HSPV 600: Project 2:

Our second project will be more open to student definition, and may be less tightly focused in geography or the 19th century. Generally, these projects might:

(a) work on a documentary or even an old published resource, to bring it to life for readers though annotation, framing, and illustration, to make it useful to other researchers, to frame, and contextualize it, and make specific parts usefully accessible; or

(b) look at the activites of a specific agent of building activites, a developer or builder or architect, finding and sorting evidence of their activities, contextualizing and characterizing that; or

(c) look at distributions in time or geography of different types of architectural "behavior," whether building types, specific details, specific functions, etc., and to characterize and try to account for them.

Here are some examples from previous years [http://www.brynmawr.edu/iconog/uphp/proj-04.html].

Below are some stray notes positing more specifics on some possible project2 topics that you might consider. As we visit repositories, we'll learn of particular projects they'd be interested in your adopting. I'll continue to throw ideas into this section. You may also propose others.

A. "Corridors of Light": mapping subsets of early photography or other image types in the area, and exploring reasons for patterns of coverage, and absences.  

B. Nailing down and illustrating an architect's work, starting from the PAB refs. Off-hand examples: Kling, Weise, Stonorov, G. T. Pearson, Kenneth Day, ...  

C. Documenting, understanding the work of developer historically. Off-hand examples: Matchett, Budd (Greble letters at Winterthur), Wendell & Smith, ...  

D. Surveying a document type and its research utility for architectural, urban history. Off-hand examples: Briefs of Title (see JM list), US Direct Tax, 1798  , other taxes, Dodge reports, newspaper reports or adverts over a decade

E. Annotating and illustrating period writings on architecture and building ...
F. Collecting images and data from an old architectural journal. Off-hand examples: Builder & Decorator, Archtl Era, Phila buildings in national journals like AABN for a certain period, ...  

G. "Homes in a Range": looking at varieties of domestic architecture in or beyond the city, exploring issues of type, distribution, agency, and the landscapes they define, as well as explicitly exploring the evidentiary resources for constructing that knowledge.

Whatever you choose as a topic, it should be a good learning exercise in exploring historical documentation resourcefully and purposefully, marshaling, selecting, and framing evidence to present content engagingly to an interested reading. Transparency of the specific sources of knowledge should be a constant scruple, and public audience a constant consciousness. Ask yourselves what information is important for the reader (typically not all that you find), and how can you make that most effective?

I know that this is a School of Design, but graphic sophistication in screen layout is not a goal of these projects, which are intended for presenting the research content. The 'webbing' is meant as a way of keeping a critical, shaping sense of a public audience and the responsibility of imminent publication, as well as a way of deriving a public benefit from your work in creating new knowledge, and for making this easily sharable. Website design can get very complicated; try to keep yours simple in terms of design and special effects. These are mainly meant to be judicious mixtures of words and images, with the words taking the lead. If GoLive is tempting you into too much complexity, use any other web-creation tool -- plain code, Dreamweaver (keyserved at Penn Design), FrontPage Express (free), even the old Netscape Composer (free), or a combination of these -- in its simplest, words-plus-images way. If the webbing threatens to become too much of a distraction and claim of your time, simply create your planned text in a word .doc and gather your images separately, with a plan for where you'll use them, and I'll sit down with you before the first submission date and we should be able to weave these together in 20-30 minutes; but even if you go this route, keep a consciousness of the project's ultimate public reader and presentation as a website.

You'll have more topical freedom with this project, and that is both an opportunity and a challenge. You will conceptualize the project, taking on something that we can both agree is interesting topically and for which we can shape some sort of strategy for research and presenting the results, but it is critical that it be achieveable within the time for the assignment. It should go beyond just mechanical and scanning tasks, have certain possibilities of public interest and benefit, involve research challenges, and offer some scope for interpretive decision-making and analysis.

As with project 1, there will be an essential feedback/response/reworking cycle before the final revision is handed in on CD.

proj2.html; last rev.= 29 Oct. 05