Center for the Preservation of Modernism

Modernism: The Next Preservation Frontier

Expressive of a “form follows function” ethos and devoid of ornamentation, mid-century modern architecture is often undervalued as heritage worthy of preservation. While presenting unique challenges in terms of material conservation, structural stabilization and facade retrofitting, this style embodies distinctive social, cultural and technological significance.

The Center for the Preservation of Modernism builds upon Thomas Jefferson University’s legacy in preservation education. Jefferson is the steward of the Hassrick House (1958-61), an exemplar of mid-century modern architecture and a significant design by celebrated, mid-century modern architect, Richard Neutra. The house serves as the public face of the Center and a learning laboratory for students in the MS Historic Preservation program.

Early and mid-century modern architecture is the next preservation frontier as these buildings age. Housed within Jefferson’s College of Architecture & the Built Environment, The Center for the Preservation of Modernism and Jefferson are at the forefront in preserving our modern heritage, nationally and internationally.

Our Mission

  • Educate Serves as a meeting ground for the larger preservation community, offering tours, lectures and symposia that address pressing issues facing modern structures and sites.
  • Advocate – Supports nominations to the local and national registers.
  • Archive – In partnership with Docomomo Philadelphia, the Center is mapping modernist buildings in the Delaware Valley area.
  • Document – MS in Historic Preservation students are documenting mid-center modern buildings while developing skills in new technologies including Lidar, photogrammetry, and GIS;
  • Research  The Center sponsors competitive grants to support research and publications to advance and disseminate scholarship in history, theory, conservation of mid-century modern materials and systems; adaptive reuse, etc.

In recent decades, our modern architectural heritage has faced increasing danger of demolition. The charge of the Center for the Preservation of Modernism is to initiate, support, and disseminate research that addresses the protection and conservation of early and mid-century modern buildings and sites.

Suzanne Singletary, PhD Director, The Center for the Preservation of Modernism

Jefferson Kicks off Docomomo U.S. National Symposium

On May 31, the University’s Center for the Preservation of Modernism hosted Yo! Richard Neutra! A Modern House Conservation Panel and Workshop, which served as the kick-off event for the 2022 Docomomo US National Symposium, the organization’s annual conference that focuses on the preservation of modern buildings and sites, held this year in Philadelphia.

Past Events

View recordings of our previous events by clicking the links below. 


Student Work

Students have the opportunity to learn the historic preservation process from beginning to end in real world environments.

Historic Preservation Program Director & Professor Publish Book on Hassrick House

The College of Architecture & the Built Environment is pleased to announce the publication of Emergence of a Modern Dwelling: Richard Neutra’s Hassrick House, sponsored by Thomas Jefferson University’s Center for the Preservation of Modernism.

The book meets the Center’s mission, which is to support the protection and stewardship of buildings and sites of the modern movement through research, outreach and advocacy. Preview images from the Hassrick House book below. 

Recent News

Suzanne Singletary

An architectural historian shares her research on the challenges of preserving America’s cities.