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Construction Administration Speaker Series: Debunking the Myth of Landmarks: A Primer on Preservation in New York City


Jan 26, 2018 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.


Columbia University, Fairchild Hall, Room 601

This is an encore of a presentation from February 2017. If you missed it then here is your chance to catch up. Students who entered the program in fall 2017 and spring 2018 are encouraged to attend.

“Debunking the Myth of Landmarks: A Primer on Preservation in New York City” will set the record straight on what it means to own and maintain a landmark in New York City, while also detailing the many public and private benefits derived from Historic Preservation.

Even before New York City’s landmarks law was passed in 1965, there existed a tension between those advocating to preserve the city’s past and those advocating to build for its future, whether it was civic outrage incurred by Trinity Vestry’s proposal to demolish St. John’s Chapel in the early 1900s or Penn Central’s proposal to replace Pennsylvania Station in the early 1960s. This seminar will explore the phenomenon of Historic Preservation in the United States, from its origins as a grassroots movement to its codification in a series of local, state, and federal laws to an expanded interpretation of what constitutes significance. Focusing on New York City’s landmarks law, this seminar will offer insight into its pioneering legislation and later affirmation by the US Supreme Court, while also exploring other topics that include:

  • What makes a landmark?
  • How are they regulated?
  • What does it mean to be designated?

Please RSVP by Thursday, January 25, 2018. For more information, please contact construction@sps.columbia.edu.

About Gregory Dietrich

A graduate of Columbia University’s Historic Preservation and Real Estate Development programs, Gregory Dietrich has been working in the field of Historic Preservation for over 17 years. Having worked in both the public and private sectors, he served as the Acting Director of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission’s Historic Preservation Grant Program between 1999 and 2000 before joining Cultural Resource Consulting Group (CRCG) in 2002, where he managed the New York office between 2004 and 2009. At CRCG, Dietrich was a project manager and principal investigator on a myriad cultural resource studies while serving as the company’s Director of Historic Preservation. In 2009, he established Gregory Dietrich Preservation Consulting, where his work has entailed historic architectural and landscape studies, designation reports, historic tax credit applications, and grant writing. In addition to consulting, he has served as an adjunct instructor at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) since 2008, while serving as a guest lecturer, panelist, and tour guide at a range of educational, cultural, and civic institutions in the U.S. and abroad. This spring, Dietrich will be joining the faculty of New York University’s Urban Design and Architecture Studies Department to teach Case Studies in Historic Preservation.


Gregory Dietrich, Principal, Gregory Dietrich Preservation Consulting