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Americans in Paris: Foundations of America's Architectural Gilded Age, with Margot Ellis

Tuesday, January 30, 2018
6:00 PM Reception, Discussion begins at 6:30 PM
The Union League of Philadelphia
140 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA

The architecture school of the University of Pennsylvania was founded in 1868, making it the second oldest such program in the United States. Before then, American students such as Richard Morris Hunt were forced to pursue their architecture studies elsewhere. In 1846, Hunt became the first American student to enroll in Paris’s legendary École des Beaux-Arts During and he was followed by hundreds of compatriots who also passed the rigorous entrance exam that granted them admission to Europe’s most prestigious school of art and architecture. Upon their return to the United States, many of these École graduates had an enormous impact on the architecture of their young nation. Some of the most iconic American buildings - the Boston Public Library, the New York Public Library, and Hearst Castle, to name but a few - were designed by Beaux-Arts-trained architects. 

In her illustrated lecture, Margot Ellis will discuss the impact of the École des Beaux-Arts on American architecture, including a few local buildings. Philadelphian examples of Beaux-Arts influence can be found in the work of Paul Cret (designer of the Rodin Museum and Federal Reserve Bank), George Howe (designer of the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society skyscraper), and Zantziger, Borie & Medary (who designed the Philadelphia Museum of Art).

Margot M. Ellis, co-author of Americans in Paris, Foundations of America’s Architectural Gilded Age (Rizzoli, 2014), was educated at Manhattanville College and Harvard University. She will discuss the demanding formal training and subsequent careers of some of the most successful and well-known American École graduates. 

Cost/Reservations:

$20 ICAA members $25 General public Free admission for Union League members and students with current ID

The Architecture of John Simpson: The Timeless Language of Classicism, Annual Alvin Holm Lecture

Wednesday, March 7, 2018
6:00 PM Reception, Discussion begins at 6:30 PM
The Union League of Philadelphia
140 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA

London-based classical architect, John Simpson, shapes his design ethos around the notion that architecture is a public art, where each facade forms the character and shape of the public realm. The streets, squares, and major civic spaces that we use all create an architectural language that is recognizable and also shapes our collective cultural experience. As one of the world’s leading practitioners of New Classicism, a contemporary architecture movement that continues the practice of classical and traditional architecture, Simpson embraces the virtues of durability, functionality, and beauty.

Simpson’s architecture is built to last, to be beautiful, and to ensure the comfort and ease of those who experience it - be it the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace or an apartment in a historic building in New York. In his illustrated lecture, Simpson will present some of the thirty diverse projects highlighted in the recently published book, The Architecture of John Simpson: The Timeless Language of Classicism (Rizzoli New York, 2016). A range of work will be included, from small-scale residential and apartment designs, to country house, town house, and large-scale institutional projects.

John Simpson studied architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. He has received numerous prestigious honors, including the Palladio Award, the Royal Institute of British Architects Award, The Royal Fine Arts Commission Trust Building of the Year Award, the American Institute of Architects Honor Award, and the Arthur Ross Award of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, among others.

Cost/Reservations:

$20 ICAA members $25 General public Free admission for Union League members