PennPraxis Awarded a Grant to Develop Preservation Plan for The George Nakashima House

Melissa Marshall | memar@design.upenn.edu | 215-746-8323
Monday, August 3, 2015

PennPraxis has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Getty Foundation to develop a conservation management plan for The George Nakashima House and Studio in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

Led by Project Director Frank Matero, Professor of Architecture and Director of  the Architectural Conservation Laboratory; Associate Director William Whitaker, Collections Manager of the Architectural Archives; Heritage Surveyor John Hinchman, Research Associate and Lecturer; and Post-Graduate Fellow Cesar Bargues, MSHP’15, the project will develop preservation guidelines, prepare workshops for the Nakashima board, staff, students and public, and incorporate an in-house training program for the conservation and maintenance of the house and studio.

Designed by Japanese-American woodworker George Nakashima, The George Nakashima House and Studio is a collection of 21 highly experimental buildings designed in the 1960s with deep consideration for their  forested surroundings in the Pennsylvania countryside. Nakashima used novel engineering techniques and materials to create a unique aesthetic that blends Japanese craft traditions with a midcentury modernist sensibility. Two of the earliest buildings erected on this National Historic Landmark site—the Arts Building and Cloister—best exemplify Nakashima's design ideals with a soaring hyperbolic paraboloid plywood roof and an open interior with extensive wood surfaces and expansive glass walls.

“This Nakashima projects advances PennPraxis’ mission beautifully,” wrote Randall Mason, Professor and Chair of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation and Executive Director of PennPraxis. “It draws on the skill, research, scholarship and deep experience of both Matero and Whitaker; it serves as an educations platform for graduate students carrying out research, thesis, and studio projects; and it achieves the highest technical standards by including expert engineers, scientists, and designers on the team.”

The Getty Foundation supports institutions and individuals committed to advancing the greater understanding and preservation of the visual arts in Los Angeles and throughout the world. Since 1984, The Getty Foundation has awarded nearly 7,000 grants benefiting over 180 countries on all seven continents.

Interior of The George Nakashima House. Photo by César Bargues Ballester

Interior of The George Nakashima House. Photo by César Bargues Ballester