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 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.
One AIA LU will be available for this lecture. Please bring your AIA membership number in order to fill out the necessary paperwork.