• Historic Preservation Theory: A Critical Anthology
    Jorge Otero-Pailos
    Design Books, 2023
    Jorge Otero-Pailos

Professor James Marston Fitch (right) and instructor Theo Prudon (second from left) examining a joint thesis project by students in Columbia University’s historic preservation program, 1974, for an underground addition to McKim Mead and White’s Avery Hall, home of Columbia’s architecture school.

This critical anthology is the first comprehensive survey of the history of historic preservation theory from a global perspective. It presents one hundred essential texts, each accompanied by a critical introduction, that have shaped the evolution of historic preservation thinking. The anthology fills an important vacuum in the study and teaching of historic preservation theory in the United States, which up until now had been severely limited by the lack of an adequate reference volume. For the first time, English readers have access to canonical texts written by thinkers from Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Australia, such as Henri Grégoire's Report on the Destruction Brought About by Vandalism (1793), which not only coined the word "vandalism" but also served as the intellectual impetus for the creation of a national heritage protection bureaucracy under France's revolutionary government; Georg Dehio's Monument Protection and Monument Preservation in the Nineteenth Century (1905), considered to have shaped modern preservation in Germany and Europe; and Gustavo Giovanonni's Theory of Prunning (1931), which changed the paradigm of how to modernize historic centers and influenced the Athens Charter.

Jorge Otero-Pailos is an architect, artist, and theorist specialized in experimental forms of preservation. He is associate professor of historic preservation in Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. His work rethinks preservation as a powerful countercultural practice that creates alternative futures for our world heritage. His installations have been exhibited at the Venice Art Biennial (2009) and the Manifesta European Contemporary Art Biennial (2008). He is the preservation architect collaborating with Work AC in the masterplan for New Holland Island (St. Petersburg, Russia). He is the founder and editor of the journal Future Anterior and the author of Architecture's Historical Turn: Phenomenology and the Rise of the Postmodern (University of Minnesota Press, 2010).