Historical and Sustainable Architecture (MA)

Department Website

Program Description

The Master of Arts Degree in Historical and Sustainable Architecture is a nine-month program focusing on the creative reuse of older buildings.  In an era when the demolition of older buildings has been recognized, not just as a loss to the urban fabric but also as a major source of environmental pollution, retaining historic structures and using them for new purposes is increasingly desirable — and profitable.  This program explores innovative ways to reconcile real estate development with historical preservation and environmental protection by recycling existing structures.  The course of study combines academic training and research with experiential learning opportunities, and the program operates within the framework of New York University’s London facility. 

British architects, designers, builders and developers are leaders in the field of adaptive reuse and sustainable architecture.  For this reason, the program is based in London, where our faculty consists of the city’s innovative architects and designers.  Working under restrictive historic protection orders, these designers have successfully reused both important and modest older buildings, adapting them to new uses and integrating them into new projects built around, over, and even under historic structures.  Our students will have the rare opportunity to study with these leading practitioners. 

We welcome a diverse student body, including recent American college graduates and professionals, as well as applicants from other nations.  Program graduates will put their training to practical use throughout the world.  As demand grows for reuse rather than new construction, our students will help contribute new solutions to the challenges of contemporary urban planning and real estate development.  Graduates will shape the urban environment as architects, city planners, public administrators, non-profit advocates, public and private consultants, and real estate developers.

The curriculum also proposes to extend sustainable practices beyond architecture and building into the realm of urban design.  Students will examine successful strategies for reviving entire districts, cities, and regions around repurposed historic buildings in areas as diverse as the London Docklands, the Puerto Madero neighborhood in Buenos Aires, and the older industrial regions of Germany.  These examples suggest new possibilities for post-industrial, “Rust Belt” cities in the U.S., such as Buffalo and Cleveland, where the numerous historic buildings provide resources to be adapted for new uses, not liabilities to be demolished. 

The MA in Historical and Sustainable Architecture is the first academic program to unite the topics of sustainable architecture, adaptive reuse, and historic preservation within a single curriculum.  Combining the multiple perspectives of finance, environmentalism, education, tourism, and government policy, this program will explore older buildings as assets, not hindrances, to real estate development.  Sponsored by the Urban Design and Architecture Studies program of the Art History Department at New York University, the MA program in Historical and Sustainable Architecture will benefit from the New York program’s tradition of interdisciplinary analysis and its broad, humanistic perspective on urban design.

See Master of Arts in Historical and Sustainable Architecture for further information about the program.


All applicants to the Graduate School of Arts and Science (GSAS) are required to submit the general application requirements, which include:

See Historical and Sustainable Architecture for admission requirements and instructions specific to this program.