CategoryChapter Programs

LEARNING TO SEE: REVISITING DENISE SCOTT BROWN’S WORK AND IDEAS

With AIA National President Peter Exley and Carolina Vaccaro, Scholar and Curator
Thursday, April 22, at 4:00 p.m.
Free and open to all via this Zoom link:
https://temple.zoom.us/j/95425410506

This is the third talk in SAH Philadelphia’s The Elusive Philadelphia School; The Many Guises of Philadelphia’s Modernism lecture series. Keep your eye on our website for future talks in this series www.philachaptersah.org

“Denise Scott Brown: ‘Learning to See’” will be on exhibit at Temple Contemporary from May 20 through September 19, 2021.

Denise Scott Brown is regarded as among the most influential architects of the twentieth century; through her architecture, planning, theoretical writing and mentorship she and her late partner, Robert Venturi are credited with changing the course of American Architecture.

One of the guiding principles underlying this new trajectory is a non-judgmental way of looking at and responding as designers to the everyday built environment. This “Learning From . . .” approach is vividly conveyed in the photography of Denise Scott Brown.

The photos on display document Scott Brown’s travels, inspirations and interests through the lens—from the rural vernacular of South Africa to the beauty and banality of European cities, to the significance of pop culture in the American built environment, like the Las Vegas Strip, through its gas stations, billboards, roadside stores, signs, advertisements and more. (https://www.archdaily.com/959625/learning-to-see-denise-scott-brown)

In advance of the show’s opening, SAH Philadelphia, in conjunction with the Tyler Department of Architecture is pleased to bring together two prominent architect/scholars in their own right, who learned from, and were profoundly influenced by, their formative experiences with Venturi Scott Brown and their associates.

Peter Exley, FAIA, AIA President, co-founder of the Chicago based firm architectureisfun: Peter Exley has established an internationally-recognized, award winning practice of architecture for children, families and communities elevating the standards of design for learning and play environments. He worked at Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates in the late 1980’s.

Carolina Vaccaro is an architect and scholar based in Rome, Italy, and has published multiple works around this topic. Vaccaro worked at the office of Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates in the 1980s. She is the scientific curator and designer of the “Denise Scott Brown: ‘Learning to See’” exhibition at Tyler Contemporary.

We hope you will join us for what promises to be a lively and revealing discussion.

The photography of Denise Scott Brown has been featured in a variety of shows and publications, including:

Aperture
(https://aperture.org/editorial/denise-scott-brown-las-vegas/

Graham Foundation
http://www.grahamfoundation.org/public_exhibitions/3878-las-vegas-studio-images-from-the-archives-of-robert-venturi-and-denise-scott-brown

Carriage Trade, N.Y.
https://carriagetrade.org/Denise-Scott-Brown-Photographs

Arch Record / Venice Biennale
http://www.architecturalrecord.com/articles/11824-view-master-the-world-as-seen-by-denise-scott-brown

A BOLD VENTURE FOR HEALTH: KLING’S LANKENAU HOSPITAL AND THE ARCHITECTURE OF COMMUNITY

by Kevin Block, PhD
Thursday, March 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Free, no registration required
Online via Zoom, see below for access information

Lankenau Hospital was, perhaps, the most modern community hospital in America when it opened near the beginning of suburban Philadlephia’s prestigious Main Line in December of 1953. Wowed by its Atomic Age medical technology and focus on preventive health, the local press hailed Lankenau as an entirely “new kind of hospital.” The editors of Architectural Record and Progressive Architecture, meanwhile, awarded Kling’s design national honors for transcending the merely functional requirements of a healthcare facility. To them, Lankenau was “real architecture.” Edmund Bacon, Philadelphia’s famous master planner, was so impressed by Kling’s model for Lankenau that after seeing it he invited Kling to work with him on Center City’s urban renewal. Lankenau was thus the beginning of Kling’s transformation from a young hospital architect into the owner of what would become Philadelphia’s most prominent corporate architecture firm.

