By Assist. Prof. Dr. Ceylan İrem Gençer, Yıldız Technical University (YTU), Istanbul, Turkey
This summer, I am working for the Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) in the City of San Antonio, Texas. There are five Spanish Colonial Mission complexes situated along the San Antonio River, they were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2015. The Historic Missions District includes the World Heritage buffer zone around the missions as well as the corridors created by the avenues of Roosevelt and S Presa, which contain historic houses and commercial buildings. My task is to conduct a standing structure survey and help the City’s Cultural Historian, Claudia Guerra, formulate a Statement of Significance with recommended treatment of properties, including cultural treatment, for the Historic Missions District, focusing on these corridors.
The River is not only a significant asset for the Missions and the surrounding land, but also a cultural link uniting the local residents who have been cultivating the rich soil of the river basin land for centuries. In this regard, my initial task is to study the more densely urbanized areas in the District and define the contributing and non-contributing resources with the OHP team. Then I will continue on surveying the contributing resources. My final task will be to provide a recommendation for the preservation guidelines for the Missions District. In the meantime, I will be participating in the meetings related with World Heritage team and the Historic and Design Review Commission.