The Roundhouse, Transformational in 20th Century Concrete Architecture

Physical Lab, Morgan Building, Ground Floor

205 S 34th St
Philadelphia, PA
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This is one of four parallel sessions taking place from 11:35 AM - 12:50 PM 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.

The Roundhouse

Perhaps no building in Philadelphia arouses so much controversy as the former Philadelphia Police Administration Headquarters, better known as “the Roundhouse.” A marvel of concrete technology, the building, designed by the prominent firm of Geddes Brecher Qualls and Cunningham and completed in 1961, has become associated with the turbulent reign of the late Police Commissioner, Frank Rizzo. How does one–or, indeed, should one–separate the architectural significance of this site from its history of racial injustice?

Speakers & Paper titles:

  • The Significance of the Roundhouse; Jack Pyburn
  • The Roundhouse: A Miracle in Concrete
    Carl-Dag Lige, Estonian Museum of Architecture 


Theodore Prudon

Theodore Prudon is a leading expert on the preservation of modern architecture and a practicing architect in New York City. Dr. Prudon has worked on the terra cotta restoration of the Woolworth Building, the exterior restoration of the Chrysler Building, and of a 1941 Lescaze townhouse in Manhattan. Dr. Prudon teaches preservation at Columbia University and Pratt Institute. He is the recipient of a Graham Foundation Individual grant for his book “Preservation of Modern Architecture.” He is the founding President of Docomomo US and a board member of Docomomo International.


Jack Pyburn

Jack Pyburn, FAIA is a preservation architect and principal at Lord Aeck Sargent in Atlanta, Georgia. His career, after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis in 1971, started as a planner working with neighborhood leaders to improve the public infrastructure in the African American community of Mecham Park in suburban St. Louis. Since that exceptional formative experience, he has had the privilege of working on a number of buildings and sites important to African American history ranging from slave quarters at Oakland Plantation in Louisiana to the home of Ms. Modjeska Simpkins in Columbia, SC where Ms. Simpkins and Thurgood Marshal planned early and successful civil rights litigation on which the Brown vs the Board of Education decision was based.

Carl-Dag Lige

Carl-Dag Lige is an architecture historian, critic and curator, a member of the Estonian Society of Art Historians and Curators. He has produced, curated and moderated various architecture events, and currently works as a curator at the Estonian Museum of Architecture in Tallinn. His academic interests concern the history of modern architecture, particularly the relationship between architecture and structural engineering. In 2018–2019, he was a grantee of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts. In 2020, together with his team, he received the annual Estonian Architecture Award for the exhibition Miracles in Concrete. Structural Engineer August Komendant (Estonian Museum of Architecture, 10 January—26 July 2020). He is the editor of the book Miracles in Concrete. Structural Engineer August Komendant, published by Birkhäuser Verlag and the Estonian Museum of Architecture (2022).