While historians tend to think of corporate architecture as placeless practice and overlook the importance of regional firms in the evolution of what is now a global design industry, Lankenau was a complicated, elite-directed exercise in middle-class community building, one that projected an image of scientifically administered healthcare in order to manage the process of postwar suburbanization. Central to this image was the architect himself. Kling not only served as a designer, but he also appeared as a glamorous “new man” in fundraising and promotional material that aimed to excite Philadelphia’s upper class. In reading the design of Lankenau alongside the use of Kling’s persona in Lankenau’s “A Bold Venture for Health” fundraising campaign, this presentation will attempt to complicate the prevailing theory of corporate architecture as placeless practice with a locally-informed case study in the architecture of community development.

Kevin Block is an architectural historian and preservationist who received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley. He has taught courses in architectural history and American Studies at Berkeley and, most recently, at Princeton. His research focuses on the history of American architecture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, especially the development of architecture as a profession. This presentation is part of a book-length project about Vincent Kling and the figure of the corporate architect. He writes a newsletter about this project entitled “The Architect as Doer” (https://tinyletter.com/kpb/archive). He was born in Lankenau Hospital.”

This is the second talk in The Elusive Philadelphia School; The Many Guises of Philadelphia’s Modernism lecture series. Keep your eye on our website for future talks in this series www.philachaptersah.org”

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ALFRED PANEPINTO: MODERNIST?

by Alfred Willis, PhD, Consultant/Researcher in Architectural History
Thursday, March 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Free, no registration required.
Online via Zoom, see below for access information.

For over fifty years Alfred Panepinto (1907-94 ) pursued a career in greater Philadelphia after completing his architectural education at Harvard University in 1931. His long-term employment by Sun Oil Co., beginning in 1934, laid the foundation for his success. A notable feature of his career was his frequent service to clients noted for a commitment to conservative politics, notably J. Howard Pew of Sun Oil.

In the 1950s and 1960s Panepinto built a significant number of structures for academic institutions, including Grove City College and the PMC Colleges (later Widener University) in Pennsylvania and Hampton Institute (now University) in Virginia. Examination of those and several other of Panepinto’s contemporary buildings sheds light on the compositional strategies the architect employed to achieve effects that were unequivocally Modern yet appealing to clients opposed to the progressivism often associated with mid-20th-centruy Modernism. This light permits a new assessment of the so-called retreat from Modernism ca. 1960 as well as of the precocious Postmodernism of the Philadelphia School.

Alfred Willis is an architectural historian and preservationist who received his doctorate in Art History from Columbia University, his Master in Library Science from the University of Chicago and his undergraduate degree in architecture from Clemson University. He has been on the architecture faculty at Hampton University and Kent State University.

Dr. Willis is the editor of SAH Archipedia: South Carolina. As a prolific scholar, he authored over eleven publications and over 30 papers and presentations. Since his recent retirement he has served as a preservation consultant preparing National Register Nominations and landmark designations.

This is the first talk in our The Elusive Philadelphia School; The Many Guises of Philadelphia’s Modernism lecture series. Our next in the series will be on March 25, “A Bold Venture for Health: Kling’s Lankenau Hospital and the Architecture of Community”

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ARCHITECTURAL QUIZZO


Join the Society of Architectural Historians Philadelphia Chapter & the Young Friends of the Preservation Alliance for our very first Architectural Quizzo!
This event will be held virtually via Zoom.
Friday, February 26 2021, 6:30 PM — 9:30 PM

Which famous Philadelphia architect won the Medal of Honor during the Civil War? Who designed the Ben Franklin bridge? If you know the answers, and even if you don’t, join us in Philadelphia’s first-ever Architectural Quizzo! Sign up individually, or better yet with friends, to test your knowledge of Philadelphia’s architectural icons, planning and infrastructure, suburbs, and popular culture. Nothing like that boring Art History 101 course! You’ll work in teams to answer five exciting rounds of questions – with prizes for the winning team! (NOTE: you do not have to form a team, in order to make this a truly social event and introduce you to potential new friends you will be assigned to a team after you register.)

Free for members (plus 1 guest) of the Philadelphia Chapter SAH, of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, and of the Young Friends of the Preservation Alliance.
$5 for non-members.
Registration requested by February 19 at
https://preservationalliance.ticketleap.com/yfpa-sah-quizzo/

Co-sponsored by the Philadelphia Chapter, Society of Architectural Historians and the Young Friends of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia.

