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Master in Architectural Conservation and Rehabilitation

The Architectural Conservation and Rehabilitation program at Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico prepares leaders in the documentation, technology, and conservation of historic structures, sites, and neighborhoods to protect our built environment and heritage.

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Program Description

The Master in Architectural Conservation and Rehabilitation (M.ARCO) at Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico prepares leaders in the documentation, technology, and conservation of historic structures, sites, and neighborhoods to protect our built environment and heritage.

At Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico´s the Master in Architectural Conservation and Rehabilitation, we encourage individuals from diverse backgrounds and offer them the opportunity to learn about the field of preservation in one of the oldest countries in the New World. Puerto Rico’s rich built environment – resulting from its five hundred years of architectural heritage – will serve as a laboratory, providing myriad opportunities to experience historic preservation first-hand.


The mission of the Master in Architectural Conservation and Rehabilitation at Polytechnic University is to prepare leaders in the documentation, technology, and conservation of historic structures, sites, and neighborhoods. Students will acquire the diverse skills necessary for their professional careers to face the multiple challenges posed today to protect our built environment, addressing the built heritage of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Region.


To implement our philosophy and vision, the Master in Architectural Conservation and Rehabilitation (M.ARCO) has established the following goals in its offerings:

  • Understanding the history of the design environment; including the history of architecture, urban development, landscape architecture, and material culture
  • Understanding the history and theory of historic preservation
  • Ability to perform documentation and recording techniques used in preservation and archeology
  • Field application of knowledge, including communication skills and hands-on experience
  • Ability to understand issues of appropriateness, restoration, rehabilitation, in-fill, exterior and interior concerns at a variety of scales, and their effect on buildings, neighborhoods, communities, and landscapes
  • Ability to understand the history, evaluation, and conservation in the normal range of building materials and systems
  • Ability to understand the marketing principles, private, and public finance, property management, and budget preparation

Comprehend the constitutional law, preservation case law, federal, state, and local regulatory legislation and administration.

Graduate Profile

The Master in Architectural Conservation and Rehabilitation (M.ARCO) intends to develop professionals with the necessary knowledge to work on multidisciplinary projects related to architectural conservation and rehabilitation.

Students completing the M.ARCO Degree will be able to acquire knowledge and skills such as:

  • Recognizing how historical events and precedents have served as vital tools to support planning and design solutions and reactions
  • Comprehending spatial, formal, compositional and technological expression as understood today
  • Identifying key architectural styles, materials and technologies, as well as historical references
  • Outlining significant features and characteristics of vernacular architecture
  • Being able to distinguish basic philosophical, methodological, and practical approaches to address conservation, restoration, rehabilitation, and adaptive reuse projects
  • Identifying tools to come to terms with theoretical, contextual, and pragmatic issues conducted simultaneously in architectural conservation
  • Developing a sense for strong arguments to debate and/or defend contemporary conservation stances as developed throughout history
  • Demonstrating proper establishment methods to analyze structures, by differentiating from structural and esthetical conditions and understanding the diverse techniques for assessing building conditions.
  • Recognizing the difference between primary and secondary sources of historic, construction and architecture relevance to place them within the larger context of their place and time.
  • Developing a broader understanding of the skills necessary to work on an architectural conservation project, by demonstrating learning applications of research and surveys and the use of preservation technologies while working on a real project
  • Devising issues, scoping, researching, articulating, and planning solutions for the preservation of specific structures and their environment
  • Examining the role of theories and debates concerning preservation of the built environment, planning, its legal underpinnings, interpretation and advocacy
  • Prioritizing current political and economic issues affecting preservation in the public realm
  • Understanding technical vocabulary, being knowledgeable and proficient regarding traditional construction technologies and contemporary building preservation of traditional building materials
  • Comprehending diagnostic techniques and possible architectural conservation philosophical alternatives
  • Acknowledging compatibility in design as well as in any intervention procedure and construction materials between historic and contemporary interventions
  • Understanding historic preservation principles and theories in the United States and Puerto Rico, including how to assess the National Register of Historic Places, National Historic Landmark and the local Register Sites and Historic Zones managed by the Puerto Rico Planning Board
  • Comprehending the delicate balance that entails preserving irreplaceable historic places
  • Appreciating the intricacies and complexities of the planning and execution of federally assisted projects designed to pursue economic growth and development and conserving historic properties

Admission Requirements

  • All applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution (or its equivalent from a foreign institution) with a minimum grade-point average of 2.75. There is no restriction on the applicant’s previous field of study, and indeed we encourage diversity in all senses.
  • Graduate Application Form
  • Demographic sheet
  • A non-refundable admission fee
  • Official transcripts

Career Opportunities

Conservationists are responsible for the protection of built historic heritage, which includes all the buildings with cultural heritage value that have been nominated or should be nominated by the different offices and / or agencies, whether public or private. In addition, they carry out the historical, graphic, and photographic documentation of the structure, and the supervision or direction of projects that are executed in these structures so that the interventions comply with the standards and norms of conservation.

The alumni of the Graduate Program on Architectural Conservation and Rehabilitation at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico will serve as an important resource and base of support for the graduate department and to the heritage conservation of Puerto Rico. After graduation, the new professionals in conservation could serve as staff and conservation officers in private and public major local and state preservation organizations and preservation societies, such as: Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (ICP), Oficina Estatal de Conservación Histórica (OECH-SHPO), Para la Naturaleza, National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Park Service, and many more. Furthermore, alumni could serve as mentors for current graduates and help promote historic preservation education through workshops and other events.

Curricular Sequence

The Master of Architectural Conservation and Rehabilitation focuses on:

  • History courses, theory of conservation, and architectural preservation
  • Courses on the history of the city and the vernacular architecture of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean
  • Courses on documentation, research, analysis of the built environment, and conservation proposals
  • Course on preservation technology
  • Architectural Conservation Laboratory
  • Course on laws, economics, and regulations in architectural conservation
  • Archeology courses in architecture and cultural landscapes
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