Tag: architecture

Wildwood: Looking Back To America’s Promised Future

The Society for Commercial Archeology presents
Wildwood: Looking Back To America’s Promised Future

photo by Mark Havens

with Daniel Vieyra and Mark Havens
Wednesday, May 17th 8:00 p.m.on Zoom
Free For members of SCA, Society of Architectural Historians Philadelphia Chapter, Docomomo-US-PHL, and Doo Wop Preservation League
please register here for the Zoom link

Join architect and preservationist Daniel Vieyra and photographer Mark Havens as they present the rich midcentury modern motel architecture of Wildwood, New Jersey from two distinct viewpoints. Vieyra will discuss his preservation work with Steven Izenour on the 1990s design studios that cataloged, analyzed and evaluated the motels. The project ultimately identified clusters that coherently told the story of Wildwood’s evolution while allowing areas in between for new development. Havens will discuss his decade-long photography project documenting these structures that resulted in the monograph entitled “Out of Season: The Vanishing Architecture of the Wildwoods”.

2023 Phila Chapter SAH Annual Members Meeting and Talk

by Veronica E. Aplenc, PhD, Author of Imagining Slovene Socialist Modernity: The Urban Redesign of Ljubljana’s Beloved Trnovo Neighborhood, 1951-1989
Thursday, May 11, 2023, from 6:30 to approx. 8:00 PM
The Architectural Archives, Stuart Weitzman School of Design
University of Pennsylvania
220 South 34th Street at Smith Walk (Lower Level of the Fisher Fine Arts Library building)
Philadelphia, PA 19104
This is a member’s only program.  
Reservations are requested at info@philachaptersah.org

Please join us for our Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 11th, in the Architectural Archives, Weitzman School of Design, University of Pennsylvania. We will have a brief business meeting followed by the talk.

Internationally acclaimed interwar architect Jože Plečnik occupied a complex position, one both marginalized but foundational, during Yugoslav state socialism. As socialist-era architects and preservationists addressed Plečnik’s architectural works, their local professional beliefs which operated within much broader political contexts drove their actions, versus a simple politics of culture. Following training under Otto Wagner in Vienna, architect Jože Plečnik received praise for his interwar designs in Vienna, Prague, and hometown of Ljubljana, then Yugoslavia. After the WWII and Yugoslavia’s transformation into a socialist state, Plečnik’s architectural oeuvre was redefined in Ljubljana from “modern” to “classical” as the architectural profession reinterpreted itself for the new era. As Ljubljana strove to transform physically into a socialist city, Plečnik’s architectural works were also caught between urban development and preservation trends. This was particularly visible in the Trnovo neighborhood, the site of Plečnik’s residence, his interwar architectural works, and a socialist high-rise development. Through unexpected forces, Plečnik’s works went from overshadowed in the 1960s to preserved by the late 1980s, in an echoing of the architect’s ambivalent position under socialism.

Veronica E. Aplenc received her M.S. in historic preservation and Ph.D. in folklore and folklife from the University of Pennsylvania She is currently President of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians. Her research interests include the everyday built environment, historic preservation, and the intersection of the traditional with the socialist modern. Her work on the everyday built environment in socialist Yugoslavia has been supported by IREX and Fulbright grants. In addition to her scholarship, she has collaborated on international research teams, participated in international teaching exchanges, and serves as a preservation and planning consultant.

The Architectural Archives are located in Frank Furness’s Fisher Fine Arts Library, on 34th Street just south of Walnut Street. They are easily accessed by SEPTA (bus routes 21 and 42; 33rd Street trolley stop; and 34th Street subway stop). Parking is available in lots, including on the NE corner 34th & Chestnut Streets (enter from 34th Street) and in garages, including on the NE corner of 38th and Walnut Street (enter from Chestnut Street). On street parking is available, but may be limited.

The exhibit “Minerva Parker Nichols: The Search for a Forgotten Architect” is currently on view at the Archives.  Feel free to have a preview before our meeting begins.  The Chapter has scheduled a tour of the exhibit on Monday, June 5th.  Sign up details for that program will be sent out shortly.

Also save the date for an Architectural Walking Tour of Chambersburg, PA, on Saturday, August 12 with architectural historian and part-time Chambersburg resident Jay Shockley.  Details for this program will be sent out this summer.

Please send questions to info@philachaptersah.org.



presented by Philadelphia Chapter Society of Architectural Historians & Temple School of Architecture

by R. Scott Gill, PhD, Assoc AIA, and co-author of Gideon Shryock, His Life and Architecture 1802-1880
Thursday, April 13 at 6:30 PM
Tyler Architecture Building
2001 N 13th Street, Room 104
Free and open to all.

