↑ top

Master of Science in Architecture concentration in Conservation

Modern and pre-modern landscapes, environments, and cultural sites are at risk of being destroyed or altered to such a degree so as to lose their original relevance. Conservation combines a deep affection for and knowledge of heritage with an understanding of how the past might enhance the vitality of contemporary neighborhoods and cities.

Important Dates & Information:

Application Deadline: January 15 
Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Application Deadline: January 1 - April 30
Intent to Enroll Deadline: April 15
Visit the Master of Science in Architecture admissions page to apply

Conservation Overview

Modern and pre-modern landscapes, environments, and cultural sites are at risk of being destroyed or altered to such a degree so as to lose their original relevance. Conservation combines a deep affection for, and knowledge of heritage with, an understanding of how the past might enhance the vitality of contemporary neighborhoods and cities. The Master of Science in Architecture concentration in Conservation (MS_C) offers participants an innovative approach to connecting physical, social, and ecological contexts as a means of probing architecture’s active role in the construction of culture.

This concentration expands conventional notions of historic preservation to encompass the multiple scales that shape the cultural and environmental heritage of a community and its region. A holistic approach towards conservation has proved to be a highly effective element in community organizing and neighborhood identity, as well as a highly effective economic development strategy. Participants will focus on socio-cultural artifacts of memory and the role of conservation in the physical embodiment of historiography of architecture and landscape. The program is designed for participants who have an affinity for the architectures and landscapes of the past and who want to take an active role in defining a better present and future. 

The degree coursework combines activism and entrepreneurship and allows participants to analyze historic districts, sites, landscapes, and territories as well as propose alternatives for the future. The program builds upon faculty expertise in areas of cultural history and memory, material science, environmental sustainability, social justice, and community development. It will combine technical training in conservation methods from outstanding practitioners, perspectives on urban history, urban design, community organizing, economic development, and public policy.

Taubman College is home to advanced technology, including state-of-the-art documentation equipment, the Geographic Information Systems resources available at the SANDLab, and rapid prototyping equipment available in the Digital Fabrication Lab. As a nexus for interdisciplinary research and learning the University of Michigan fosters an expanded concentration discourse and the potential for cross campus collaborations.

Conservation Required Courses

The Master of Science in Architecture degree requires the completion of 36 credit hours carried out in two and a half semesters (fall, winter, spring half term)

ARCH 716 – Theories in Conservation - This course will examine major issues in conservation theory and practice, and will concentrate on those topics of contestation and inquiry that define the field for design professionals. Topics range from techniques of documentation and physical renovation to conservation as economic development to issues of neighborhood organization and social equity.

ARCH 717 – Documentation in Conservation - This course focuses on techniques for the documentation and analyses of existing structures and/or sites. Students will receive training in state-of-the-art digital technology such as photogrammetry and rectified photography recording methods. In addition, the course will help students develop valuable skills through research of primary and secondary archival resources. The course will examine the history of documentation in the context of drawing techniques and standardized representational formats (such as HABS).

ARCH 553 – American Architecture - The course explores the transformations in American architectural theory and practice from the early nineteenth century to the present, with emphasis on elucidating the leading struggles for definition, meaning, and form in the architecture of this period. Also considered is the link between theory and practice; the relationship between conceptual and aesthetic as well as technical factors; and the cultural, economic, social, and political context out of which they evolved.

ARCH 714 – Masters if Science in Architecture Proseminar - The course engages interdisciplinary work, projects and scholarship related to the MS areas of concentration (digital technologies, material systems, conservation, and design health) - through lectures, class discussion, and guest lectures including experts in the MS concentration areas.

ARCH 700 – MS Practicum in Conservation - The course applies knowledge attained from the prerequisite courses towards project-based work in a ‘design laboratory’ setting. Students work individually and collaboratively on topics framed by the faculty’s research focus.

739-101 – MS Capstone in Conservation - The capstone course is an intensive team-based research project under the direction of the capstone faculty. The project is intended to be related to the research of the faculty as a means to investigate innovative aspects for the application of conservation. This work will be executed collaboratively in a format defined by the scope and demands of the project. In addition to dedicated courses within the concentration, students are able to take 4 elective courses to advance their knowledge of related topics. A minimum of two of these electives must be university electives that allow for a connection to the university at large and expands respect for research methodologies beyond the discipline.