Repton Park, UK, Courtesy of English Heritage
In September 2010, the Department of Art History enrolled students in its first graduate program, the Master of Arts in Historical and Sustainable Architecture. This degree consists of a 9-month curriculum focusing on the creative reuse of older buildings and the regeneration of urban districts around historic cores. Professors Mosette Broderick and Jon Ritter have conceived and developed this program over the last four years, in conjunction with The Sir John Soane’s Museum, the NYU Graduate School of Arts and Science, and former department chair Pepe Karmel.
Based at NYU’s London campus, this is the first American academic program to unite the topics of sustainable architecture, adaptive reuse and historic preservation within a single curriculum. Combining the multiple perspectives of finance, environmentalism, education, tourism, and government policy, this program promotes older buildings as assets, not hindrances, to development. The curriculum expands upon the interdisciplinary analysis and broad, humanistic perspectives taught in the Department’s Urban Design and Architecture studies undergraduate program.
British architects, designers, builders and developers are leaders in the field of adaptive reuse and sustainable architecture. For this reason, the program is based in London, where our faculty consists of the city’s innovative architects and designers. Working under restrictive historic protection orders, these designers have successfully reused both important and modest older buildings, adapting them to new uses and integrating them into new projects built around, over, and even under historic structures. Further, the curriculum extends sustainable practices beyond architecture and building into the realm of urban design. Students examine successful strategies for reviving entire districts, cities, and regions around repurposed historic buildings in the London Docklands, Liverpool, and the mills at Stroud, Gloucestershire.
The M.A. in Historical and Sustainable Architecture welcomes a diverse student body, including recent American college graduates and young professionals, as well as international applicants. As demand grows for reuse rather than new construction, our students will help contribute new solutions to the challenges of contemporary urban planning and real estate development. Graduates will shape the urban environment as city planners, public administrators, non-profit advocates, public and private consultants, and real estate developers.
This semester the fourteen students in the inaugural class continue their coursework in adaptive reuse and practical solutions to preserving historic structures and districts. Most of the students are working two days a week at internships with the firms of our faculty or with advocacy groups like the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, the Landscape Trust, the Victorian Society, and the 20th century Society. We are currently working with the Prince’s Foundation to establish an ongoing collaboration with our program.
This spring the students are also focusing on their Capstone Theses, in consultation with individual advisers. They are developing promising work on topics such as the preservation and adaptation of children’s’ playgrounds; the social history of pubs; the history and designs of the cemetery movement; and the regeneration of industrial areas such as Shoreditch.
To read more about the program, including faculty profiles, course descriptions, and application information, please see our web page:
To contact us about the program, please send an email to: