Conference: May 28-May 30, 2020
Matthew Bronski, recipient of the Rome Prize in Historic Preservation and Conservation
Construction that is highly durable over the very long term (e.g. centuries) is inherently sustainable. Despite major emphasis on sustainability over the past decade, we are in the midst of a widespread crisis of rapid building enclosure failures ranging from highly publicized and almost immediate building enclosure failures on prominent commissions by “Starchitects” to rapid enclosure failures on non-descript builder houses on Anystreet, USA. Where did we go wrong? What do we fail to understand about designing enclosures for durability? And what pertinent lessons, if any, can we derive from historic constructions that have proven durable for many centuries?
Matthew Bronski, 2009-10 recipient of the Rome Prize in Historic Preservation and Conservation, will present summary findings from his Rome Prize research project. His Rome research project comprised hands-on study of approximately two dozen historic buildings in Italy ranging from the 1st c. B.C. to early 20th c. modernism, including buildings by Bernini, Borromini, Moretti and others. His hands-on research ( often on the scaffolds of buildings under restoration ) diagnosed successes and failures in the durability of construction detailing to derive lessons and principles for designing enclosures more durably ( and hence more sustainably ) today. These lessons and principles are applicable both to new construction and to the rehabilitation of existing buildings.
Matthew Bronski, PE
Principal, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
Matthew is the national practice leader for Preservation Technology at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger where he has practiced for the past 24 years. Matthew has led SGH’s exterior rehabilitation design and / or assessment projects on many highly significant historic buildings including over ten National Historic Landmarks. He also has served as a key investigator of building envelope and durability failures in new and recent construction. He has published over a dozen research papers and articles on building façade and envelope issues and has served as a guest lecturer or critic in historic preservation or architecture courses at numerous universities including Harvard, MIT, UMass Amherst and Yale. He holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Tulane and master’s degrees in both architecture and historic preservation from Penn. In 2009, he became only the second engineer in 113 years to receive the prestigious Rome Prize.
CSI members are experts in building construction and the materials used therein and are dedicated to improving the communication of construction information.