic Kansas City worked with stakeholders and interested parties to raise awareness for an endangered historic farmhouse called 3 Gables. The Gothic Revival house is possibly the oldest in Kansas City, the first two rooms being constructed in 1824. Historic Kansas City helped facilitate an application for listing on the
    Kansas City Register of Historic Places and included the house on our Most Endangered List. After an article published in a local newspaper, a sensitive buyer stepped in to save the building and they are currently working on rehabilitation.

    What is the most thought provoking or challenging project you are
    working on right now?

    A proposal has recently surfaced to build a Neutra case study house in a midtown Kansas City historic district. Most of the houses in the neighborhood were built in the early 1900s and represent a variety of styles, but are primarily large Craftsman and Classical Revival homes on expansive lots. One of the homes in the neighborhood is one of two Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Kansas City. The owner of that house has proposed splitting the lot and selling a portion to the individual who wants to build the Neutra house. To even further add to a set of complicated circumstances, the other neighboring house is the former home of artist Thomas Hart Benton; currently a house museum and State Historic Site. Needless to say this is an interesting set of circumstances requiring careful research and evaluation.

    What is the most important thing that you learned at GSAPP?

    What I learned in terms of preservation law, zoning and land use has been most beneficial in my current position. While knowing the basics of architectural history and evaluating historic significance is an essential framework, most of our advocacy entails public policy work and requires comprehensive strategies involving multiple disciplines.

  • 03 Jun 2013 11:34 PM | Anonymous member
    In celebration of our fourth year, a brand new look and
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