Meet Our Faculty: Lorraine Schnabel

Professor Schnabel teaches in the historic preservation program in the College of Architecture and the Built Environment.

What’s your role at Jefferson?

I teach two classes in historic building materials: Building Conservation and Assessment, a foundational course encompassing assessment and treatment of building envelope systems and materials up through the mid-twentieth century, and a complementary course, Conservation of Historic Building Interiors addressing materials that were used to create finished interior surfaces during the same time period.

All of my work as an adjunct faculty member is informed and enriched by my active private practice as an architectural conservator, and by my professional volunteer activities. In my practice I work on structures of diverse of types, including buildings, monuments, and infrastructure such as bridges and reservoirs from the 17th century through the 21st including such Philadelphia landmarks as the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and Independence Hall. My work ranges from diverse types of materials analysis to complete envelope restorations from condition assessment through construction. I am a Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation, and a Recognized Professional member of the Association for Preservation Technology, where I serve as co-chair of the Technical Committee for Materials, and co-editor of the Practice Points publication, a series presenting best practices in the field of preservation.

How long have you been at Jefferson?

13 years.

What is the best part of your job?

Seeing students experience an Aha! moment when what I am teaching resonates with their real-world observations.

What’s one piece of advice you give students?


What’s something people would be surprised to find out about you?

I started my professional life in geology. During college and immediately after I worked on the Viking project; subsequently I worked at the US Geological Survey evaluating clay mineral structure using X-ray diffraction.