Tag20th-century

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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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/