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Questions? Organizer: Janet Bascom -

From its founding on July 16, 1790, Washington, DC has been embroiled in political maneuvering, sectional conflicts, and issues of race, national identity, compromise, and power. Its monumental cultural landscapes, vibrant neighborhoods, and varied buildings and structures reflect the history of the United States and the local, national, and international communities who have lived here for over two centuries.

Pierre L’Enfant conceived the first formal plan comprised of grand avenues and public parks, linking civic structures and monuments at the heart of the new Federal City. Set along the banks of the Potomac, L’Enfant planned a system of canals, underscoring the importance of commercial trade and transport within the seat of power. The plan envisioned a national bank, theater, market, and judicial center, uniting culture and commerce with the country’s highest civic functions. The widest of the grand avenues evolved into the nation’s best-known public space, the National Mall. Inspired by the City Beautiful Movement, the 1902 McMillan Plan envisioned the Mall to feature major memorials, museums, and other cultural institutions. Anchored by this monumental core, the city encourages further exploration of its many rowhouse neighborhoods, elaborate embassies, modernist structures, parks, and monuments, encompassing more than fifty historic districts and more than 27,000 protected properties.

We welcome you to APT’s 2021 DC Conference, which will explore the complexities, opportunities, and lessons learned from preserving and reinvesting in this monumental city.

General abstracts submissions - EXTENDED to March 19, 2021
Student abstracts/scholarship applications - EXTENDED to March 19, 2021
Notification of acceptance of abstracts and Student Scholars will be made in June 2021.

Additional Information
General Abstract Submission Guidelines
Student Scholar Abstract Guidelines

The three tracks that will explore this year’s theme are:

Track 1: Revisiting Renewal: Evolving Past Transformations
Reexamining past interventions is a vital part of APT’s mission to promote the advancement of preservation technology and present informed dialogue on preservation philosophy and practice. Many noteworthy preservation, restoration, and rehabilitation projects have experienced multiple changes, whether in conception, function and use, or approaches to conservation. This session explores places and projects where past repair, replacement, rehabilitation, or interpretation has undergone major rethinking – when earlier strategies did not achieve anticipated outcomes, success was of limited duration, or outcome goals changed.

Possible topics include:
  1. Responding to physical failures or shortcomings of previous repair approaches
  2. Rethinking repair and replacement materials
  3. Improving building performance
  4. Accommodating new or evolving functions
  5. Making effective use of today’s materials, trades, and craftsmanship
  6. Using documentation and investigative technologies to inform the project approach and future maintenance
  7. Revisiting community redevelopment and renewal
  8. Reexamining and reinterpreting physical evidence to inform treatment

Track 2: Pivoting Preservation: Forward-Thinking Solutions to Changing Requirements
As preservation projects are made increasingly complex by tight fiscal constraints in tandem with new and changing codes, standards, expectations, and core requirements, the importance of specialized technical knowledge and collaboration to meet not only today’s needs but anticipate the needs of tomorrow becomes ever more important. This track will explore how new and traditional preservation technologies and methods address emerging and evolving issues such as social distancing, disaster preparedness, resilience, natural resource conservation and management, urban ecology, workplace mobility, security, accessibility, and changing lifestyles and performance requirements with strong prospects for enduring success.

Possible topics include:
  1. Technical solutions to codes, local requirements, or development pressures
  2. Solutions for safety, security, and accessibility
  3. New technologies and methods for accomplishing repairs and conservation more efficiently, effectively, or economically
  4. Managing density, daylight, and view corridors
  5. Air-rights, belowground development, and creative zoning in historic areas
  6. Recognizing diverse histories in a changing cultural environment
  7. Encouraging equitable development
  8. Increasing resiliency and sustainability
  9. Strategies for curated decay or selective loss
  10. Repair and reconstruction after fire, flooding, and other disasters
  11. Adapting to a post-pandemic world

Track 3: By the People, For the People: Civic Architecture, Public Spaces, and Infrastructure
Washington, D.C. comprises a rich tapestry of parks, monuments, government buildings, cultural institutions, infrastructure, and significant viewsheds woven throughout the city plan. The forms, symbols, and meanings of such spaces continue to evolve. Faced with the opportunities and challenges of today, we recognize the great responsibility to ensure their vitality and viability. This track explores the preservation, adaptation, interpretation, and enhancement of civic art and architecture at all scales around the world.

Possible topics include:
  1. Conserving traditional and non-traditional civic art and architecture
  2. Reinvesting in public places for positive social impact
  3. Improving resiliency of cultural landscapes and infrastructure
  4. Balancing security and openness
  5. Ensuring accessibility while respecting design intent
  6. Reclaiming and retooling urban and town center initiatives considering 21st century ways, means, and priorities

  7. Preservation Beyond Politics starts here!