Building Philadelphia Lecture Series

Understand Philadelphia through the built environment – starts March 11!

I can’t recommend this lecture series enough for anyone who loves this city and has an interest in architecture and history.

When I first moved to Philadelphia, I attended this series with a few friends out of my general interest in architecture and art history — and I gained so much more than that.  The talks brought me a real sense of this city’s history (which honestly was never taught to me), the stories of the people here, a richer understanding of the roots of my new home and a stronger knowledge of architecture. (Bonus:  I could more actively hang out with my architect, history, design and urban planning friends too!)   I developed a deep network of friends and colleagues who share my interests and a true love of Philadelphia.

Cut to… years later, and I have not only attended all of these lectures (some multiple times), but I am proud to say that I am now a seasoned architectural tour guide and I get to share my passion for the subject with lots of new people.

I strongly recommend attending the entire series as the full context of each topic is enhanced by grasping these as a whole.  But you are definitely welcome to select specific ones that interest you most or fit your schedule.  I hope to attend as many as I can, as they continue to inspire and engage me.  And the more I know, the better tour guide volunteer I can be!

The Philadelphia Center for Architecture’s “Building Philadelphia” lecture series starts March 11th and runs ten Tuesday evenings from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. “Building Philadelphia: Architecture, History, & Politics” is the definitive course (definitely!) on the development of Philadelphia and its architecture.

This engaging 10-part lecture series is taught by a selection of architects, urban planners, art historians, and social historians from local universities and architecture firms. Topics covered include William Penn’s original plan for Philadelphia, archeology and preservation in Philadelphia, major urban planning projects such as the Benjamin Franklin Parkway & Society Hill, skyscrapers, Modernism in Philadelphia, and the future of development in the city.



March 11 | Penn’s Plan and the Founding of the City | John Andrew Gallery, Executive Director of Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia

March 18 | From Colonial Capitol to the Athens of America: Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival | Richard Webster, PhD, Professor Emeritus, West Chester University

March 25 | Romantic Philadelphia: Eclecticism of Style | Richard Webster, PhD, Professor Emeritus, West Chester University

April 1 | Digging in the City of Brotherly Love | Rebecca Yamin, PhD

April 8 | Immigration to the City | Caroline Golab, PhD, Thomas Jefferson University

April 15 | Passover | No Lecture Scheduled

April 22 | The Victorian City | Jeffrey Cohen, PhD, Bryn Mawr College

April 29 | Going on Stilts: The Tall Building in 19th Century Philadelphia | Paula Spilner, PhD, University of Pennsylvania

May 6 | Planning the Modern City: The Parkway and Society Hill | David Brownlee, PhD, University of Pennsylvania

May 13 | Misfits and Heroes: Modernism in the Delaware Valley | William Whitaker, Curator of The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania

May 20 | Ed Bacon and the Future of Philadelphia | Scott Gabriel Knowles, PhD, Drexel University

And following the series, you too can join me as a tour guide by attending three tour guide training sessions.  It is infinitely rewarding!




One comment on “Building Philadelphia Lecture Series
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