Ever wonder how Philadelphia became the city it is today?
The Center for Architecture's engaging 10-part lecture series, Building Philadelphia, investigates the social, political, economic, and design trends that contributed to Philadelphia's development. Each talk is led by renowned local architects, urban planners, archaeologists, and historians; and cover topics including major urban planning projects, like the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Society Hill, Philadelphia's impressive palette of architectural styles, and the city's immigrant history.
Mark Your Calendar
March 10 | Penn’s Plan and the Founding of the City
John Gallery, former executive director of the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, investigates William Penn's plans for the grand city in his colony of Pennsylvania.
March 17 | From Colonial Capitol to the Athens of America: Georgian, Federal, & Greek Revival
Richard Webster, PhD and professor emeritus at West Chester University, will present a survey of the classical architectural styles of early Philadelphia.
March 24 | Romantic Philadelphia: Eclecticism of Style
Richard Webster, PhD and professor emeritus at West Chester University, will explore the architectural styles of Philadelphia that were popular after the "colonial" era, but before the Victorian era.
March 31 | The Hidden City: Archaeology of Philadelphia
Rebecca Yamin, PhD will take you "down the rabbit hole" - piecing together Philadelphia's hidden past through fragments she has uncovered while digging underneath the city's parking lots, National Park sites, and demolished buildings.
April 14 | Immigration to the City
Caroline Golab, PhD, of Thomas Jefferson University, will discuss who Philadelphia is and how various waves of immigration have, and continue, to shape its citizenry.
April 21 | The Victorian City
Jeffrey Cohen, PhD, of Bryn Mawr College, will explore the three distinctive styles that are now collectively considered "Victorian" and its cross-Atlantic influences.
April 28 | Going on Stilts: Tall Buildings in 19th Century Philadelphia
Paula Spilner, PhD, of Drexel University, will present a fun look at Philadelphia's earliest skyscrapers and how their effect on the city's world-renowned skyline.
May 5 | Philadelphia’s Modern Architectures: The Heroes and the Misfits
William Whitaker, curator at the University of Pennsylvania’s Architectural Archives, will explore the remaining example of modernist architecture of the Greater Philadelphia region.
May 12 | Making Philadelphia Modern: The Benjamin Franklin Parkway + Art Deco
David Brownlee, architecture historian and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, will walk you through the political, aesthetic, and social movements that dramatically reshaped Philadelphia in the early 20th century.
May 19 | The Future of Philadelphia
Current and future public and private development projects will conclude the series. Speaker TBA.
Early Bird Ticket Special ends 2/24
Purchase tickets here for full series or for individual lectures.
Early Bird (through 2/24): $150
Regular Price: $175
*AIA Philadelphia Members: $125 full series
*Students: $75 full series
Regular Price: $20.00 each
*AIA Philadelphia Members: $15
*In order to receive discounted pricing, please email a photocopy of your valid student ID or current AIA membership number to [email protected] with the subject line "BP Discount". In return, you will receive a discount code which you can use on all ticket types.
Train to Be a Tour Guide
Are you an architecture buff with some free time? Individuals who attend eight or more lectures in this 10-part series are invited to become certified as a volunteer tour guide for the Philadelphia Center for Architecture and the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia. You must attend three additional training sessions (on three Tuesday evenings upon series conclusion). Leading tours is not only fun, but gives you greater insight into and appreciation for the city we and our ancestors have built. More information about this opportunity will be shared at the lectures.