Documentation

HPEF has long recognized the importance of documentation and recording historic sites––as a component of historic preservation activities, to increase awareness of historic building practices, and to provide information for ongoing interpretation and maintenance. Beginning in 2014, HPEF initiated a series of projects to provide Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) Level I documentation and documentation training. One of the National Park Service's Heritage Documentation Programs, HABS standards and guidelines for such work since it was established in the 1930s. Materials produced through HABS and its partner programs the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) and the Historic Landscape Survey (HALS) are submitted to a permanent collection at the Library of Congress where it makes up the nation's largest archive of historic architectural, engineering and landscape documentation. HPEF documentation materials have included: 1) a set of measured drawings depicting the existing site plan, floor plans, elevations, sections and selected construction details; 2) photographs with large-format negatives of exterior, interior, and detail views; and 3) a written narrative history and description. Projects have focused on modern era structures that remain underrepresented in the HABS Collection. HPEF partners with local organizations, historic preservation graduate programs, and the owners and administrators of the subject properties. HPEF has supplied administrative and financial support, historic preservation graduate programs provide student interns that conduct fieldwork and research and prepare the drawings and other materials.   


Schweikher-Langsdorf House Documentation Project

In the fall of 2017 HPEF partnered with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Architecture and the Schweikher House Preservation Trust to prepare drawings and other historic documentation on the Schweikher-Langsdorf House in Schaumburg, Illinois. Associate Professor Paul Kapp led the group in his ARCH 518 seminar through two site visits, during which the students prepared field notes, photographs, measured drawings of the structures' facades, plans, and other features. The materials, including over 40 sheets and a series of large-format photographs, are being prepared for final submission to HABS. 

The brick, wood, and glass house was designed by Paul Schweikher in 1937 and built the following year as his residence and studio. Influenced by Japanese vernacular forms, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie designs, and 1930s European International Style models, Schweikher developed a unique structure blending modernism with attention to natural materials and engagement with the then-rural site. It was later the residence of physicist Langsdorf and his wife the artist Martyl who was best known for developing the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists' Countdown Clock.  The Schweikher-Langsdorf House is the only structure currently listed in the National Register of Historic Places in Schaumburg, a large and populous postwar Chicago suburb. The structure and site is currently owned by the Village of Schaumburg and operated by the Schweikher House Preservation Trust.


Charles and Ray Eames House Documentation Project

In cooperation with the Eames Foundation, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the University of Southern California Heritage Conservation program, HPEF organized a 2013 project to provide documentation training and HABS Level I documentation of the Charles and Ray Eames House in Pacific Palisades, California. Also known as Case Study House #8, the Eames House was built in 1949 as the couple's personal residence and studio. The steel and glass home was quickly recognized as an important experiments in postwar Modernism. In 2006 the structure was designated a National Historic Landmark. It is currently owned by the Eames Foundation and is the subject of ongoing repair and restoration work. The project produced 13 measured drawings and and a detailed historical outline that are now part of the HABS/HAER/HALS collection at the Library of Congress. The Eames House entry was also featured in a 2016 National Park Service interactive exhibit celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act.