Texas A&M University-Kingsville

New A&M-Kingsville Institute of Architectural Engineering Heritage to Focus on Preservation

KINGSVILLE - August 14, 2013

Contact: Adriana Garza-Flores
adriana.garza@tamuk.edu or 361-593-4979

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents on Thursday approved the establishment of the Institute of Architectural Engineering Heritage (IAEH) in the Frank H. Dotterweich College of Engineering at Texas A&M-Kingsville—an initiative that will partner the university with other Texas A&M institutions including, Texas A&M University and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

The IAEH aims to assist in heritage preservation across Texas by assessing and documenting engineering and architecture of significant cultural and historical value. The institute also will provide support for communities and organizations in the planning and development of heritage resources. 

“South Texas and Texas, in general, is blessed with a rich and diverse architectural heritage.  The institute will give A&M-Kingsville the means to focus the talent of its faculty and staff on the preservation and documentation of these treasures,” said Dr. Stephan Nix, dean of the College of Engineering.

This type of historic documentation and recording has becoming increasingly important, said Jim Glusing, assistant professor in the Civil and Architectural Engineering department at A&M-Kingsville and director of the IAEH.

“Documentation of sites and cultural history allows for research on places and events it may not be practical to study in person,” Glusing said. “Documentation also insures a ‘place’ can be repaired or if necessary reconstructed, for the enjoyment of future generations. Periodic documentation of heritage sites not only records physical changes, but it records the cultural significance placed upon the site at different points in history,” he said.

Glusing said an increase in the popularity of heritage tourism and an underrepresentation of Texas heritage sites documented in the Library of Congress make preserving historical and cultural sites imperative.

According to the Texas Historical Commission, heritage tourism, or tourism tied to cultural sites, is the fastest growing segment of tourism and is responsible for $44 billion in direct spending annually. Further preservation and documentation of heritage sites will support continued growth in the area.

Additionally, more than half of the 256 counties in Texas are not currently represented in the Historic American Building Survey (HABS) and Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) of the Library of Congress. The IAEH and its partners will seek to assist unrepresented communities in sharing their heritage through documentation and preservation.

The IAEH also will assist communities that have reaped the economic benefits of the Eagle Ford Shale boom, while facing challenges associated with expanding infrastructure as a result of activity around the play.

Students will participate in the historic documentation and planning that will span across the state. They also will be able to glean information about academic and research programs offered by other partner institutions, while developing highly marketable skill sets including Geographic Information Systems (GIS), surveying and photography. Students also will have the opportunity to earn heritage preservation and GIS certification.

Multi-disciplinary in nature, the IAEH will involve various programs and departments across the A&M-Kingsville and Texas A&M University campuses. 

“The institutions and research groups partnering to create the IAEH are all proven leaders in

their fields of expertise,” Glusing said. “The multi-disciplinary nature of the IAEH will provide our partners with related resources to address larger projects.” 

Current institute collaborators include:

Texas A&M-Kingsville

  • College of Engineering
  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • South Texas Archives
  • Geographic Information Systems Laboratory

Texas A&M University

  • Center for Heritage Conservation
  • Department of Landscaping, Architecture and Urban Planning

Federal Agencies

  • National Park Service

State Agencies

  • Texas Historical Commission 

Glusing said the IAEH and its partner institutions will provide a unique perspective on heritage preservation. 

“Partners of the IAEH each have their own specialties including engineering, architecture, planning, history and communications. There are a number of architectural preservation research groups around the country; however, the National Park Service Heritage Documentation Program is unaware of any focusing on engineering heritage. Incorporating the documentation and study of historic engineering and landscape architecture, based upon their merit rather than in support of architectural preservation is unique to the IAEH,” Glusing said. 

For additional information about the IAEH visit http://www.tamuk.edu/engineering/iaeh/

This page was last updated on: August 14, 2013