Gideon Shryock, Kentucky’s first formally trained architect, brought the international style of the Greek Revival to Kentucky, and in the process imparted a template of architectural and professional dignity for others to follow. Born in Lexington in 1802, Shryock learned the building trade working with his father, a skilled carpenter and builder. At the age of twenty, he traveled to Philadelphia to apprentice under the country’s great architectural master, William Strickland. There, Shryock absorbed the skills, rules, and resources of his chosen profession, and made valuable friends among his talented cohort of apprentices. Upon returning home, he won the coveted prize to design and build a new statehouse in Frankfort. It was an extraordinary accomplishment that launched the young architect toward a remarkable future.

While Shryock is most known for his monumental Greek Revival buildings in Frankfort, Lexington, and Louisville, his body of work was quite varied and included numerous houses, churches, commercial buildings, and even a patented “steam-boiler furnace.” He pursued competitions, including for the Washington Monument and Tennessee State Capitol. In his twilight years, he was honored as the first president of the newly created Kentucky Association of Architects.

In this talk Gill will draw from his recently published book, Gideon Shryock: His Life and Architecture, 1802-1880, to show how Shryock influenced and was influenced by his great peers as he helped evolve the American Greek Revival into a mature style.

Scott Gill is the award-winning co-author of three books on Kentucky architecture and an adjunct lecturer in architectural history at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a former board member of the Society of Architectural Historians and currently sits on the board of the Texas Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art. Gill holds a PhD in architectural history from UT-Austin, an MBA from MIT, a Master of Architecture from Rice, and a bachelor’s degree in history from Stanford. A past resident of Louisville, he currently practices real estate in Austin.

Why Memorials Are Strange: A Book Chat About The Everyday Life of Memorials

with Andy Shanken and Michael J. Lewis
Thursday, March 23, 2023 at 7:00 PM on Zoom
Free – Registration required at

Memorials are commonly studied as part of the commemorative infrastructure of modern society. Just as often, they are understood as sites of political contestation, where people battle over the meaning of events. But most of the time, they are neither. Instead, they take their rest as ordinary objects, part of the street furniture of urban life. Most memorials are ‘turned on’ only on special days, such as Memorial Day, or at heated moments, as in August 2017, when the Robert E. Lee monument in Charlottesville was overtaken by a political maelstrom. The rest of the time they are turned off. This book is about the everyday life of memorials. It explores their relationship to the pulses of daily life, their meaning within this quotidian context, and their place within the development of modern cities.

Andrew Shanken is Professor of Architectural History and the Director of American Studies at U.C. Berkeley. He publishes on the topic of architecture and memory, the history of preservation, keywords in architecture, and the visual culture of architecture and planning. His book, 194X: Architecture, Planning, and Consumer Culture on the American Homefront (2009), examines anticipatory architecture on the American homefront. A second book, Into the Void Pacific (2015), is an architectural history of the 1939 San Francisco World’s Fair. His new book, The Everyday Life of Memorials (Zone Books, 2022), explores the meaning of memorials in daily life and their place within the development of modern cities.

Michael J. Lewis id the Faison-Pierson-Stoddard Professor of Art History at Williams Collegewhere heteaches modern architecture and American art.  He is also the architecture critic for the Wall Street Journal. After receiving his B.A. from Haverford College in 1980, and two years at the University of Hannover Germany, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1989. He has taught at Bryn Mawr College; McGill University, Montreal; and the University of Natal, South Africa. His books include Frank Furness: Architecture and the Violent Mind (2001), American Art and Architecture (2006), and the prize-winning August Reichensperger: The Politics of the German Gothic Revival (1993). He was a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton (2000-2001) and in 2008 received a Guggenheim Fellowship to support the completion of City of Refuge (2016), his study of millennial Utopias. Lewis has been at Williams College since 1993 and in 2008 he was named Faison-Pierson-Stoddard Professor of Art.

Book link:

Registration for this exciting event is free. Please consider donating to SAH Philadephia or joining the chapter for $25 per year. Your support helps to underwrite future events. https://philachaptersah.org/index.php/membership/

For any questions or concerns regarding registration, please contact info@philachaptersah.org.



by Alfred Willis, PhD, independent architectural historian, retired Professor of Architecture
Thursday, December 1 at, 7:00 p.m. online via Zoom
Free, but registration required.  Email David Breiner <David.Breiner@jefferson.edu> no later than 8:00 PM on Nov 30 to receive the Zoom link.

