Graduate School Semester Three

Wow, semester three has come and gone for me. It happened so fast, yet the process felt so long, like usual.  My classes in review:

HP204: Historic Preservation: Development Economics

St. Albans House, 60 Lake Street, St. Albans VT

Development Economics was a class about preservation rehab project planning and implementation with funding, tax credits, design ideas — touching on all aspects. The semester long group project allowed us to create a reuse plan for the building and conduct a feasibility study (including marketing analysis, code review, conditions assessment), draw floor plans, develop construction estimates and figures, find funding sources, and put everything together in a professional project proposal and presentation. My group chose the St. Albans House, a former railroad hotel and an important, but neglected landmark in the City of St. Albans. It has most recently been used as a bar and apartments. This is also a “real” project for the Preservation Trust of Vermont, who has purchased a year option on the property. It was a hard project (particularly those estimates), but since we liked the St. Albans House so much, it was doable.

HP302: Community Preservation Project

The Base Box at Mad River Glen Ski Area. The single chair lift is on the right.

The community preservation class continues History on the Land in the sense of the landscape history. We discussed the process of steel making, industrial landscapes, trails, historic bridges, and other topics. The project purpose was to give us the opportunity to work with a community organization and to become advocates for historic preservation while completing our project. My group worked on a National Register nomination for Mad River Glen Ski Area. Ski areas have not been nominated in the past, so we were working with a large “new” for the NR and figuring out how to adapt it to the NPS forms. Trails, buildings, ski machinery, landscape features, maps, boundaries, photographs … it was a giant project, but a great learning experience.

HP307: Architectural Conservation II

Addison Town Hall on VT Route 22A, Addison, VT

I’ve talked about my architectural conservation class more than once on here, so you know that the semester long project was a series of conservation assessments: windows & doors, exterior, and interior. I loved this building, so it made the long reports (and the formatting) enjoyable. I was really glad to have the opportunity to study one building and spend time in it and to love it.

HP303: Internship

 

A bridge construction scene from Chimney Point, July 2010.

My internship was really over the summer, but the credit counts during fall semester because it requires a professional report and presentation. I spent my summer with the Vermont Agency of Transportation as the Historic Preservation Monitor for the Lake Champlain Bridge Replacement Project, as stipulated by the Programmatic Agreement. In addition I conducted regulatory review for VTrans (think Section 106 and Section 4f). I loved it and have continued the job since.

UVM HP Class of 2011 internship presentations.

 

And of course, we had our comprehensive exam, a 4 hour, 4 essay question test that you need to pass to graduate. It included topics from all three semesters. It was a bit intimidating, but we all survived.

So that’s a wrap. For me, this semester was the most hectic as I balanced work and a full course load. I’m relieved to have survived successfully. And now it’s back to the working world!

Weekend Homework

One day soon I will not have anymore weekend homework, but right now I have two more weekends full until this semester (i.e. my grad school career) ends. And this weekend I’m back to the Addison Town Hall, one of my favorite buildings. This time I’m working on an interior conditions assessment (which follow a windows conditions assessment and an exterior conditions assessment). Take a look at these photos:

 

The second floor and the stage.

On the stage.

View from the stage.

 

These are only on the second floor because it’s the more historic of the floors… and it has the amazing historic feeling to it. Can you imagine putting on a play for your class on that stage? Look at those little desks. I love the benches, too, likely used for town hall meetings and grange hall meetings. While I chose a cold, but sunny day to conduct my documentation, it was colder inside the building than outside! (This, of course, I expected since the building hasn’t been heated in decades.) Still, any chance to spend time in the Addison Town Hall is a treat.

That’s my homework this weekend. What about you?

The Kitten Who Liked Measured Drawings

Previous Izzy appearances seen here, here, here, and here.

As already discussed, Izzy is no longer small enough to share my desk with me. This is what happens when I need the entire space for drawing and she decides to stage a coup d’etat. Thanks, Izzy. (If you’ve ever wondered, we think Izzy is part Angora.)

First, Izzy surveys the desk area.

Next, she gets a bit closer to my work.

She plays cute so I don't mind that she's all over my papers.

She likes to touch the pencils.

 

Pencil, notes, architect's scale...check.

 

And stretchhhh during all of this work.

Wondering what is taking so long...

Oh so tired.

And naptime.

 

Kitten Edition

Actually, Izzy is no longer a kitten (as she was in her antics here, here, and here); her birthday was in September. She still loves me most of all when I have homework to do. Man, is she going to be bummed when I graduate in December.

She's very serious.

