2018 Fitch Fellows Announced


Conservator Laura Buchner researches fabrication and deterioration of dalle de verre towards preservation of modern designs

Architects Jonathan F. Bell and Ian Baldwin of DUAL investigate new design and economic model for urban adaptive reuse


August 3, 2018—New York, NY—The Trustees of the James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation are delighted to announce recipients of the 2018 James Marston Fitch Mid-Career Fellowship and the Richard L. Blinder Award.

An evening reception to meet and celebrate the Fellows is anticiapted for early Fall 2018.


Laura Buchner

The Luminous Dalle de Verre of Gabriel Loire: The Fabrication, Deterioration, and Conservation of Faceted Glass.

Dalle de verre, also known as faceted glass, was developed in France in the late 1920s and early 1930s, during a period of technical advances in reinforced concrete, and peaked from 1955 to 1975. Conservator Laura Buchner will research the fabrication methods, deterioration patterns and conservation techniques of dalle de verre, focusing on panels designed by the prolific French stained glass artist Gabriel Loire. Through her Fitch-funded research, Buchner will be able to effectively characterize decay mechanisms towards the goal of informing conservation decisions associated with dalle de verre, a hand-crafted material.

“Modern architectural heritage is increasingly the subject of preservation efforts, as innovative mid-century structures face on-going deterioration and risk of demolition. Understanding the technical evolution and performance of the unique materials comprising Modern architecture is paramount to safeguarding these structures,” says Laura Buchner, 2018 Fitch Fellow. Previous academic research associated with the conservation of dalle de verre has included historical overviews and studies of glass deterioration; however, the material variations of the dalle de verre components have yet to be adequately studied, leaving questions regarding the role of concrete, epoxy, and glass variations in dalle de verre deterioration.

Dalle de verre structures in the United States are geographically widespread, including the First Presbyterian Church in Stamford, CT; St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Kenosha, WI; Providence Heights College Chapel in Issaquah-Pine Lake, WA; and the Barcardi Rum Building in Miami, FL, with 576 square meters of dalle de verre glass panels.

For more about the Fitch Mid-Career Fellowship, click here.


Jonathan F. Bell & Ian Baldwin, DUAL

SLICE: The Inhabited Facade
An occupied building strengthens the social and economic fabric of the city, but the resources needed to reactivate abandoned or underused buildings are substantial. Brawny and inflexible building types like armories, warehouses, factories and infrastructure, especially those outside a large downtown, can be lucky to stay alive with a nightclub or self-storage franchise. Multiply the costs of preservation-minded adaptive reuse over tens of thousands of square feet, and the prospects of a complete, sensitive and competent rehab become remote for all but a handful of fortunate buildings.

With SLICE, Bell and Baldwin ask: What if a large building awaiting preservation could be downsized to focus on its most important resource – its urban facade? By building out the area right behind the facade, a SLICE is created: a vertical stack of rehabilitated space just big enough for useful occupancy that brings the exterior alive. “SLICE’s skinny interiors provide affordable property in the city for occupants, and for owners, lower upfront costs, a revenue stream, and a visible step toward redevelopment of the entire property,” says Jonathan F. Bell and Ian Baldwin, 2018 Fitch Fellows. “The facade turns from a stylistic issue to a social and economic one, as a display window showing off capital investment and activity.”

Bell and Baldwin will build upon the success of their SLICE prototype, the Arnold Building in downtown Providence, RI, with an 80,000 sq.ft. former brewery dating from 1892 in Providence’s Eagle Square. This case study will result in a portfolio of research into current practices and technologies to apply the SLICE methodology to other buildings, anticipating a broad, flexible range of applications to encourage SLICE implementation beyond the northeastern United States, where different outcomes will surely exist.

For more about the Blinder Award, click here.



For additional information, please email Cristiana Peña, Executive Director, at [email protected].


About the James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation
Twenty-five years after James Marston Fitch started the first graduate program in architectural preservation at Columbia University in 1964, he established a foundation to further his commitment to training professionals to protect and curate our built environment.

The James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation has strengthened the field of historic preservation and raised awareness about America’s rich architectural heritage. Year after year, the Foundation provides grants to enable mid-career professionals to conduct research that is of significant value to the academic community and professionals in practice around the world. Past grantees have worked on topics ranging from scenic roadways and landscapes to regulatory methods, engineering systems, house museums and more, with projects focusing on vastly different geographic regions. The grants are not envisioned as prizes for past accomplishment but are intended to support original research and creative thinking related to architectural heritage protection. The research and scholarship produced with the support of the Foundation is disseminated through publications, films and various other media and is readily available as a resource for students and practitioners.

In 2006 the Foundation established the Richard Blinder Award in honor of the former Fitch chair, architect, and founding partner of Beyer Blinder Belle. The award is presented biennially to an architect or allied professional in support of work that explores the preservation of an existing structure, complex of buildings or genre of building type through addition, renovation or other means.