CHC symposium focused on historic campus structures

Robert Warden

Sylvia Kendra

David Woodcock

Lilia Gonzales

Larry Irsik

Paul Sanders

Building conservation experts discussed the unique challenges facing historic structures on university campuses in Texas during “Campus Heritage,” the 2016 Texas A&M Center For Heritage Conservation Symposium, Feb. 26-27.

“Although many people envision the Alamo or the state capitol when they think about Texas history,” said Robert Warden, director of the CHC, “numerous historic structures across the state are located on university campuses." 

“These structures are at risk of alteration or demolition during campus facility expansion projects,” Warden continued. “Decisions regarding their fate, while accommodating an obvious need to build for the future, involve many questions about the importance of a campus' historic narrative and identity.”

The symposium’s keynote address was presented by Sylvia Kendra, the Smithsonian Institution’s associate director of facilities information and technology administration, in the Martell Lecture Hall, Room 100 in Texas A&M’s Chemistry Building

Kendra, an expert in geographic information systems and building information modeling software, discussed using BIM and other digital technologies in historic building preservation. 

She was part of a group that initiated GIS use at the Smithsonian.

“Our early efforts included reconciling and standardizing the Smithsonian's floor plans, integrating new GIS data with existing facilities information and publishing the new information online,” she said.  Recently, her work has broadened to include work with facility digital archiving projects.

Kendra’s keynote was followed by a 7:30 p.m. reception at a venue to be announced.

Saturday speakers

The symposium continued Feb. 27 in Preston Geren Auditorium, Building B of the Langford Architecture Center, with a lecture by David Woodcock, director emeritus of the CHC, who discussed preserving historic buildings at Texas A&M.

Woodcock retired from the Texas A&M faculty in 2011 after a distinguished career as a historic preservation educator and professional.

“It is nearly impossible to go to a preservation meeting and not run into someone who hasn’t either been taught by him directly or been influenced by him,” said Warden.

A cursory glance at Woodcock’s network of former students now working on historic preservation projects throughout the country demonstrates, Warden said, how “the concepts and philosophies discussed in David’s classes turn into real decisions by real people doing real work in real places.”

Woodcock established and directed the Historic Resources Imaging Lab at the Texas A&M College of Architecture in 1991, which later became the CHC.

He also created and developed the College of Architecture’s graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation, a program of courses integrated within a wide range of professional disciplines. The certificate has gained wide acclaim and serves as a model for other programs.

The symposium continuee with a lecture by Lilia Gonzales ‘94, university architect at Texas A&M, who also discussed preserving the university’s historic buildings.

Gonzales leads university planning, architecture, landscape architecture, and historic preservation activities, ensures that campus development projects meet university standards, and coordinates the development of the campus’ master plan.

She earned a Master of Architecture degree in 1997 and a Bachelor of Environmental Design degree in 1994 at Texas A&M.

After a brief break, Larry Irsik, principal and director at the Austin office of ARCHITEXAS, a preservation-based architecture firm, discussed preserving historic buildings at the University of Texas and Trinity University.

Irsik has served as lead architect or manager for some of the firm's most significant projects, including restorations of the Old Bedford School and historic courthouses in Hill County and Ellis County.

He specializes in the rehabilitation of historic properties requiring certification by the U.S. Department of the Interior and other federal entities, including the National Register of Historic Places, Historic American Buildings Survey, and the Historic American Engineering Record.

Irsik is ARCHITEXAS' primary expert in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a LEED 2.0 accredited professional.

After a  Texas chapter of the Association for Preservation Technology International meeting, Paul Sanders ‘68, president and CEO at Oldham Little Church Foundation, discussed preserving historic buildings at Rice University.

The foundation, under Sanders’ guidance since 2011, provides grants to small evangelical churches in the United States for renovations, repairs and new construction projects.

Before leading the foundation, Sanders was a vice president at Broaddus & Associates, a leading provider of facilities program management, consulting and planning services in the United States. 

Sanders earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1969 and a Master of Architecture degree in 1970, both at Texas A&M.

This year’s event featured a poster session for students from any university to illustrate heritage-related research or projects. Posters were displayed in the Langford B exhibit hall during Saturday’s symposium activities.

posted February 18, 2016