• Welcome

    The Architectural Conservation Laboratory (ACL) of the Department of Historic Preservation supports the program’s curriculum in a state-of-the art facility where conservation science and technical studies come together to advance teaching and research in Architectural Conservation.

  • Leadership

    The ACL is led by Professor Frank Matero , who founded the lab upon his arrival at Penn in 1991 to provide the necessary scientific facilities for teaching the then newly launched curriculum in the technical conservation of the built environment.

    Photo credit: Randall F. Mason
  • Training the next leaders in conservation

    Since 1991, both the field and Penn’s role in educating its leaders has greatly expanded through innovative approaches to documentation, recording, field survey, material analysis, condition assessment, and treatment evaluation of historic structures and sites.

    Photo credit: Katherine George '17
  • Cutting-edge equipment

    The dedicated space and equipment support the program’s specialized courses in building conservation science and its seminars in masonry, wood, concrete, finishes, and other architectural materials and systems. It also provides a technical support facility for the Program’s Center for Architectural Conservation.

  • A materials-based approach

    The ACL supports materials-based inquiry through courses and research dedicated to the study of historic and traditional building materials and construction systems including their characterization, diagnosis, and treatment, both remedial and preventive.

  • Encyclopedic resources

    The lab houses the School’s comprehensive Historic Building Materials Collection, an encyclopedic resource of stone, brick, terracotta, mortar, concrete, metals, wood, and painted finishes for conservators, scholars, and all design students who desire first-hand exposure to the materials of traditional architecture and buildings ranging from early mudbrick of Çatalhöyük, Turkey to modern terrazzo from the Texaco Road Map Pavement at the 1968 New York State Pavilion.

  • Comprehensive collections

    The ACL also houses the historic 19th-century plasterwork collection from the Alhambra, as well as the Vermont Marble Company’s international archives and stone library and the Walker Zanger commercial stone library, two of the largest US commercial global stone collections.