Los Angeles provides a unique laboratory in which to learn and challenge conservation issues. As a relatively young and diverse global city, it is the ideal place to explore a relatively young and diverse global discipline. Our wealth of recent past resources raise a new set of research challenges and the city’s richly diverse communities woven throughout the tapestry of the built environment push us to acknowledge the many layers of history and meaning revealed in the city. It is also a place forever seeking the new, providing opportunities to protect the best of the past while embracing the landmarks of the future.
Embedded in the School of Architecture at USC, heritage conservation students are instantly part of a multidisciplinary environment, linking landscape architecture, building science, architecture, and conservation. As such, the program curriculum is designed to expose students to a broad range of topics including materials conservation, policy and planning, conservation theory, global conservation efforts, architectural and landscape history, best-practices in resource documentation and evaluation, sustainability, and historic site management. Students are also encouraged to take advantage of the many academic resources in the broader university, including taking courses in real estate, regional history, urban planning, and spatial sciences. Program faculty are leaders in the field, a blend of academics and practitioners that grapple with conservation in real time, seeking creative solutions that balance the integrity of the past with a sustainable future. Through this broad exposure, students begin to formulate their professional path within the discipline.
The creation of a graduate thesis enables students to stretch themselves in the direction of their choice. Topics are chosen based on the interests of the student and vary from architectural and landscape history to policy analysis, from materials-based inquiry to industrial archaeology, and beyond. Below is a list of theses completed by our program graduates organized by year completed. The typical program length is two years, although students may apply for advanced standing.
For an idea of what our students and alumni are talking about right now, visit the USC Heritage Conservation Network Facebook page!
The USC Heritage Conservation program is a proud member of the National Council for Preservation Education.
- Ellen Knowles -- A Unifying Vision: Improvement, Imagination and Bernhard Hoffmann of Stockbridge (New England) and Santa Barbara (New Spain)
- Sian Winship -- Quantity and Quality: Architects Working for Developers in Southern California, 1960-1973
- Arash Kalantari -- Persian Paradise Gardens: History, Elements, Influences
- Huiqian Chen -- Preservation and Rehabilitation of Lilong in Shanghai: from Guidelines to Practice
- Cheng Yang -- Mining the Intangible Past of Virginia City’s Chinese Pioneers: Using Historical Geographic Information Systems to Document, Visualize and Interpret the Spatial History of Chinese in the Mining Camp of Virginia City, Montana (ca 1863 - mid-20th century)
- Elysha Dory -- The Los Angeles African American Heritage Area: A Proposal for Development
- Debi Howell-Ardila -- 'Writing Our Own Program’: The USC Experiment In Modern Architectural Pedagogy, 1930 to 1960
- Sharon Smith -- Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue's Military Commissions: Identity, Process, Importance and Stewardship of these Cultural Resources
- James Strawn -- Who’s Park: An Architectural History of Westlake-MacArthur Park
- Brian Zachary -- The Enduring Evolution of Kuruvungna: A Place in the Sun
- Marla Cowan -- California’s Golden Chain Highway 49 of the Mother Lode: A Case Study of Historical Significance and Qualification as a National Heritage Area Corridor
- Alison Jefferson -- Lake Elsinore: A Southern California African American Resort Area During the Jim Crow Era, 1920s-1960s, and the Challenges of Historic Preservation Commemoration
- Holly Kane -- Arriving in Los Angeles: Railroad Depots as Gateways to the California Dream
- Christine Lazzaretto -- The Bungalow and the Automobile: Arthur and Alfred Heineman and the Invention of the Milestone Motel
- Jill Vesci -- Preserving Modernist Architecture
- Vanessa Wexler -- Planning For Preservation: Exploring The Designation Of Historic Districts In Monrovia, CA