The architectural competition has a long history, and was used to find the architects of some of our country’s most iconic buildings. The Athenaeum of Philadelphia was one of these, and its 200th anniversary has been celebrated with a new, speculative contest, which has generated significant international response. In his awards ceremony remarks, Juror Laurie Olin commended the Athenaeum’s participation saying, “Idea competitions that expressly acknowledge they will not lead to a ‘real’ project are intended to provoke, and to provide a forum for invention, speculation, thought and reflection…”
Curator of Architecture Bruce Laverty will compare the 19th century competition to design the Athenaeum’s current building with the conceptual “Looking Forward: Re-Imagining The Athenaeum of Philadelphia” competition, the results of which are featured in the current exhibition at the Athenaeum. For gallery hours and more information about “Looking Forward,” please visit http://www.philaathenaeum.org/current.html This event is co-sponsored by ICAA Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Society of Architectural Historians.