Conservation technology, practices to be discussed

HRIL's Historic Preservation Symposium scheduled February 28 in Bryan, Texas


Innovative conservation technologies and practices will be showcased at the Fifth Annual Historic Preservation Symposium set for Feb. 28, 2004 in Bryan, Texas. The daylong event, sponsored by the Historic Resources Imaging Laboratory and the Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University, will be held from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Veranda, a small conference center near the Messina Hof Winery.

According to event organizers, the 2004 symposium promises to "challenge attendees to re-examine the nature of conservation and the significance of technology to practice."

"Conservation, the wise use of resources, is usually associated with images of the past, but the maintenance of the past for future use and enjoyment demands creativity and innovation," said David G. Woodcock, professor of architecture and HRIL director. "The challenge is to preserve the historic fabric while maintaining active use, and that requires a deep knowledge of the technology of materials and assemblies of the past, as well as the latest techniques and methods, and a clear philosophy for putting them into practice."

As with previous symposia, Woodcock said the 2004 event features presentations from extraordinary leaders in the historic preservation and conservation field. The symposium's morning sessions, focused on conservation engineering, will be followed by a catered lunch allowing time for symposium participants to interact. The afternoon sessions will examine current conservation practices in the design and construction industries. A panel discussion, chaired by Jim Singleton, a local architect and president of the Brazos Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, will culminate the day's events.

Speakers and topics at the 2004 Historic Preservation Symposium are as follows:

  • John Addison, a visiting European Union Scholar and conservation engineer with Peter Stephen and Partners in Edinburgh, Scotland, will talk about the value of learning from the art and craft of historic structures using case studies that include iron bridges, castles and the rescue of two ancient masonry arch bridges in the wilds of Scotland;

  • Patrick Sparks, a structural engineer with Sparks and Larosche in Pflugerville, Texas, will discuss innovation and judgment in the assessment and characterization of building materials, with the controversial theme "does strength matter?";

  • Peter Lee, senior structural engineer with Skidmore Owings & Merrill in San Francisco, will examine conservation engineering for earthquake protection;

  • Ronald Staley, vice president of the Christman Company in Lansing, Michigan, will talk about construction management approaches to conservation projects; and

  • Paul S.Byard, FAIA, director of Historic Preservation Program at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, an attorney and an architect with Platt Byard Dovell White Architects in New York City, will discuss the interface between technology and design in conservation.

During the lunch break, Woodcock will discuss the future of Texas A&M's 13-year-old Historic Resources Imaging Laboratory. Established at the Texas A&M College of Architecture in 1991, the HRIL trains students, professionals and others in the use and application of traditional and digital documentation processes relative to historic and cultural resources. The HRIL has also been active in the development of new techniques for archival documentation, analysis, visualization and interpretation, and in the application of imaging techniques to the study of historic resources. With the dramatic growth of academic and professional interest in the reuse and management of historic resources, the HRIL has become a campus-wide focus for a cross-disciplinary educational program.

Advance registration for the 2004 Historic Preservation Symposium, which includes a continental breakfast, lunch and refreshments, is $75. Registration forms and additional details are available online at the HRIL Web site, or by contacting Trish Pannell at (979) 458-0400 or

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