Working in wood, stone, brick, and metal, in plaster, paint, glass, and clay, they transform designs on paper into three-dimensional works of art. Much depends on their workmanship and skill: on their deep understanding of raw materials, their careful selection and use of tools, their mastery of technique. The final product is the result not only of their knowledge and abilities, but also their creativity and care—their will to excellence.
Artisans in the building trades share a deep appreciation for the aesthetic value and expressive power of technical perfection. They delight in skill and find meaning and pleasure in the poetic qualities of workmanship—in their ability to craft objects of beauty and strength through their special touch. Their great pride and creative spirit, their love for their work, and their commitment to excellence are manifested in a lasting legacy of architectural achievement left behind for generations to come.
This program celebrates the extraordinary artistry of craftspeople in the building arts and explores the many challenges they face today as they work to preserve our nation’s past and build for the future. The following page features just a few of the many master artisans—stone carvers, masons, carpenters, terra cotta artisans, plasterers, blacksmiths, stained glass artisans, and adobe builders—who have enriched our world with the work of their hands.
Masters of the Building Arts is dedicated to the memory of stone carver Vincent Palumbo, 1936–2000.
This program was produced in collaboration with the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers and the International Masonry Institute, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Building Museum, the American Institute of Architects, and the Preservation Trades Network.