Emergence of a Modern Metropolis: Philadelphia

  • Tour
  • AIA
Emergence of a Modern Metropolis: Philadelphia
Now offered by the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia [www.preservationalliance.com]
Center / Architecture + Design
1218 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

$20 | Adults
$5 | Children under 12

Each tour is limited to 25 people
2 AIA CES LUs available for this tour

This program is presented by the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia in partnership with Center for Architecture and Design.

Experience the transformation of Philadelphia from America's 19th century engine of industry to a 21st century capitol of business and culture. This 2-hour tour explores Philadelphia's diverse range of architectural styles and building technologies from the 1860s to the present, detailing the social, economic, and political forces that shaped the modern cityscape. It is divided into three parts:

     Era 1 - Late Victorian / Post Civil War (1870 - 1890)

  • A period of architectural eclecticism
  • Stone-age building techniques (masonry) with lots of ornamentation

     Era 2 - Birth of the Skyscraper (1890 – 1930)

  • The adaptation of old forms to new functions (mass manufacturing)
  • Steel-frame construction disguised behind traditional materials with some ornamentation

     Era 3 - The Modern City (1930 – present)

  • A period of Modernism & Post-Modernism
  • Curtain wall building technique allows vast, minimalist, glass surfaces

Highlights include the spectacular Victorian interior of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art (PAFA); the soaring central court of Philadelphia's first department store, Wanamaker's; and the atrium of Pennsylvania's tallest skyscraper, the Comcast Center.

Tours runs rain or shine.

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