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New Buildings in Old Cities: Reconsidering Context in Historic Settings

Thursday, August 10
Reception 5:30 p.m. Lecture 6:30 p.m.
ICAA and Driehaus Museum Members: $16.52; Non-Members: $26.87 Buy tickets

Presented by the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art – Chicago-Midwest Chapter
“New Buildings in Old Cities: Reconsidering Context in Historic Settings.”
There is an ongoing debate within the preservation and design communities about the most appropriate way to make additions to historic structures or new infill construction in historic districts. Official regulations like the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation ask that new work be both “differentiated” and “compatible,” but responses to these criteria have varied from close imitation of pre-existing buildings to designs featuring forms and materials in marked contrast to the older ones. What are the most appropriate approaches that maintain the historic character of a place without unduly limiting the judgment of contemporary designers? This lecture will suggest some answers based on current international guidance for historic preservation and urban conservation.

About the Speaker

Steven W. Semes is Professor of Architecture and Director of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture. He was Academic Director of the Notre Dame Rome Studies Program 2008-2011 and currently splits his teaching duties between Rome and the main campus. Educated at the University of Virginia and Columbia University, he is the author of The Future of the Past: A Conservation Ethic for Architecture, Urbanism, and Historic Preservation (2009) and The Architecture of the Classical Interior (2004). His many articles have appeared in The New Criterion, National Trust Forum Journal, Change Over Time, The Classicist, Traditional Building and Period Homes. He has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal and featured in the New York Times. He is a member of the Editorial Advisory Boards of the Italian architectural history journal, Palladio, and the University of Pennsylvania historic preservation journal, Change Over Time. From 2013 to 2015 he was Editor of The Classicist Numbers 11 and 12 for the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, and was a member of the ICAA faculty from 1997 to 2005. His current research focuses on developing appropriate standards for new construction in historic areas and the traditional architects of the inter-war period in Rome. Prior to joining the Notre Dame faculty in 2005, he practiced architecture for over thirty years in New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC

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