The American College of the Building Arts

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Architectural Stone, Masonry, Plaster (The Traditional Masonry Program)

ACBA has developed a fully integrated traditional masonry program that is specifically designed to create a traditional masonry student-artisan who is familiar with base-level concepts acquired during the first two years and who understands and can utilize the advanced techniques in their area of Specialization (occurring during the junior and senior years).

All students in this Craft Specialization learn the baseline knowledge, theory, and technology that underpin techniques for each trade. The priority over the first two years is to understand and develop the ability to create accurate and neatly finished flat work in the three subject areas (Architectural Stone, Masonry, and Plaster). These defined areas of fundamental skills and knowledge are the essential foundation for moving onto more advanced techniques and specializing in the junior and senior years.

Architectural Stonecarving

Stone Carving

Stonemasonry has evolved from the execution of simple dry stack walls to the creation and laying of intricately detailed carving on cathedrals and monuments throughout the world. The artisans who work stone still use the same methods and tools developed over centuries, although modern techniques and tools have made the process of working stone more efficient.

These skills and the underpinning knowledge cannot be taught quickly; they require a commitment to educate oneself in becoming a knowledgeable practitioner with a highly developed skill set as well as the proficiency to work many types of stone. Practitioners of this craft should have a disposition towards highly detailed and precise work, good hand and eye coordination, a strong 3-dimensional understanding, and patience.



Of all the building arts, the art of applying plaster and stucco is the trade which has changed the least over time. Artisans still largely use the same methods and tools which have been developed over many hundreds of years. Newer materials, less costly to prepare and use, have caused resurgence in the popularity of plaster, but the traditional skills needed remain time-tested.



While masons have used the same techniques and tools for centuries, advancements in technology mean structures such as skyscrapers and suspension bridges, which 150 years ago would have been impossible to build, may now be created. ACBA's masonry specialization has been created so that the mason student-artisan is able to utilize traditional techniques and understanding, including true tuck pointing, brick carving and gauged brickwork, among others.

Traditional Masonry Program - Combined Coursework

BATT101 - Introduction to Traditional Masonry I: Mixing Mortar and Laying Masonry Level

BATT102 - Introduction to Masonry II: Layout, Basic Brick laying and Mortars

BATT201 - Intermediate Traditional Masonry I: Carving an Ovolo, Flat Plasterwork

BATT202 - Intermediate Traditional Masonry II: Carving a Cyma-Recta, Masonry Bonding and Arch Work, Running Plaster in the Workshop

BATT301 - Intermediate Traditional Masonry III: Introduction to Modeling and Casting

Architectural Stone - Specialized Coursework

BAAS302 - Architectural Stone I: Advanced Carving and Masonry Installation I

BAAS401 - Architectural Stone II: Advanced Carving and Masonry Installation II

BAAS402 - Architectural Stone II: Advanced Carving and Masonry Installation III

Masonry - Specialized Coursework

BAMA302 - Masonry I: Advanced Carving and Masonry Installation I

BAMA401 - Masonry II: Advanced Carving and Masonry Installation II

BAMA402 - Masonry III: Advanced Carving and Masonry Installation III

Plaster - Specialized Coursework

BAPL302 - Plaster I: Running In-Situ and Installation

BAPL401 - Plaster II: Basic Conservation of Historic Plaster Work

BAPL402 - Plaster III: Advanced Conservation of Historic Plaster Work

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