For questions, email Veronica Aplenc, of the Philadelphia Chapter of the SAH, vaplenc@gmail.com or Greg Prichard, of the Young Friends of the Preservation Alliance, greg@gregprichard.com.

BOND – FLEMISH OR HUGUENOT BOND?

Chateau d’Herbault (1525), Allier province, France

by Elizabeth S. Browne
Wednesday, October 28 at 7:00 p.m.
Free and open to all, this talk will be online via Zoom (see below)

The premise of this talk is that the prevalent style of bricklaying in early America is typically, but incorrectly, called “Flemish” bond. Join us as Browne shares her original research on the origins of the elegant brick pattern which moved from France to America in the 16th-18th centuries amidst the upheavals of the Wars of Religion. Her theory, supported by extensive research, explores the path of this cultural artifact of craftsmanship and its craftsmen through the history of religion and society in France and America over two centuries. It has led her to the conclusion that this style should be called “Huguenot” bond, rather than Flemish Bond.

Elizabeth Browne received a BA in Modern European History at Wellesley College, with an emphasis on French history. Living in the midst of American history in Philadelphia gave her a new appreciation for it, leading her to become a tour guide and eventually a consultant to Historic Philadelphia, Inc. in the 1990s, designing tours of the historic area as stories and training guides to give them. She was a founder and vice-president of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, Chair of the Friends of Independence National Historical Park, founder and president of the Historic St. Peter’s Church Preservation Corp. She co-authored St. Peter’s Church: Faith in Action for 250 Years (Temple U. Press, 2011). She is currently a lecturer on American and French history topics, with a special interest in Philadelphia history and architecture and in the close bonds between the French and American peoples.

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Annual Members Pizza & Pictures Party

Thursday, January 16, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.
Snow Date: Tuesday, January 21 at 6:00 p.m.
The Athenaeum of Philadelphia, 219 S. 6th Street

Pizza and beverages will be provided.  Please feel free to bring a dessert to share if you wish.  There is no charge for Philadelphia Chapter SAH members AND each member is invited to bring one guest at no charge as a prospective member.  Additional guests are welcome at $15.00 each.
 
RESERVATIONS REQUIRED  Please RSVP to Bruce Laverty at laverty@PhilaAthenaeum.org or 215-925-2688.

If you would like to bring a few digital images to give a short (5 minute/10-15 image) talk on a recent project, current research, or “What I did on my summer vacation,” please let Bruce know.  Digital images should be placed on a thumb drive in a Power Point file or as individual image files.

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: GENDER AND SPACE IN IMPRESSIONIST INTERIORS

In the Conservatory, Edouard Manet, 1879

by Suzanne Singletary, Ph.D., Associate Dean, New Academic Initiatives and Graduate Studies, College of Architecture and the Built Environment, Thomas Jefferson University

Tuesday Nov 12 at 6:00 p.m.
Lawrence N. Field DEC Center Forum
4201 Henry Avenue, Philadelphia, PA
Thomas Jefferson University’s East Falls Campus

Free and open to all, no registration required.
For public transit info see www.SEPTA.com.
Free parking is available in a nearby visitors’ parking lot accessed from School House Lane, just east of Henry Avenue, behind Search Hall.

As early as the 1830s, the English word home had migrated into the French language, signifying an isolated, self-contained domesticity and recognition that the “house” had undergone a radical redefinition. Population growth, demographic shifts, revolutions within the social and political spheres and, significantly, the all-encompassing redesign of Paris by Napoleon III and his urban planner Baron Haussmann effected a fundamental split between public and private spaces. Impressionist painters chronicled their responses to the “New Paris,” interpreting the many repercussions and permutations wrought by Haussmannization and leaving us a painted archive of urban vistas as well as the sequestered spaces of home. Their domestic interiors not only itemize activities of daily life, but also insinuate the volatile conditions and invariable frictions that accompanied modernity, specifically the often-strained relationships between modern men and modern women “at home.” Private space, by definition, permitted the enactment of clandestine psychological and gender-related dramas, intended to remain securely closeted behind closed doors.