A Kentucky native and 1931 architecture graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Joe Bright set up an independent practice in 1949 in his wife’s hometown of Valdosta, Georgia, in 1949.  His fledgling firm distinguished itself as the producer of many of the most notable of the town’s first Modernist buildings.  Alongside them Bright also designed a number of dramatic houses in which he combined Colonial Revival stylistic effects with Modern principles of composition.  Tracing his career provides a chance to explore how a mid-20th-century architect could negotiate the tension between tradition and innovation to produce a coherent body of work whose qualities have become all the more apparent in a retrospect informed by the Postmodernism of the Philadelphia School.


This event will be held virtually via Zoom.
Friday, March 11 2022, 6:30 PM — 8:30 PM

What’s the oldest highway bridge in the United States? What well-known Philadelphia architect is interred in the Tennessee state capitol building? If you know the answers, and even if you don’t, join us for our second Architectural Quizzo! Sign up individually, or better yet with friends, to test your knowledge of work by Philadelphia architects in other places, surrounding counties, and Philadelphia folklore.

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, or the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, and of the Young Friends of the Preservation Alliance.
$5 for non-members.

Registration requested by March 4 at

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


by George Dodds, PhD
Alvin and Sally Beaman Professor of Architecture
University of Tennessee, School of Architecture
Wednesday, September 14 at 7:00 PM (rescheduled from Dec. 2, 2021)
Online via Zoom
Free, but in order to receive a private link to the Zoom presentation registration is required with david.breiner@jefferson.edu

Join us for another in our series of talks on “The Elusive Philadelphia School – The Many Guises of Philadelphia Modernism”

Architectural history is a fickle thing. Until the publication of the new edition of Kenneth Frampton’s, Modern Architecture: A Critical History, Carlo Scarpa’s work occupied an important place in the book’s conclusion, offered as a paradigm of “critical regionalism.” In the new edition, published last year, Scarpa’s work is all but relegated to a footnote. The work of the Philadelphia-based architects Alfred and Jane West Clauss has been visited a similar fate, albeit over a much longer trajectory. Absent from virtually every major overview of Modern Architecture, one finds fragmentary references to Alfred alone in two monographs on William Lescaze, and Mark Lamster’s, The Man in the Glass House: Philip Johnson, Architect of the Modern Century. Even in Mies van der Rohe’s own payroll accounts from his Berlin office, used while designing The German Representation Pavilion for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition, and the Tugendhat House, an “Alfred Claus” appears, but absent the second “s.” And while many of the most provocative claims about Alfred Clauss’s role in watershed moments of 20th-century modern architecture are almost invariably traced back to Alfred himself, there is still this. Over the course of his career, he worked with Mies van der Rohe while the Barcelona Pavilion was being designed, with Howe & Lescaze on arguably the most important tall building in the United States before WWII, with Philip Johnson on Johnson’s apartment designed by Mies and Lilly Reich, and the design of the perhaps the most important exhibition of the 20th century, MoMA’s 1932, Modern Architecture: An International Exhibition, while also included in the exhibition. And all of this was before he and Jane West Clauss designed the first enclave of modern houses in the United States on an isolated knoll in an obscure corner of Knox County, Tennessee. And yet, there is more.

George Dodds earned his professional architectural degree at the University of Detroit and his Master of Architecture, and a PhD in architectural history and theory from the University of Pennsylvania. Dodds has published two books: Building Desire: On the Barcelona Pavilion (Routledge, 2005) and Body and Building: Essays on the Changing Relation of Body and Architecture (MIT Press, 2002) co-edited with Robert Tavernor. He has authored over fifty articles, papers, and public lectures spanning the work Mies van der Rohe, Richard Neutra, Carlo Scarpa, Gabriel Guevrekian, William Lescaze, and current practitioners such as KieranTimberlake, and Duvall Decker Architects (recently on the Common Edge website). He is currently working on a feature for Architectural Record on the recently completed conservation of the Brion Tomb and Sanctuary while continuing his research into the work of Alfred and Jane West Clauss.

Topic: PC_SAH_George Dodds talk
Time: Dec 2, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Philadelphia Chapter, Society of Architectural Historians
and the Athenaeum of Philadelphia present
by Sandy Isenstadt, Professor and Chair, History of Modern Architecture, University of Delaware and author of Electric Light: An Architectural History (MIT Press 2018)
Wednesday, October 27 at 6:00 p.m.

This will be an in-person event at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, 219 S. 6th Street.

Free for Phila SAH members & Athenaeum members, $10 all others
Preregistration required at

Electric light was more than just a novel way of brightening a room or illuminating a streetscape when it was introduced in the late-nineteenth century. It was a new and uniquely modern kind of building material, generating new sorts of spaces that altered and sometimes eclipsed previously existing spaces. This talk will review several such spaces—from automobile headlights to factory lighting to wartime mandated blackouts—in order to construct an architectural modernism centered on the new perceptual conditions and visual habits that followed widespread electrification.


