The School of Architecture & Environment's Historic Preservation program—the oldest such program on the West Coast—operates out of the University of Oregon’s Portland campus, where students can study the city’s rich physical and social heritage and participate in the dynamic planning processes that are shaping this center of urban sustainability. Students take classes in the White Stag Building, an award-winning adaptive reuse of several historic commercial buildings, and apply the skills they learn in real-world projects that help communities understand and protect their cultural resources and traditions.
The Student Experience
Portland hosts a very active preservation community that offers many opportunities for both internships and permanent employment for UO students. UO also offers a specialization in historic preservation for master’s degree students in architecture and a minor in historic preservation for undergraduates at the Eugene campus. Graduates of our Historic Preservation Program are employed in a wide range of preservation-related fields, including private architectural firms, city planning departments, state historic preservation offices, federal cultural resources divisions, and nonprofit agencies.
Our program emphasizes experiential learning in which students apply their academic study to field-based preservation work. This commitment starts with our field school, in which students learn practical skills in building materials and construction on historic sites throughout the Pacific Northwest and continues with a variety of partnerships with preservation organizations, such as state and national parks agencies, the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office, the Oregon Historical Society, and the City of Portland.
Examples of projects that UO preservation students have worked on in recent years include conservation of a 1930s CCC complex at Mt. Rainier National Park, identification and interpretation of historic properties in a historically African-American neighborhood in Portland’s Albina neighborhood, and proposals for reuse of Multnomah County’s 1914 courthouse.
The community working on the Albina African-American Cultural Heritage Conservation Project including James Buckley (fourth from left)
Historic Preservation Program Director James Buckley leads the Albina African-American Cultural Heritage Conservation Project in Portland. The project is necessary, he notes, because architecture alone often fails to capture the experience of minority populations.
“For the last few years, our program has been focusing on other methods of understanding the full variety of America’s cultural heritage through other means; in Albina, this means bringing in oral histories and broad interpretation of the cultural landscape, not just individual buildings associated with famous people,” Buckley said.
Enrich Your Academic Experience
In addition to classroom learning opportunities, students can take advantage of opportunities at the Watzek House and the Shire, part of the John Yeon Center for Architecture and the Landscape. During the summer participate in a field school in the Pacific Northwest at a location chosen annually.
Connect with Us
Students interested in our graduate program can tour the Portland campus, and students interested in our undergraduate offerings can tour our Eugene campus to learn more about what we offer.