As portrayed in films like The Philadelphia Story (1939), Philadelphia’s Main Line is a quintessentially elite enclave, both geographically and socially impenetrable – a “state of mind”, as one historian has observed, where “everyone here knows everyone else, or, if they don’t they never will.” In reality, the Main Line is a place profoundly shaped by technological and cultural change, and a location ripe with interesting modern architecture (and certainly, good architecture of other eras as well). Transecting this landscape, we will visit examples of public architecture, libraries, corporate centers, educational institutions, private houses, housing, and commercial strips. Works will include designs by Philadelphia architects: Mitchell / Giurgola; Geddes, Brecher, Qualls, and Cunningham; Louis Kahn; Joel Levinson; and Vincent Kling. We’ll end the tour with stops at Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed Suntop Homes (1938) and a recently-shuttered Lord & Taylor’s branch designed by Raymond Loewy (1955).
Guides: William Whitaker, University of Pennsylvania and Joel Levinson, Architect
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