The Michael Phelps of Preservation

Charlie Pipal, architect and preservationist and tour guide, has done it again and I told him he was like Michael Phelps. Only instead of collecting Olympic medals in swimming, Charlie collects Charles Peterson prizes, the nation’s big award for measured drawings of historic buildings. Charlie correctly notes that it is the students who deserve the honors, since they did the drawing. But he has brought home five of these babies in eight years of teaching, so no matter how you slice it, he has it going on.

The award also makes me look good because it brings honor (and cash) to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Historic Preservation Program. This year we got Third Prize for drawings of the Greenstone Church in Pullman, the project of the Fall 2007 Physical Documentation class. Kudos to: Shannon Berner, Christine Bernick, Vicki Birenberg, Katy Gallagher, Jennifer Harrman, Katie McManus, Mary Ottoson, Amy Porter, Molly Sargent, Emily Spreng, Sherine Sublette and Nivine Tawancy! Charlie taught an extra HABS documentation class this year based (for the first time) entirely in CAD, and did the incomparable Chicago Athletic Association building. Kudos to: Weston Davey, Mary Ottoson, Mira Patel, Jennifer Reep, Benjamin Roberts, Molly Sargent, Nicole Seguin, Nicola Spasoff, Emily Spreng and Rebecca Young. We got an Honorable Mention for that, equaling the award Charlie’s classes secured in 2006, 2003 and 2004. Here is a photo of the students and Charlie receiving last year’s honor from Walker Johnson, FAIA.

(One curious note – the awards tend to come for Romanesque buildings – Quinn Chapel AME, Thalia Hall, Greenstone Church, Western Springs Presbyterian Church – is this a stylistic preference or maybe the judges just get impressed with all of the stippling??)

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