Lancaster Central Market

with expert guides Gregg Scott, FAIA and Jim Douglas, AIA
Saturday, July 31, 2021, 10:00 a.m. to approx. 1:00 p.m.
Meets at The Lancaster Theological Seminary Parking Lot
555 W James Street (at the corner of College Avenue)
(free parking compliments of the Seminary)

Cost $20.00 per person
This program is open only to current Phila Chapter SAH Members. Space is limited.
Advance registration is required at info@philachaptersah.org
Once your current membership is confirmed, you will receive an email with payment instructions and additional details.

Lancaster is accessible by car or Amtrak service from Philadelphia and Harrisburg. Public bus service is available between the Lancaster Amtrak Station and The Lancaster Theological Seminary.

Sandy Smith, Philadelphia Magazine’s Real Estate editor recently wrote, “Lancaster has to be the coolest small city in the state, and maybe even the entire Mid-Atlantic region.” Lancaster City was the vision of James Hamilton in 1734 and considered to be the ‘stepping off point’ to the Ohio River Valley and the frontier beyond.  Pioneers would secure their Conestoga wagons and Pennsylvania long rifles in Lancaster before heading west. The 286 years of history provides a wealth of architectural styles that are available to discover in a very condensed and tight nucleus around the town center.

Our walking tour begins at the historic Franklin & Marshall College campus and includes a six-block walk to center city along mansion row. See multiple examples of Chateauesque, Tudor Revival, Colonial Revival, English Country, Spanish Revival, Dutch Colonial, Norman Gothic, Queen Anne and Second Empire. Ending in center city, Penn Square supports an additional fourteen architectural styles within a two-block radius of the 1874 Gothic Revival Civil War memorial. The vast inventory of diverse architectural styles in excellent condition impresses even the most fervent architectural critics. Our tour will adjourn with lunch (not included) at the internationally acclaimed 1889 Romanesque Revival Central Market, a commission won by James H. Warner when he was only twenty-four years old! (https://centralmarketlancaster.com/)

Phila Chapter SAH: Two Tours at Temple

A Tour of the Exhibit “Learning to See: Denise School Brown”
with Pablo Meninato, Associate Professor of Architecture, Tyler School of Art
followed by a
Tour of Temple’s New Charles Library
with Kate Wingert-Playdon, Associate Dean, Tyler School of Art
Tuesday, June 29 from 4:00 p.m. to approx.. 6:00 p.m.

Charles Library (photo courtesy of Temple University)

This will be a live, in-person event.
As mask regulations are subject to change quickly, you should bring a mask just in case one is required.

This is a free event that was originally open only to current Phila Chapter SAH Members.  BUT WE NOW HAVE A FEW SPACES OPEN FOR NON-MEMBERS.
Advance registration is required at info@philachaptersah,org. no later than Monday, June 28.  Please email that address with any questions.

Please arrive at Temple Contemporary Tyler School of Art, 2001 N 13th St, Philadelphia, by 3:45 p.m., the tour will begin promptly at 4:00 p.m.

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

If you can’t join our tour, “Learning to See: Denise Scott Brown,” will be on exhibit at Temple Contemporary through September 19, 2021.

Temple’s Charles Library opened for the start of the fall 2019 semester. This state-of-the-art learning center is transforming the campus with its striking design and sophisticated technology. It’s the most modern library in Pennsylvania and one of the most significant new libraries in North America. It’s a place where all Temple students and faculty, regardless of discipline, can study, learn, create and collaborate.

The library boasts an impressive collection of high-demand volumes available in traditional stacks, and additional books available via an automated storage and retrieval system known as the BookBot. Located underneath Charles, the cutting-edge technology increases usability, allowing for more open space in the library where faculty and students can gather and work, while still providing easy access to the library’s extensive collection.

Sited at the intersection of two major pedestrian pathways, Polett Walk and Liacouras Walk, and at the nexus of Temple’s Main Campus, Charles Library anchors a new social and academic heart for the university’s diverse student body of over 39,000.

Woven into the fabric of North Philadelphia, the building sits just one block off of Broad Street, the connecting artery to the city. Within its dynamic urban context, Snøhetta’s design, developed in collaboration with Stantec, reinterprets the traditional typology of the research library as a repository for books, integrating the building with a diversity of collaborative and social learning spaces. And in offering more than double the amount of study spaces than its 1960s predecessor, Paley Library, the 220,000-square-foot Library anticipates welcoming over 5 million annual visitors.