Recent CHSA Activities
The Construction History Society of America (CHSA) has organized several significant meetings in recent years. The most recent one, the 8th Meeting, took place at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from June 22-24, 2023. This event invited researchers and practitioners from various aspects of construction history to submit paper abstracts. The meeting focused on a broad range of topics within construction history, encompassing physical structures, materials, processes, and systems used in their development. The event was aimed at exploring a wide range of eras and geographies, with a particular encouragement for topics focusing on the Americas and the Midwest.
Prior to this, the 7th Biennial Meeting was held at Kennesaw State University, Marietta Campus from June 2-4, 2022. This meeting celebrated the 15th anniversary of the CHSA and featured research and scholarship from a diverse range of academics and practitioners. The focus was generally on the history of building design, fabrication, and construction throughout the Americas from antiquity to modern times. The meeting included presentations from scholars, engineers, architects, preservationists, and contractors on a variety of topics ranging from historic building materials and methods to postwar engineering and building science. Keynote speakers and special events like a tour to a working quarry and a stone carving workshop were also part of the program.
These meetings highlight the CHSA's commitment to promoting and creating new knowledge in the discipline of construction history, providing a platform for sharing cutting-edge research and networking among professionals in the field.
In May of 2019, CHSA collaborated with APT Western Great Lakes Chapter to offer a Symposium: “Preservation of Industrial Archaeology and its Construction History” at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. The program offered a single track, intermingling the two disciplines of preservation technology and construction history while exploring topics that include local and regional structures, industries and companies. The keynote address, Chicago’s Other Skyscrapers, was given by Thomas Leslie, Morrill Professor of Architecture at Iowa State University.
CHSA's 6th Biennial Meeting was held May 24-26, 2018 at the University of Maryland, College Park MD. Hosted by the Department of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, invited keynotes were given by Carl Lounsbury and Thomas Boothby. A Celebration of the 100th Year Anniversary of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) was held with author of 100 Years: Building on Experience Kenneth D. Durr, and a panel discussion featuring Scott Lewis of Engineering News-Record, William E. Reifsteck II discussing the history of the Sollitt Family, and Sara E. Wermiel on The Emergence of General Contracting in the United States.
For the first time, CHSA organized a 10th Anniversary and Members' Meeting on our off year. Held at the University of Washington Seattle, Members addressed the theme Construction History on the Frontier - exploring innovative construction history of the American west coast, with particular focus on Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. Keynotes by Jeffrey Ochsner, Professor at UW, Mike Lombardi, historian at Boeing, Knute Berger, historian / Space Needle, and Jon Magnusson. A highlight was 'We Built Seattle' panel discussion, celebrating firms who have contributed to the history of construction in the Northwest.
Our successful 5th Biennial Meeting was held May 2016 at the University of Texas at Austin, hosted by the School of Architecture (UTSOA). The theme of knowledge exchange and building technology transfer – the dispersal and transfiguration of building ideas from old Europe to the New World produced abstracts which depicted 500 years of industry growth, creative building solutions and cultural transformations in North, Central and South America. Keynotes provided by Dr. Richard Cleary, Tom F. Peters and Roberto Meli.
Close to 300 delegates from over 20 countries attended the 5th International Congress on Construction History (5ICCH) in Chicago in 2015, with five keynotes, five tours and over 200 academic papers presented. Institutional / Corporate sponsors helped make the first international meeting held outside of Europe one of the most successful ever! Proceedings from the Congress are available at LULU.com - click on SHOP and enter “5icch”. The previous congresses were hosted in Madrid (2003), Cambridge (2006), Cottbus (2009), Paris (2012) and most recently in Brussels (2018). We look forward to 7ICCH in Portugal!