And she's absolutely adorable as she's lounging on my homework.

More Izzy-as-a-cat photos coming soon!

Grad School Weekend Work

Yes, semester three is stealing all of my time. This weekend is focused on a windows conservation assessment report of the Addison Town Hall in Addison, VT.

I adore this building.

As you can see, there are many issues to address.

I also adore measured drawings, even with my lack of a drafting table.

Preservation in Pink will return when this assignment is complete. Thanks for reading!

Grad School Semester Two

Well, semester two ended about three-and-one-half months ago, and I’ve yet to write about it. Was I that tired from the semester? Perhaps. Indulging in summer vacation and the freedom from homework and paper writing? Probably. Anyway, seeing as semester three begins in one week, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the previous one.

My classes included Preservation Law, Architectural Conservation I, History on the Land, and Historic Preservation Practice Methods. The semester proved to be challenging and extremely worthwhile. Whereas semester one was more of a review in terms of material and theory, semester two built on that work and delved into new lessons.

While I was familiar with preservation law, I had never studied Section 106 and Section 4(f) in-depth. The verdict? Thank goodness for preservation laws. We don’t necessarily think about these laws everyday, but these laws, however flawed, are the reason that we are able to do much of what we do in preservation. Preservation law was hard, but in an exhilarating manner.

Weekly lab studies and reports in Architectural Conservation addressed the problems of building materials and finishes (wood, concrete, paint, brick, plaster).  The biggest lesson: moisture is the cause of all problems in buildings. I’m kidding; sort of. (It’s actually moisture in the wrong places.)

A case study for architectural conservation.

History on the Land was my favorite class of all time, and one that I would recommend to anyone. Through readings and interesting class lectures, we discussed the built environment by way of parks, trails, town planning, buildings, streetcars, railroad corridors, canals, roads, neighborhoods, factories, bicycles, automobiles, and the development of roadside America. It was simply amazing and challenging in the way we took tests, wrote papers, and used information and resources. I enjoyed spending hours in the periodicals section of the library and analyzing patents for playground equipment.

The Narragansett Machine Company

Lastly, Preservation Practice Methods taught us how to write a National Register Nomination and a Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit application, both of which have their own hurdles, but are essential skills for professional preservationists. Photography, building descriptions, creative solutions, and teamwork were important aspects of these projects.

The front entrance of the house from my NR nomination.

All in all, the semester couldn’t have been more exhausting, but it was fulfilling and made me a stronger preservationist. And of course, it was fun to end with a field trip and a paint party!

Paint party in Wheeler House!

Preservation in Pink colors. Decorative painting is not my skill, huh?

The Kitten Who Took Over My Desk

Semester two: finished! I’ll get to a semester review another time, but first I thought I’d step away from the academic thoughts and bring Izzy back to the blog. See her other appearances here and here. While I feel like I have spent most of my days in the recent past studying or writing papers while sitting at my desk, Izzy has spent most of her days around me, invading my space. So here is a photo tour of Izzy’s life lately, which is probably more interesting than me just sitting at my desk. (Warning, if you’re not a cat person, this post might be cat overload. You see, when I’m stuck at my desk studying and writing, there is little to distract me except the cat… and the camera is always nearby.)

Izzy coming over to say hello and see what's going on with work.

izzy2

Izzy decides she wants to sit on my desk. And there goes the desk.

Izzy plops on my notebooks, claims my watch, and enjoys sitting next to a big mug of coffee.

Izzy eats my watch. She likes to steal things of mine.

Izzy tries to eat whatever pen I'm holding.

This is how Izzy writes paper. It's as helpful as it looks.

Assisting with typing. (Not posed, folks.)

Pretending she can proofread, stalking my typing fingers -- I have no idea.

Izzy realizes I'm not leaving my desk and sighs. She's also waiting for Lucas to stroll by so she can have an a good position for attack.

Izzy got a new flamingo, because Vinny loves her too. She destroyed the old one and tore off the string so we couldn't swing it for her anymore. She has some awesome acrobatic jumps. That's Lucas' paw in the bottom left corner; he appreciated the new cat toy, too.

Izzy is quite happy with her shiny new flamingo. She wouldn't hold still for a picture!

It looks like she might destroy this one too.

Warming up for those high jumping cat moves.

And back to having coffee with me. This is why she was just meant to be my cat.

She's not always on my desk, though it's quite common. Sometimes she's just being adorable elsewhere.

And I love this cat so much because she makes me laugh when school is stressful -- take this face for example. What fluffy chipmunk cheeks!