GCI News
New Publication
Twentieth-Century Building Materials: History and Conservation

Edited with a new preface by Thomas C. Jester

Over the concluding decades of the twentieth century, the historic preservation community increasingly turned its attention to modern buildings, including bungalows from the 1930s, gas stations and diners from the 1940s, and office buildings and architectural homes from the 1950s. Conservation efforts, however, were often hampered by a lack of technical information about the products used in these structures. To fill this gap, Twentieth-Century Building Materials was developed by the US Department of the Interior's National Park Service and was first published in 1995. Now this invaluable guide is being reissued—with a new preface by the book's original editor.

With more than 250 illustrations, including a full-color photographic essay, the book is an indispensable reference on the history and conservation of modern building materials. Thirty-seven essays written by leading experts offer insights into the history, manufacturing processes, and uses of a wide range of materials, including glass block, aluminum, plywood, linoleum, and gypsum board. Readers will also learn how these materials perform over time and will discover valuable conservation and repair techniques. Bibliographies and sources for further research complete the volume.

The book is intended for a wide range of conservation professionals, including architects, engineers, conservators, and materials scientists engaged in the conservation of modern buildings, as well as for scholars in related disciplines.

Thomas C. Jester, AIA, formerly an architectural historian with the National Park Service, is a senior architect at Quinn Evans Architects, Washington, DC, where he specializes in historic preservation.

This publication can be ordered at