American Architecture 
Surveys architecture in the United States in the 19th century, exploring such issues as the search for an architecture distinguishable from its European roots, and the attempts to respond to the rapidly changing nature of American life and society. In addition to examples by celebrated architects, the course will also explore the vernacular buildings and early commercial architecture.

Building Construction
This is the first course in the construction series. It is an introduction to construction materials and methods of construction. The objective of the course is to develop in the student an early awareness of materials and structure.

National Register Documentation 
Teaches students the rudiments of preparing an individual property nomination for the National Register of Historic Places. Topics include the purpose and levels of designation, National Register criteria and nomination components, conducting archival research, researching public documents, basics of architectural photography, and technical and grammatical writing. At the end of the semester, each student submits a nomination to the Texas Historic Commission for presentation to the State Board of Review for national designation.

Materials Conservation: Field Methods 
This course provides an introduction to architectural materials conservation, focusing on the on-site examination and testing of historic buildings. Lecture topics will include traditional building materials and systems, deterioration phenomena, and resulting conditions. A variety of investigative techniques, including nondestructive evaluation methods, will be discussed.
Site work will focus on the historic buildings on the University of Texas campus. Working in teams, students will conduct research on the construction materials and methods of these historic buildings and survey their existing conditions. Each team will share their work in classroom presentations. 

Materials Conservation: Laboratory Methods 
This course provides an introduction to architectural materials conservation, focusing on laboratory examination and testing of historic building materials. Lectures will review the physical and chemical properties of paints and coatings, mortars, wood, and other building materials and introduce students to laboratory procedures, including microscopy, solubility, and micro-chemical testing. In addition to classroom lectures, the course includes laboratory exercises to familiarize students with basic techniques used in architectural conservation.

Graphic Documentation
Teaches students how to conduct a survey for the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS). Students are assigned a building or site for which they prepare field notes and drawings to be developed into finished measured drawings - site plans, floor plans, sections, elevations, and details. Along with all notes and drawings, students perform photographic documentation and create a historical report of the building following the Department of Interior's guidelines and standards. The class teaches students the use effectively architectural drawing conventions, how to complete architectural drawing, proper operation of a large format film 4x5 camera, and historical research for HABS reports. While is not the primary purpose of this course, students learn about digital documentation technologies such as LiDAR and Photogrammetry as effective alternatives for building registration data. The outcomes of the class are submitted to stakeholders and organizations so they can be submitted to the NPS and be part of the Library of Congress HABS collection.

Methodologies in Architectural History 
Explores the basic models for the writing and research of architectural history and related fields. Discussions will include the evolution of the discipline of architectural history, intellectual changes, major theories of history, and methodological models relevant to individual students' academic research. Readings and critiques of basic textual models will be supplemented with frequent, relatively short writing and research assignments.

Materials Conservation: Field Methods
This course provides an introduction to architectural materials conservation, focusing on the on-site examination and testing of historic structures. In addition to reading assignments and classroom lectures, students will gain practical experience in conducting conditions surveys and on-site testing. Each student will work on an independent project that includes research and survey work.

Preservation History and Theory 
Exploration of the history and theory of historic preservation. Among the topics discussed will be the historical evolution of preservation standard approaches and problems within the field, and scholarly, economic, legal, and ethical dimensions of preservation practice. The first section of the course explores the early history of the preservation idea in Europe and the United States; the second investigates important concepts and issues within the preservation field, including basic problems such as authenticity, adaptive use, and context.

Preservation Law 
Introduces students to legal, advocacy, and policy issues in the fields of historic and cultural preservation. It provides a cultural understanding of the institutional framework that governs preservation practice in the United States. The course surveys federal statutory laws affecting preservation policy and practice and explores the opportunities and constraints for preservation practice created by constitutional law, tax incentives, grants, and regulatory programs.

Preservation Planning and Practice 
Introduction to historic preservation that surveys political, economic, aesthetic, and technical issues relative to the preservation of buildings, landscapes, and rural and urban communities. Using case studies, field trips, and readings, the course examines the fundamental principles and strategies in contemporary preservation practice in the United States and abroad.

Cultural Landscape Preservation (not offered in 2020-2021)
Examines the North American cultural landscape as it has been shaped by human habitation, and addresses issues around preserving this landscape. Includes everything from formal gardens to battlefields, from national parks to historic farmsteads, and from sacred sites to transportation corridors.

Related Coursework in the School of Architecture

Opportunities for Interdisciplinary Study

Students may combine their research on historical topics with a broad array of related subjects. As a major research university, the University of Texas at Austin offers a wide selection of electives, including courses in Art History, Classics, Cultural Geography, History, Anthropology, Museum Studies, African-American Studies, Latin American Studies, and Asian Studies. Other courses of interest may include:

  • Historical Museums: Context and Practice (INF 388E/ANT 391)
  • Textiles Artifact Management and Conservation (TXA 355D)
  • American Space and Place (AMS 390)
  • Cultural Representations of the Past (ANT 394M)
  • Forensic Engineering: Materials and Structures (CE 397F)