2014 Event

CHSA Biennial Meeting co-hosted by AIA Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN November 2014

The fourth CHSA Biennial Meeting was co-hosted by AIA Minnesota and held in Minneapolis. The Biennial Meeting included 8 sessions featuring 23 presentations including:

  • MoMA’s Marcel Breuer Exhibition House by Margaret Oldfather
  • Rise of the Exterior Bearing Wall by Tyler Sprague
  • Leadership Principles, Empire State building by Ken Robson
  • OKC National Memorial Construction by Richard Ryan
  • Japanese Internment Camp Reconstruction by Casy Cline
  • E.L.Corthell, Civil Engineer by Marci Uihlein
  • History of Ventilation by Steve Harmon
  • Platteville Limestone by Ed Gerns
  • Building New York City’s Bulkhead by Zach Rice
  • Building Harvard Stadium by Alicia Svenson
  • David Steinman, Mackinac Bridge by Robert Dermody
  • Jack Christiansens’s Thin Shells by Tyler Sprague
  • Prestressed Concrete in Minnesota by Bob Frame
  • The Schell-Munday Perma-Stone Protest by Marisa Gomez

A final session dealt with the renovations under way to the Cass Gilbert Minnesota State Capitol, a $242 million project.  In addition there was a tour of the Seventh Street Bridge led by Benjamin Ibarra-Sevilla and a movie night with a showing of The Making of the Union Depot, sponsored by Mortenson Construction.


2013 Events

Construction History paper sessionAIA Minnesota Annual Convention, Minneapolis, MN – November 2013

Construction History paper session – SESAH Annual Meeting, Charlotte, NC – October 2013

Skyscraper History: Looking Back While Looking Up, a one-day symposium co-hosted with APT Western Great Lakes Chapter – Chicago, IL – June 2013

A one-day symposium featuring case studies of local preservation efforts aimed at saving, rehabilitating and re-using historic skyscrapers.  A concluding panel debated which city can most convincingly claim the status as the birthplace of the skyscraper: New York, Minneapolis or Chicago.


2012 Events

4th International Construction History Congress – Paris, France – July 3-7, 2012.

Click here for abstracts from the 4th International Congress on Construction History.

American Construction History, 1850-1950, CHSA’s 3rd Biennial Meeting – Cambridge, MA – November 2-3, 2012

This two-day biennial meeting brought together one hundred academics, architects, engineers, preservationists, contractors and researchers to discuss American construction between 1850 and 1950, and the construction of Guastavino vaults. The first day began with a keynote address by Robert Silman, and included twenty-two presentations on topics on mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century construction. The second day focused on Guastavino construction, and began with a keynote address by Janet Parks of the Avery Library at Columbia University. Eighteen papers reviewed the history and technology of Guastavino arch construction. Receptions were held at MIT and at a former Guastavino factory in Woburn, MA. Half-day tours of the Boston Waterworks and Guastavino vaults in the Boston area took place following the meeting.

Selected papers and abstracts can be found here and here.

2011 Event

Inventions: the Roles of Disaster and Industrialization in Construction History – New York, NY – October 29, 2011

Inventions over the last two centuries have driven vast changes in building design and construction. New inventions and innovations of existing ideas, in turn, have been driven by response to disasters, inventions in tools and materials, and a changing labor force. Presentations at this one-day symposium included

  • Keynote address “The Silicon Valley of the 19th Century” by P. Thomas Carroll, Executive Director of the Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway
  • A Roundtable on Disasters and Construction History, with speakers Marilyn Kaplan of Preservation Architecture, Timothy Lynch of the New York City Department of Buildings, and Ronald Spadafora of the Fire Department of the City of New York.
  • A Roundtable on Industrialization and Construction History, with speakers Michael Lynch of Kaese & Lynch Architecture and Engineering, Wendy Ordemann of the Brick Industry Association, and Norman Weiss of Columbia University and Integrated Conservation Resources.


2010 Event

History of Construction in the Americas, 2nd CHSA Biennial Meeting – University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA – May 20-22, 2010

CHSA’s 2nd Biennial Meeting was held at the University of Pennsylvania in May 2010. Three keynotes and twenty-three papers were presented on a wide diversity of construction history topics including:

  • Buildings and infrastructure
  • Materials and components
  • Labor and equipment
  • Planning and Design
  • Codes and controls
  • Construction History in other parts of the Americas.

Click here for more information about the 24 paper presentations. A CD of the paper abstracts is available, but there is a small charge of $15.00 to defray postage and materials. It can be ordered by emailing chs@coa.gatech.edu.


2009 Events

Construction History – A One-Day ExplorationThe National Building Museum, Washington, DC – December 2, 2009

This one-day symposium gathered together in three panels representatives from government agencies, professional and trade associations and design and construction history societies to debate and discuss:

  • why the study and research of the history of all aspects of American design and construction is important.
  • current activities and commitments of the representative entities in the field.
  • opportunities for future collaboration on the subject.
  • and initiatives that could be taken to expand awareness of the value of construction history throughout the industry and with the public.

Speakers and panelists included representatives from the GSA, National Park Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, Architect of the Capitol, American Institute of Architects (AIA), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), Construction Managers Assocation of America (CMAA), Society of Architectural Historians (SAH), Public Works Historical Society (PWHS), National Building Museum, Association for Preservation Technology International (APTI), Society for Industrial Archeology (SIA) and representatives from the Construction History Society of America.

This event was presented in partnership with the National Building Museum, was sponsored by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and supported by the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, who celebrated their centennial in 2009.

Third International Construction History Congress – Cottbus, Germany – May 2009

Following International Congresses on Construction History in Madrid (2003) and Cambridge (2006), the third Congress was held in Cottbus, Germany in May 2009. Approximately 300 delegates attended the Congress, including seventeen American delegates. Over 200 papers were presented. The full proceedings can be obtained for 70 € plus postage.  For more information, contact volker.wetz@tu-cottbus.de.


2008 Event

Inaugural Meeting of CHSA – Atlanta, GA – November 20-22, 2008

The first national meeting of the Construction History Society of America was held in November 20 – 22, 2008 at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. The theme of the meeting was Learning from Design and Construction Failures. Three keynote speakers, twelve papers, and a short program on Atlanta 1908 were presented.

A CD of the proceedings is available on request for $15.00 including postage. Order at chs@coa.gatech.edu.