The Center for Historic Architecture and Design
The Center for Historic Architecture and Design (CHAD) at the University of Delaware was created in 1984 as an interdisciplinary research and public service center to draw on nationally and internationally prominent programs and faculty at the University of Delaware related to historic preservation and to make historic preservation an important part of the University's land grant mission. The Departments of History, Art History, Geography, and Mechanical Engineering cosponsored the Center's formation.
Located in the School of Public Policy and Administration, CHAD addresses issues related to historic preservation through an interdisciplinary program of research, public service, and education focusing on historic architecture and landscapes; design issues of the built environment and material culture; documentation of historic properties; computer applications to documentation; research on cultural and historic materials and technologies; historic preservation planning and policy at national, state, and local levels; and advocacy for historic resources.
CHAD's philosophy rests on four concepts:
Serving and advocating for underrepresented historic resources and groups. This translates into an emphasis on vernacular architecture in rural, small town, and urban contexts and resources associated with minority groups and cultures, and an emphasis on what preservationists call "the recent past" (buildings, landscapes, and material culture of the twentieth century);
Building a documentary
of endangered and lost historical and cultural resources in a period of
rapidly changing land use in the Delaware Valley. Following the model
of the Threatened Building Program of London, this effort became the
Mid-Atlantic Historic Buildings and Landscapes Survey;
cultural and historical resrouces part of a larger intellectural
framework of the humanities, material culture, urban affairs, and
preservation planning at the University of Delaware; and
Organizing interdisciplinary teams as needed for a particular project. CHAD is affiliated with the Center for Material Culture Studies and is a co-sponsor of the University Transportation Center. Faculty from many academic units at the University of Delaware have participated in CHAD projects, and CHAD collaborates with several institutions in China.
Drawing on the Delaware Valley and larger mid-Atlantic region as a laboratory for teaching, research, and public service, as well as other national and international settings (currently Montana and China), preservation issues are explored in a variety of cultural, ethnic, and settlement contexts. The Center's work focuses on understanding the evolution and significance of the built environment and related material culture from a scholarly perspective and designing effective public policies to preserve significant historical resources.
Some of the areas in which CHAD excels include:
- Documentation, survey and evaluation
- Historic preservation planning and research
- Laboratory analysis and ethnographic study of traditional materials and technologies
L. Ames, Ph.D.
Director and Professor of Public Policy and Administration, Geography, and Material Culture Studies
Associate Director, Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Administration and Director, Mid-Atlantic Historic Buildings and Landscapes Survey