HRIL director receives
APT's McKee Award

A&M graduates prominent at
organization's 2003 conference

David Woodcock, HRIL director, professor of Architecture at Texas A&M University and Fellow in the American Institute of Architects, received the Harley J. McKee Award, the most prestigious honor awarded by the Association for Preservation Technology, at the organization’s annual conference held September 2003 in Portland, Maine.

Woodcock, an APT board member for the past 12 years and the organization’s immediate past president, was honored for his “leadership as an educator and mentor to several generations of historic preservationists, and for his years of dedicated service to APT."

“I am humbled by the fact that I am joining an international group of leaders of the preservation field,” Woodcock said. Such “leaders” include “Charles Peterson, Lee Nelson and educators like James Marston Fitch, the initiator of the first academic program for conservation in 1968.”

The APT is a national organization dedicated to understanding the history of building technology and to promoting the best technology and practices for conserving cultural and historic structures and their settings.

“The organization is a growing network for the exchange of ideas,” Woodcock said. “Its local and regional chapters offer opportunities for continuing education that extend well beyond the annual conference.”

The award, which has been presented to leaders in the field since 1985, is named for Harley James McKee (1905-1976), a preservationist, architect, author, professor and Fellow in the American Institute of Architects.

Woodcock’s work in the preservation field has earned the admiration of his College of Architecture colleagues as well.

“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 Bob Warden, associate professor in the department of architecture. “He brings a tremendous amount of notoriety to the college.”

Woodcock has been exciting A&M students about architectural conservation since joining the faculty as associate professor in 1979. He also taught at Washington University in St. Louis for seven years.

“Professor Woodcock contributed so much both to the college and the field of preservation that it is almost impossible to cover everything,” said Anat Geva, associate professor in the Department of Architecture. “He is such a prominent figure in our profession and it is my honor to be able to work with him.”

Woodcock also received the Texas A&M Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching in 1995.

“The concepts and philosophies discussed in David’s classes turn into real decisions by real people doing real work in real places,” Warden added. “Just ask the network of former students who work around the country.”


That “Aggie” network was heavily represented at the Portland APT conference where Woodcock received the McKee Award. Fifteen of the conference's 400 attendees were A&M graduates, faculty or current students, and many of them presented papers or received scholarships or APT awards.

At the conference, themed "21st Century Preservation—Conservation and Craftsmanship," A&M students Eloise Eilert, a nautical archeology major, and Carrie Sowden, an anthropology major, received APT scholarships. Nancy Crowley and Alene Reich, both career change students in A&M's Master or Architecture program, were awarded registration grants by the A&M's Historic Resources Imaging Laboratory.

Richard Burt, an A&M professor of construction science, presented a paper on post World War I experimental earthen cottages in the United Kingdom. His paper was one of only 45 accepted for presentation, out of over 160 papers submitted for peer review.

Bill Barlow, who last year presided over the APT College of Fellows, hosted a reception for the college's seven new Fellows, among them, John A. Burns, principal architect and acting chief of the HABS, HAER, and HALS programs in Washington, D.C. and a regular visitor to the Texas A&M campus. Burns has been editor-in-chief of “Recording Historic Structures” and has managed the Charles E. Peterson Prize since its inception in 1983.

Gordon Bingaman's paper on the interpretation of George Washington's boyhood home demonstrated that A&M graduates are playing a leadership role in both the technology and philosophy of preservation.

Former student Patrick Sparks' paper on the evaluation of built-up timber trusses was also accepted for the conference. As a member of the APT board, Sparks helped establish an ATP technical studies committee.

Other former students participating in the conference were Peter Chalfant, Ashley Freeman Howell, Martin Howell and Jack Pyburn.

Nancy McCoy, the immediate past chair of the HRIL Advisory Council, was elected to a two-year term on the APT Board of Directors, where she will chair the conferences committee. Another HRIL Advisory Board member, David Fischetti, attended the conference and was included in the annual A&M group photo.

For the second time in its 35-year history, the next Annual APT Conference will be held in Texas. The organization's first Texas conference was held in Austin in 1986. The 2004 conference, "Raising the Grade for Preservation," will be held Nov. 3-7, 2004 at the Hotel Galvez in Galveston. David Woodcock, Peter Chalfant, Nancy McCoy and Patrick Sparks are serving on the Conference Committee.

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