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, 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.
H. "Tracks in Space, Voices in Time": examining the way people moved though and characterized urban/suburban space over time. Tracing everyday trajectories of work, residence, etc., and of familes over time through directories or other sources, illustrated buildings and patterns; finding, contextualizing, and sorting period testimony about places from diaries, letters, memoirs, or other period accounts that help place them in lives. How did different kinds of people use urban/non-urban space in regular routines and over generations, and how did they view them? Use directories, genealogies, census, etc., to find tracks for different social sectors; find 19th c. voices, pub/unpub area diaries, journals; characterize locs; annotate pieces, illustrate.
I. "Perpetual landscapes": looking at burial grounds, mapping distribution in space, patterns of evolution over time, exploring social/ethnic/economic characterizations, sizes, current distress., etc.
K. 1950s docs and dialogues: designs, discussed vs. built; post-BG sources of info on 50s buildings (bps?); locations of modernism, traditionalism; Docomomo initiatives; find, talk to folks active then. Examine 60s-90s species of downtown res bldgs, find docs, patterns.
M. Building permits: a year in the life (1889-1905);
numbers, concentrations, sizes over time
N. Buildings of a year, x 2: a comparative overview of numbers, types, patterns, of buildings in different years. Distribution, sizes, frontages, stories, costs, architect involvement, in rows vs indiv, etc.
R. Suburban evolution: track the 19th-20th c. evolution of some suburban areas, defined by clusters of grand Victorian estates from "Phila Suburban Homes" (c. 1889), and looking ahead and back, finding other docs and trying to account for the changes re larger tides.
S. Type and succession in the commercial core: Exploring the
quick-changing city of business, looking at evolution of a commerical
vernacular, using any available evidence, including directories,
advertising, fire insurance, surviving drawings, etc. One discrete
starting point might be "Rease's pieces" , several dozen early broadsheets by
lithographer W. H. Rease showing antebellum businesses, to delve
into as an entry point for these issues.
For students who might have easy continual access to NYC, Baltimore, or even Boston archives, their project 1 or perhaps 2 could involve examination of some specified blockfronts of the commerical downtowns to find documentation on the blocks depicted in commerical panoramas and observe their evolution, its bases, and plan types.
T. "Mining the Papers": period newspapers are at different times both an incredibly rich resource of contemporary documentation and an enormous frustation for what they don't discuss or what we can't find in them. But most have a pattern of what will appear regularly and what might appear occasionally, and where. Look at newspapers on mfilm from periods a few decades apart, and for each, survey them for runs of a few weeks and report on what one finds as regular or occasional features that are useful for our subject, their pattern of appearance, and how they might offer new information or insights.
U. Motifs and Materials: Tracing the "lifetime" and genesis of forms in plan, details, and materials, documenting examples and their dates to construct a 'life history' of them.
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?
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.