by Héctor J. Berdecía-Hernández, University of Pennsylvania, Graduate Program in Historic Preservation and 2019 SAH Phila Chapter George B. Tatum Fellow.

Wednesday, October 16 at 6:00 p.m.
B-3 Meyerson Hall, University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School of Design

Free and open to the public, no registration required.

After the Spanish-American War of 1898, new forms, construction technologies, and innovative building materials were introduced in the new Caribbean and Pacific colonial possessions of the United States. As an experimental site for a new American project, Puerto Rico became a target quickly for concrete manufacturers and architecture/engineering firms since the early 1900s. As a Laboratory, the islands were the ideal place for the use of concrete, an -also- experimental building material at that time. In examining early 20th-century architecture and concrete construction technologies, this presentation will explore early American influences in Puerto Rican architecture. Furthermore, how concrete; as a building material, was not only a material used widely across America’s new possession in the Caribbean but also how it played a role in shaping new forms of colonial governance: the American colonization of Puerto Rico.

As a University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate Program in Historic Preservation Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant in the and Editorial Assistant for Change Over Time: An International Journal of Conservation and the Built Environment. Hector holds a double major degree in Environmental Design (B.EnvD.) and History, and a Post-Bachelor Certificate in Urban Studies from the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), Rio Piedras Campus. Héctor is currently a second year graduate student at Penn’s Historic Preservation program. Born and raised in San Juan and Moca, Puerto Rico, his research interests include conservation and innovative treatments of traditional building materials in the Caribbean region, preservation policy and history in Puerto Rico and the United States. His current thesis research focuses on the development of an assessment methodology, cleaning strategies and better conservation practices for exposed concrete surfaces in modern Caribbean architecture.

The Philadelphia Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians’ George B. Tatum Annual International Conference Fellowship helps fund registration, travel and lodging expenses related to attending the annual meetings of the Society of Architectural Historians. For application information on the 2020 Fellowship visit http://philachaptersah.org/index.php/about/