Living heritage trades academy
The Living Heritage Trades Academy of San Antonio is a program developed by the Office of Historic Preservation to provide training of traditional crafts and skills through apprenticeships, hands-on training, and class instruction on topics related to pre-1960 traditional building construction methods and materials.
The Office of Historic Preservation is committed to outreach and education. The vision for the Living Heritage Trades Academy is a result of a culmination of over a decade of laying groundwork for a robust, integrative, and locally rooted approach to trades education. Since 2009, we have established programs to train homeowners, contractors, college students, and realtors on the importance of the cultural, economic, workforce, and environmental benefits of retaining original materials and buildings. In 2021, we expanded the academy by introducing youth workforce development programs.
San Antonio has a culture of talented and skilled trade practitioners recognized throughout the state, but those skills may be lost without the opportunity to hand these legacy skills and traditions over to the next generation. Studies have shown that half of traditional tradesmen are over the age of 45. With retirements looming, there is a shortage of skilled and experienced and subcontractors. Adding to this gap is the low percentage of tradeswomen. Estimates show that out of 100 front line employees in the construction field, only 1 is a woman.
In addition to filling the gap in a trained workforce, the program highlights the concept that the master craftsman and woman is just as important as our most significant historic buildings or sites. These artisans and the traditional knowledge they possess are worthy of exploration, celebration, and perpetuation. Through their work, this program will increase awareness of the building and construction heritage of San Antonio and the Southcentral region of Texas by instilling pride in the community, celebrating traditions, perpetuating craft and skill, while preserving cultural heritage.
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documents and resources links
Wood Window Restoration Certification student resources (Level III courses)
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STUDENTS TOGETHER ACHIEVING REVITALIZATION (S.T.A.R.)
S.T.A.R. is a partnership between the Office of Historic Preservation, the UTSA College of Architecture, San Antonio College, the Historic Preservation Association (HPA), and local contractors to provide minor exterior home repairs and maintenance to homeowners within local historic districts.
Read more about the S.T.A.R. Program
San Antonio’s heritage is vital to the city’s cultural, economic, and environmental sustainability. OHP’s Youth Programs are aimed to cultivate and nurture a new generation of stewards for our heritage while also meeting the needs of students to fulfill core curriculum requirements.
Read more about Youth Programs
The Rehabber Club's mission is to build and support a network of do-it-yourselfers, craftsmen, contractors, historic homeowners, realtors, and everyday citizens to revitalize San Antonio’s historic buildings. We accomplish this through training, certification, community events, networking, and plain ole encouragement.
Read more about Rehabber Club
Kelso House Learning Lab
Learn more about the Kelso House Learning Lab made possible through a partnership with the Power of Preservation Foundation. The Kelso House is a grand 20th century home in the Monte Vista Historic District that has become a hands-on learning lab.
Read more about this innovative initiative and see the transformation of the house.
Preservationists have been engaging with sustainable practices including adaptive reuse, material conservation, and traditional crafts and trades for decades. The built environment of San Antonio bears the mark of centuries of hazard events including flash flooding, droughts, and violent storms. With this knowledge of past climate adaptations, OHP is addressing the challenges of climate change as it impacts the cultural heritage of San Antonio.
Read more about Climate Heritage.
Deconstruction & Salvage Policy Initiative
OHP staff has worked with stakeholders and the public to draft a potential deconstruction ordinance that would apply to older buildings approved for demolition. Deconstruction is a more sustainable approach to building removal than demolition, and the repurposing of high-quality and valuable historic materials contributes to the local economy.
Read more about Deconstruction & Salvage.