At 6 a.m. on a fall morning, four architecture students boarded a bus to New York City.
They were on their way to visit eight buildings as part of a class titled Fieldwork in Architectural History, taught by assistant professor David Salomon in the department of art history. The students had assembled histories of each of the structures, and in order to get firsthand information, Salomon had them literally walk through what they’d been studying since the start of the semester.
“We discussed how visiting the building confirmed or contradicted what they had learned from bibliographic sources and photographs. In all cases the site visit revealed things about the buildings they hadn’t encountered or anticipated from their research.”
One of the buildings the class visited was the Eldridge Street Synagogue in Chinatown, and seeing their object of study in its larger urban context inspired students to question the nature of preservation. The students will integrate the new information they learned on the trip into their written histories and submit their pieces to Archipedia, a wiki-encyclopedia website dedicated to architecture, so fans of architecture all over the world can benefit from their research.
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