Suzanne Singletary teaches the history and theory of art, architecture and design. She has been involved in the development of the History of Architecture and Interiors series and taught seminars in thesis research and preparation, photography and visual culture, and issues in contemporary architecture. Currently she serves as Associate Dean for New Academic Initiatives and Graduate Studies and Director of the MS Historic Preservation Program. Her research interests include interdisciplinary aspects of art, architecture, literature and music. She has participated in international symposia and been an invited speaker at the National Gallery of Washington, D.C., the National Gallery of London, the Tate Britain, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She has published articles on Eugène Delacroix, French Symbolism, and Francesco Goya, and contributed essays to Impressionist Interiors (National Gallery of Ireland 2008), Perspectives on Manet (Ashgate 2012) and Rival Sisters (Ashgate 2014). Her book, James McNeill Whistler and France: A Dialogue in Paint, Poetry, and Music was published by Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group (2017).

HORMIGÓN EN CONCRETO: A MATERIAL HISTORY OF EARLY 20TH-CENTURY CONCRETE ARCHITECTURE IN PUERTO RICO

by Héctor J. Berdecía-Hernández, University of Pennsylvania, Graduate Program in Historic Preservation and 2019 SAH Phila Chapter George B. Tatum Fellow.

Wednesday, October 16 at 6:00 p.m.
B-3 Meyerson Hall, University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School of Design

Free and open to the public, no registration required.

After the Spanish-American War of 1898, new forms, construction technologies, and innovative building materials were introduced in the new Caribbean and Pacific colonial possessions of the United States. As an experimental site for a new American project, Puerto Rico became a target quickly for concrete manufacturers and architecture/engineering firms since the early 1900s. As a Laboratory, the islands were the ideal place for the use of concrete, an -also- experimental building material at that time. In examining early 20th-century architecture and concrete construction technologies, this presentation will explore early American influences in Puerto Rican architecture. Furthermore, how concrete; as a building material, was not only a material used widely across America’s new possession in the Caribbean but also how it played a role in shaping new forms of colonial governance: the American colonization of Puerto Rico.

As a University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate Program in Historic Preservation Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant in the and Editorial Assistant for Change Over Time: An International Journal of Conservation and the Built Environment. Hector holds a double major degree in Environmental Design (B.EnvD.) and History, and a Post-Bachelor Certificate in Urban Studies from the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), Rio Piedras Campus. Héctor is currently a second year graduate student at Penn’s Historic Preservation program. Born and raised in San Juan and Moca, Puerto Rico, his research interests include conservation and innovative treatments of traditional building materials in the Caribbean region, preservation policy and history in Puerto Rico and the United States. His current thesis research focuses on the development of an assessment methodology, cleaning strategies and better conservation practices for exposed concrete surfaces in modern Caribbean architecture.

The Philadelphia Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians’ George B. Tatum Annual International Conference Fellowship helps fund registration, travel and lodging expenses related to attending the annual meetings of the Society of Architectural Historians. For application information on the 2020 Fellowship visit https://philachaptersah.org/index.php/about/

LEARNING FROM THE PRESERVATION MASTERS

Philadelphia Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians and
The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia invite you to
Learning From The Preservation Masters
Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 6 PM – 8 PM
The Athenaeum of Philadelphia, 219 S 6th St, Philadelphia

Free but REGISTRATION REQUIRED at
https://25017.blackbaudhosting.com/25017/Learning-from-the-Preservation-Masters

What can experience teach us? How do we protect and build upon the hard-won preservation victories of the past six decades? How do we adapt our mentors’ legacies to address new challenges and opportunities for preservation?

Several members of the ‘Old Guard’ of Philadelphia’s preservation community come together for an evening that will give insight into the preservation world of the recent past. Join Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia and the Society of Architectural Historians Philadelphia Chapter for a panel discussion with distinguished preservation professionals. Their combined 200+ years of experience stretches from architecture and planning, restoration, preservation advocacy, public policy, teaching, and more. Come reflect on the lessons they learned, hardships they faced, and advice they want to hand down to the next generation of preservationists.

