Icons Under Pressure

White Room, Morgan Building, Ground Floor

205 S 34th St
Philadelphia, PA
Image details

This is one of four parallel sessions taking place from 9:50 AM - 11:05 AM on Thursday June 2.

Speakers have been asked to pre-record their presentations and we will be releasing these videos to registrants after the Symposium so that you can watch sessions you weren't able to attend.

Icons Under Pressure 

Let’s face it: Modernism has now been around for a long time. How do you adapt yesterday’s modern buildings for today’s needs? This session will provide a look at three iconic landmarks, the unique challenges to be met in their renovations, and the ways in which architects and designers adapt and refashion existing structures to new standards and for new purposes.

Speakers & Paper titles:

  • Making Modern New – Lessons from Guild House and Beyond
    Daniel McCoubrey, Seth Cohen, and Brian Wentz, VSBA
  • Libraries in Limbo: Examining Renovations of Breuer’s Atlanta Central Library and Mies’ MLK Library
    John Poros
  • The Soul of a Building: George Nakashima’s Arts Building and Cloister
    Frank Matero, University of Pennsylvania


Michael Schade, AIA, LEED AP BC+C

Michael Schade, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, has been a partner at Atkin Olshin Schade Architects since 2000. He coordinates the sustainable design initiatives for the firm and is the technical and quality control director where his skills in facilitation and promoting knowledge across the practice come to the fore. He has led the design and documentation of several award-winning projects, including the Anne d’Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the LEED Gold Certified North Philadelphia Law Center for Community Legal Services, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Indianapolis, and Richards Medical Labs at the University of Pennsylvania. Mike holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia and a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a regular speaker at design and sustainability conferences and is active in several committees of the Center City Residents Association.


Seth Cohen

Seth Cohen, principal of VSBA Architects & Planners, is highly experienced in the design and renovation of academic, civic, cultural, and institutional facilities.  Seth was with Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates for 14 years.

Daniel McCoubrey

Daniel McCoubrey, president and principal of VSBA Architects & Planners, is an expert in the planning, design, and implementation of academic and cultural projects. His work includes planning, programming, design of new facilities, and adaptive reuse of existing buildings. Dan was with Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates for 31 years and founded VSBA in 2012.

Brian Wentz

Brian Wentz, Keast & Hood, has over 25 years of structural engineering experience.  He is a master at revitalizing old buildings and has worked on some of the firm’s most sensitive historic projects.  He is a former board member of both the Association for Preservation Technology International Board and Delaware Valley Chapter Board, and he currently serves on the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia Easement Committee.

John Poros

John Poros, Professor at Mississippi State University’s School of Architecture, is the previous director of the Educational Design Institute and Fred Carl Jr. Small Town Center at Mississippi State. Prof. Poros’ work in community design has won him statewide and national awards including Mississippi AIA Design Awards, American Planning Association national awards and an invitation to the White House as part of the White House Convening on Rural Placemaking in 2015. Prof. Poros received his M.Arch from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and his B.A. from Columbia College. Prof. Poros worked for eight years with the internationally known firm of Kieran Timberlake before taking his position at Mississippi State University. Prof. Poros’ has a longtime interest in the work of Marcel Breuer and has authored the book Marcel Breuer: Shaping Architecture in the Post-War Era, to be published by Routledge in the Spring of 2022.  Prof. Poros has previously spoken on Breuer’s Atlanta Central Library in an invited talk entitled “The Atlanta Central Library: The End of a Long Search,” given at the Atlanta Central Library on Dec. 14, 2009 as part of the library’s and the Museum of Design Atlanta’s celebration of the library.

Cesar Bargues Ballester

Cesar Bargues Ballester is Senior Principal Project Specialist at the Getty Conservation Institute where he is involved in conservation projects within the Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative.

Frank Matero

Frank G. Matero is Professor of Architecture and Chair of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the Stuart Weitzman School of Design, University of Pennsylvania. He is Director and founder of the Center for Architectural Conservation, a member of the Graduate Group in the Department of Art History, and Research Associate of the University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. He is founder and editor-in-chief of Change Over Time, the international journal on conservation and the built environment published by Penn Press.  His teaching and research are focused on historic building technology and the conservation of building materials, with an emphasis on masonry and earthen construction, the conservation of archaeological sites, and issues related to preservation and appropriate technology for traditional societies and places.