Our People

Michael R. Allen | Director and Architectural Historian

forwebsiteArchitectural historian, cultural geographer and heritage conservationist Michael R. Allen founded the Preservation Research Office in 2009. Allen also is on the faculty at Washington University in St. Louis, where he is Senior Lecturer in Architecture and Landscape Architecture and Lecturer in American Culture Studies (see his personal website for more).

Through PRO, Allen had led architectural surveys, historic district nominations and rehabilitation planning efforts across the St. Louis area as well as across seven states. Allen is a frequent speaker and tour guide on matters of architectural and landscape history, social justice and place, and historic preservation. Allen works across disciplines, finding connections between cultural heritage and practices beyond historic preservation including contemporary art, urban planning, political activism and academic architectural history and theory.

Allen is the author or co-author of over 60 National Register of Historic Places nominations and the preparer of as many historic tax credit applications and historic building recordations. Allen’s writing on architectural history includes chapters in Bending the Future: 50 Ideas For the Next 50 Years of Historic Preservation (2016), The Making of An All-America City: East St. Louis at 150 (2011) and Buildings of Missouri (forthcoming, 2019; edited by Osmund Overby) as well as numerous scholarly and popular articles in Next City, Temporary Art Review, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, ArchDaily and other outlets.

Allen also serves as a board member for the National Building Arts Center, and was founding board president of the regional mid-century modern preservation group, Modern STL. Allen serves as advisor to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, American Communities Trust and Landmarks Illinois, and has served twice as a reviewer for the J.M. Kaplan Fund Innovation Prize. He has named cats after Oscar Niemeyer and Harland Bartholomew, but is not necessarily a modernist himself.