SAH News

SAH Announces Major Grant for Charnley-Persky House Conservation Management Plan

by SAH News | Feb 05, 2016

Download the press release

Charnley-Persky HouseThe Society of Architectural Historians has received a $123,000 grant from the Alphawood Foundation to hire Harboe Architects to develop a conservation management plan for Charnley-Persky House. Designed by Adler and Sullivan in 1891–1892 when Frank Lloyd Wright was an apprentice in their office, Charnley-Persky House will celebrate the 125th anniversary of its design in 2016 with a new conservation management plan that will assess the current physical state of the structure, identify potential problem areas, and establish conservation priorities for the continued health of the building. Charnley-Persky House serves as the headquarters of the Society of Architectural Historians, an international not-for-profit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide.  

As an advocate for heritage conservation, SAH is extremely grateful to the Alphawood Foundation for giving the organization the ability to care for this Chicago and National Historic Landmark. SAH President Kenneth Breisch commented, “SAH has been a good steward of Charnley-Persky House for the 21 years that the house has been in our hands, but it has long been our dream to develop a conservation management plan for the house so that we can anticipate its weaknesses before they become emergencies. Now we can proactively care for this remarkable house.”   

Work on the conservational management plan will begin in February 2016 with a final plan anticipated in February 2017. SAH also hopes to produce a series of short, educational videos to document some of the material and structural testing called for in the plan. The hope is that the videos will be used as an informational resource by heritage conservation professors and students as well as architects, building owners and conservators. 

Executive Director Pauline Saliga said, “When Seymour Persky donated funds to purchase the house in 1995, SAH made the commitment to conserve the house to the highest standards possible and to keep it open to the public. We are pleased that the Alphawood Foundation and Harboe Architects will help us honor that commitment for the benefit of current and future generations who continue to learn and be inspired by this house.” 

About Harboe Architects, PC
Harboe Architects, PC was founded in March 2006 by T. Gunny Harboe, FAIA, Fellow, US/ICOMOS. Previous to starting his own firm, Harboe spent more than 17 years at McClier (which became Austin/AECOM) where he gained a national reputation for his dedication to preservation ideals along with his ability to find appropriate solutions to design and technical challenges related to preserving our cultural heritage. Key Harboe Architects staff members, Bob Score, AIA, and Mark Kasprzyk, AIA, worked with Mr. Harboe for a number of years at McClier before joining him in the new firm. Their restoration work has been recognized with over two dozen awards, including several awards from the National AIA, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. They have worked on numerous National Historic Landmarks as well as many local landmarks and National Register properties including Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple, Robie House and Taliesin West; Louis Sullivan’s Carson Pirie Scott Store; Mies van der Rohe’s S.R. Crown Hall, Carr Chapel and 860–880 Lake Shore Drive; as well as the Rookery, Reliance, and the Marquette Buildings of the first “Chicago School”. The American Institute of Architects named Harboe a “2001 Young Architect” and in 2015 the Society of Architectural Historians gave him the SAH Award for Excellence in Architectural Conservation. Harboe currently serves as a Vice President of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on 20th Century Heritage and is a board member of Docomomo US and the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy.

About the Alphawood Foundation
Alphawood Foundation is a Chicago-based, grant-making private foundation working for an equitable, just, and humane society. Each year Alphawood Foundation award grants to organizations, primarily in the areas of advocacy, architecture and preservation, the arts and arts education, promotion and protection of the rights of LGBT citizens and people living with HIV/AIDS, and other human and civil rights. Learn more at

About the Society of Architectural Historians
Founded in 1940, the Society of Architectural Historians is a nonprofit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide. SAH serves a network of local, national and international institutions and individuals who, by vocation or avocation, focus on the built environment and its role in shaping contemporary life. SAH promotes meaningful public engagement with the history of the built environment through advocacy efforts, print and online publications, and local, national and
international programs. Learn more at

Photo credit: Charnley-Persky House by David Schalliol

The 2016 Charnley-Persky House Conservation Management Plan has been funded by a generous grant from the Alphawood Foundation Chicago.


SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
1365 N. Astor Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610