All Academic Programs
Carpenter Center and Fogg Museum


Critical Conservation applies issues of culture, history and identity to design and development transcending such outdated dialectics as past-future, traditional-modern, and us-them. By engaging 21st-century questions of environmental, social, and economic sustainability, Critical Conservation serves an ever-more pluralist and global society. It provides designers, real estate professionals, planners, and others with a foundation to understand the cultural systems that frame conflicts inherent in making progressive places. Unlike preservation programs that presume the permanence of architecture and use top-down regulation to reinforce existing power structures, Critical Conservation extends beyond issues of age, history and aesthetics to offer a framework of theory and research tools encompassing social, political and cultural meaning. This enables students to make nuanced decisions about the impact of conservation in complex urban/natural places.

Today when everything has a knowable history and meaning can be ascribed to anything, conflicts over place-making reveal the uses and abuses of history. Similarly interpretations of "nature" legitimate particular cultural values to control places just as gentrification and wars marginalize groups. This program offers students an understanding of embedded and temporal cultural systems, the tensions between progress and tradition, the issues of permanence and obsolescence and underlying forces often masked by the union of ideologies, preservation and politics. Candidates propose research topics that apply Critical Conservation issues to topics in urbanism and landscape, art and design, real estate, energy, architecture and related design fields.  

Area Coordinators
Michael Hays, Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory
Susan Snyder, Lecturer in Architecture
George Thomas, Lecturer in Architecture

Anita Berrizbeitia, Professor Dept of Landscape Architecture
Jana Cephas, Instructor in Urban Planning and Design
Jerold Kayden, Frank Backus Williams Professor of Urban Planning and Design 
Mark Laird, Senior Lecturer, Dept of Landscape Architecture
Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Design and Planning and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design
Toshiko Mori, Robert P. Hubbard Professor in the Practice of Architecture 
Mark Mulligan, Adjunct Associate Professor of Architecture
Erika Naginski, Associate Professor of Architectural History 
Antoine Picon, G. Ware Travelstead Professor of the History of Architecture and Technology 
Jorge Silvetti, Nelson Robinson Jr. Professor of Architecture
Susan Snyder, Lecturer in Architecture
George Thomas, Lecturer in Architecture
Charles Waldheim, John E. Irving Professor of Landscape Architecture and Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture


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