Background: Mr. Bluestone is a specialist in nineteenth century American architecture and urbanism. He directs the School's historic preservation program that offers courses and specialized preservation work in a student's field of study as well as courses that scrutinize the general principles and ethics of historic preservation. Mr. Bluestone’s Buildings, Landscapes, and Memory: Case Studies in Historic Preservation (W.W. Norton, 2011) received the Society of Architectural Historians 2013 Antoinette Forrester Downing Book Award for “the most outstanding publication devoted to historical topics in the preservation field that enhances the understanding and protection of the built environment.” The book surveys the changing history, nature, and politics of historic preservation in the United States between the early 19th century and today. Mr. Bluestone’s book Constructing Chicago (1991) was awarded the American Institute of Architects International Book Award and the National Historic Preservation book prize.
Mr. Bluestone teaches courses that survey the methods of site-specific architectural and landscape history and preservation. He also teaches the history and theory of historic preservation. A highly regarded advocate of community preservation and public history, Mr. Bluestone has worked on numerous building and neighborhood revitalization projects. Working as part of the Historic Chicago Bungalow Initiative he developed the thematic nomination for the listing up to 80,000 Chicago bungalows on the National Register of Historic Places, an effort directed at interpreting, preserving, and revitalizing Chicago bungalow neighborhoods. In 2005, working with students from the University of Virginia, he took the lead in the National Register designation the 5000 building Pilsen Historic District in Chicago; built in the late 19th and early 20th century by Chicago’s Bohemian immigrants, Pilsen is now the center of a vital Mexican American community. Recognized among the “C-Ville 20” for his leadership in historic preservation in the Charlottesville region, and in particular his leadership in the effort by Charlottesville’s Legal Aid Justice Center to adapt the Charles B. Holt Rock House for use as a pro bono legal aid clinic and to develop the Charles B. Holt African American Heritage Path.
In 2007 Mr. Bluestone shared in the National Trust/HUD Secretary's Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation. The award recognized the rehabilitation of the Raymond M. Hilliard Center, a five building Chicago Public Housing Project designed between 1962 and 1966 by renowned modern Architect Bertrand Goldberg. Mr. Bluestone conducted the historical research and employed the challenging Category G criterion (for historic properties of less than 50 years old) in obtaining National Register of Historic Places listing for Hilliard. This work made possible the $100 million dollar rehabilitation of the Hilliard Center as a historic renovation directed by the Secretary of the Interior guidelines on rehabilitation and supported by federal tax credits. Mr. Bluestone shared in the 2009 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation/Landmarks Illinois Preservation Award, for the affordable housing and historic preservation rehabilitation of Pacesetter Gardens, in Riverdale, Illinois. In 2011 Mr. Bluestone became the first historian to win the Virginia Design Medal, a fellowship for supporting collaboration with Hanbury, Evans, Wright & Vlattas.
In 2011-2012 the community history workshop focused on the changing nature of Charlottesville’s residential landscape. Their work involved an exhibition displayed at the Albemarle Charlottesville Historic Society, The MORE THAN A ROOF: CHARLOTTESVILLE RESIDENTIAL. The workshop also curated a tour of HOUSES AGAINST THE GRAIN as part of Charlottesville’s Preservation Week and 250th Anniversary celebration.
In 2009-2010 the community history workshop joined the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Virginia, and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in charting the history and the future of Belmead-St. Emma-St. Francis located in Powhatan County, Virginia. This richly layered 2,300-acre site includes an 1840s mansion designed by Alexander Jackson Davis for Philip St. George Cocke. The site also has the extraordinary remains of two schools operated between the 1890s and the 1970s to educate African American children modeled on Booker T. Washington’s pedagogical and social vision. The challenge now is to find a future use of the site that respects the history, the land, and projects a sustainable future.
In 2012 Mr. Bluestone was the co-leader with W.G. Clark of the Belmont UnAbridged team of students from the School of Architecture that won the first prize in both the Professional Jury and the People’s Choice Award in the Belmont Vortex Project Gait-Way Belmont Bridge Design Competition. Historical dimensions of the project can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXM4TAqTWBs