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Campus Preservation Plan Gets Under Way with $175,000 Grant from Getty Foundation

The University of Texas at Austin has received a grant of $175,000 from the Getty Foundation in Los Angeles to help develop a preservation plan for the university’s historic core, widely and traditionally referred to as the ‘Forty Acres.’

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AUSTIN, Texas—The University of Texas at Austin has received a grant of $175,000 from the Getty Foundation in Los Angeles to help develop a preservation plan for the university’s historic core, widely and traditionally referred to as the "Forty Acres."

The two-year project, part of the Getty Foundation’s Campus Heritage initiative, will enable the university to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of the campus.

"The University of Texas at Austin is home to some of the nation’s finest academic architecture and designed landscapes," said Deborah Marrow, director of the Getty Foundation. "We are pleased to support the planning that will ensure the long-term preservation of these important historic resources."

The Preservation Plan, which includes graduate instruction, continuing education workshops, an interpretation of campus history and establishment of a long-term material collection and test site monitoring protocol will be broken down into four components:

  • a cultural resource survey to determine eligibility of the campus to the National Register of Historic Places;
  • a cultural landscape inventory which will include a management plan for the historic landscape;
  • an architectural plan based on a comprehensive survey of conditions of the exteriors of buildings;
  • an in-depth investigation, including laboratory and field testings of conservation methods for a representative set of buildings.

"We are delighted the Getty Foundation has decided to collaborate with us in preserving the historic buildings and landscapes of The University of Texas at Austin," said Pat Clubb, vice president for employee and campus services. "The historic fabric of our campus is a vital part of this institution’s identity, and the Getty Foundation’s generous gift will help us preserve the university’s architectural legacy so the state of Texas and the world can benefit from the remarkable beauty of our campus."

Through the educational component of the award, students will take part in the development of the preservation plan and will have the opportunity to work with experts from Volz and Associates, an award-winning architectural firm that has provided previous preservation consulting for the university.

"It’s important for preservation students to work on real projects," said Michael Holleran, director of the graduate program in historic preservation in the School of Architecture and project supervisor. "Our students will be working on one of the most significant projects in the country."

The university’s preservation program includes the unique Architectural Conservation Laboratory, a facility staffed with a full-time conservation scientist, allowing large parts of the conservation plan to be done in house, rather than being sent to outside consultants. 

As supervising architect for the university from 1930-1945, Paul Cret, a French architect educated at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, was commissioned by the University of Texas System Board of Regents to draw up a development plan for The University of Texas at Austin campus. An earlier plan and two buildings were designed by Cass Gilbert, architect of the Woolworth Building in New York City and the United States Supreme Court.

In his design—based on timeless elements of beauty, flexibility, comfort, balance and symmetry—Cret created a strong central identity point (the UT Tower) surrounded by four treed quadrangles, extending in the four cardinal directions from the Main Building, bringing a sense of order to the campus. In the years that followed, Cret designed a number of additional buildings on campus, all patterned to enhance the inviting urban design already in place.

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

For more information contact: Amy Maverick Crossette, School of Architecture, 512-573-1078.