PANELISTS
John Andrew Gallery | Author and former Executive Director of the Preservation Alliance
Janet Klein | Member of the Board of Directors of The Woodlands
Hy Myers | Independent Architect and Planning Professional
Betty Turner | Vice Chair of the Philadelphia Historical Commission; President & Co-Founder of Germantown Community Connection

Moderated by Andrew Hart, Assistant Professor of Architecture for Visualization and Computational Design at the College of Architecture and the Built Environment at Jefferson University and Member of the Board of Directors of the Preservation Alliance.

A Private Tour of The Patio at Archmere Academy

Sunday, March 31 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

3600 Philadelphia Pike, Claymont, DE

(Note: you will have to climb stairs on this tour if you wish to see below or above the ground floor.)

Open to Phila Chapter SAH members only.  $20 per person.

Space is limited and advance registration is required at info@philachaptersah.org

Join the Chapter on a private tour of “The Patio” at Archmere (Arch to the Sea), the former estate of John J. & Helena Springer Green Raskob in Claymont, DE.  Listed on the National Register in 1992, The Patio is an Italian Renaissance Revival mansion designed by the Wilmington architects Alexander James Harper and Clay McClure. Built from 1916-18, this 15th-C Florentine palazzo on the Delaware River was home to the Raskobs and their 13 children until 1931.  The ground floors are furnished with period furniture, some of which belonged to the Raskobs.  A significant feature of the home was the retractable stained glass skylight over the central court which features a fountain carved with likenesses of the Raskob children by Sculptor Charles Keck, a student of Augustus Saint Gaudens.  (In 1977, a protective, though transparent, covering was placed over the skylight which prevents it from being retracted.)

Born in 1879 and raised in Lockport, NY, J.J. Raskob became Pierre S. du Pont’s personal secretary in 1901.  In 1911, he became assistant treasurer of DuPont, in 1914 treasurer, and in 1918 vice-president for finance of both DuPont and General Motors.  Raskob had been an early investor in General Motors and had engineered DuPont’s ownership of 43% of GM. Raskob remained with DuPont until his retirement from the company in 1946.

He was also a devout Catholic and staunch Democrat, serving as chairman of the Democratic party from 1928-1932.  Many important players on the National stage were guests at The Patio for strategy meetings in 1928 when four-time New York Governor and fellow Catholic Alfred E. “Al” Smith ran for President.  Largely due to anti-Catholic sentiment Smith lost to Republican Herbert Hoover, so Raskob turned his attention to another project that he started in 1929, construction of the Empire State Building. The Empire State Corporation, formed to build the structure, was a consortium of four men: Pierre S. DuPont, Louis G. Kauffman, Ellis P. Earle, and Raskob.  After his loss for President, they named Al Smith as the corporation’s president.  Smith was a real booster for the ESB and did a great deal to sign tenants during the Depression.  The Empire State Building was officially opened on May 1, 1931, later that year Raskob left Archmere for his home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland as the Claymont area had become increasingly industrial in the first decades of the 20th-C. 

In 1932 the Norbertine religious order purchased the estate and founded Archmere Academy, originally an all-boys school, today Archmere continues as co-ed private Roman Catholic college prep school with an annual enrollment of about 500 students.  Current Headmaster Michael A. Marinelli, Ed.D., will be our guide on this tour that will take you from the basement to the attic. 

Driving Directions: From Philadelphia Pike drive past the main gates to the mansion and make a left turn at the traffic light onto Manor Avenue.  Enter at the THIRD gate on the left.  Park in that lot and walk around to the front entrance of The Patio.

Public Transit Directions: Archmere is a 10 minute walk from the SEPTA Claymont Station on the Wilmington/Newark Line. For walking directions follow this link https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Claymont,+200+Myrtle+Ave,+Claymont,+DE+19703/3600+Philadelphia+Pike,+Claymont,+Delaware/@39.7998058,-75.4578404,16z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x89c6e40bd4f2cf73:0x5b800c0087541c27!2m2!1d-75.4523299!2d39.7977258!1m5!1m1!1s0x89c6e40d0f53016b:0xbb09e8121e7d9563!2m2!1d-75.4539289!2d39.8023699?hl=en&authuser=0