The American College of the Building Arts

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ACBA Lecture Series

In years past, ACBA maintained a lecture series that ran monthly during its academic year. Due to the construction, move, and adjustment to our new campus took precedence last year, and we allowed the lecture series to lapse. However, we are pleased to announce that the 2017-18 academic year will see a return to form with fantastic speakers worthy of our tradition.

Our new lecture series is raising funds toward our brand new specialization in Classical Architecture. Please join us in our new building and meet these terrific speakers.


September 28 - Calder Loth - Architectural Reconstructions

Reconstructions of destroyed historic building serve educational, emotional, aesthetic, and patriotic needs. Few reconstructions are lamented. Nevertheless, reconstructions are normally discouraged except in rare circumstances. Calder Loth will discuss and illustrate prominent reconstructed historic landmarks in the United States and Europe, demonstrating that fire, war, vandalism, and other disasters need not deprive us of important cultural heritage. He will also discuss several buildings that are potential candidates for reconstruction

Calder Loth is the Senior Architectural Historian of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. He is Co-President of the Center of Palladian Studies in America, a member of the Virginia State Art and Architectural Review Board, and serves on boards or advisory committees of numerous historic properties, including Stratford Hall, Gunston Hall, Kenmore, Menokin, Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, and the University of Virginia. He also teaches architectural literacy for the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art and serves on its Advisory Council. In 2008 he was the recipient of the first Secretary of the Interior’s Award for service of state preservation programs. In 2010-2011, Loth served as a co-curator of the Royal Institute of British Architecture’s exhibition “Palladio and His Legacy, A Transatlantic Journey,” and was the author of Congressional Resolution No. 259 honoring the 500th anniversary of Palladio’s birth.

November 2 - Ralph Harvard - A Georgian Folly for the 21st Century

Interior designer and preservationist Ralph Harvard will take you on a journey through the design and furnishing process of an historically-inspired house. Built in the style of a Georgian garden folly overlooking the James River, it is home to the Colonial Williamsburg curator of prints and maps. Harvard’s process includes the use of pattern-book interpretation, and historical inspiration from Greece, Rome, Ireland, and the Colonial South, with some Jeffersonian dimensions thrown in. Join us for this evening lecture on the fitting of a modern house with historical elements.

Ralph Harvard has been working as a designer in New York since 1981 and in related fields for over forty years. As an Architectural Historian and Preservationist, his focus is always on good design, classical proportions, and quality craftsmanship. Ralph Harvard holds a degree from the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia as well as a degree in Interior Design. He attended the Preservation Institute in Nantucket, the Attingham School in Britain, studied Palladian Architecture in the Veneto region of Italy, and attended the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He is closely involved with a number of preservation groups, he is past Chairman of the American Friends of the Georgian Group, a non-profit concern that promotes the appreciation and preservation of Georgian architecture. He is on the advisory boards of The Decorative Arts Trust and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, where he has spearheaded a complete reinterpretation of the decorative aspects of the museum. Ralph is currently working on four projects in the Charleston area from the 1760’s – 1920’s.

November 16 - Bobby McAlpine - Poetry of Place

In a lecture based on his new book, Poetry of Place (Rizzoli 2017), Bobby McAlpine speaks about the creation of romantic houses over his 35 plus year career. Continuing the story from his best selling first book, Bobby picks up where he left off delving into the heart’s longing for home and breaking the rules of traditional architecture, harvesting what is true to tell your own story.

Born in an Alabama sawmill town, Bobby McAlpine designed his first house at the age of five and hasn’t stopped since. Architect, romantic, poet, and entrepreneur, he envisions home as a timeless, graceful, and emotionally evocative place. From the time he founded the firm in 1983, he has realized this ideal in a diverse array of traditional styles and regional vernaculars for clients all over the country and abroad. Today, known simply as McALPINE, the firm now embraces a brilliant and eclectic family of architects and interior designers with offices in Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and New York. They have been listed on Architectural Digest’s AD100 and Elle Décor’s A-List. Their designs include hundreds of residences, restaurants, private chapels, follies in a public park and on private lands, hotels, a school, a rehabilitated town, and a family compound on a private island in the Caribbean. Their extensive portfolio has been widely published in several books and many periodicals including VERANDA, ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST, HOUSE BEAUTIFUL, SOUTHERN ACCENTS, ELLE DECOR, SOUTHERN LIVING, HOUSE AND GARDEN (both US and British editions), GARDEN AND GUN, COASTAL LIVING, MILIEU, and TRADITIONAL HOME. Bobby’s popular furniture line, McAlpine Home, is available nationwide. He holds both architecture and interior design degrees and he continues his lifetime of learning in the world’s classroom. Bobby’s critically acclaimed first book, The Home Within Us (2010), quickly became and remains a Rizzoli bestseller.His second book, Art of the House (Rizzoli 2014), was co-authored with his interior design partner Susan Ferrier. His much anticipated third book, Poetry of Place (Rizzoli 2017), will be released in October 2017.

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