Video | A Profile of African American Architect: The Shadows are all Mine

February 27, 2022

February 15 | A Profile of African American Architect Julian Abele

Presented by National ICAA on the evening of February 15, 2022, the video for this program is now available here.

A Profile of African American Architect Julian Abele: The Shadows are All Mine examines the life and career of the prolific architect Julian Abele, who despite his significant contributions to the classical tradition has long been marginalized. This program makes a thoughtful argument for the indelible mark Abele left on the cities of Philadelphia, New York, and Newport and on Duke University. Hosted by designer and ICAA board member Barbara Eberlein, the program features presentations by David Brownlee, architectural historian at the University of Pennsylvania, and Amy Cohen, great-grand niece of Abele’s longtime friend and collaborator Louis Magaziner. These conversations centralize Abele in the history of classical tradition, a recognition long overdue.

Julian Abele was chief designer for Horace Trumbauer and the contributing designer of over 250 buildings including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Philadelphia’s Free Library. Working decades before Civil Rights legislation, he overcame innumerable obstacles in a country gripped by segregation. Abele was trained in the classical tradition at the University of Pennsylvania and readily embraced the Beaux-Arts style throughout his career. He designed Gilded Age mansions in Newport and New York, the Widener Memorial Library at Harvard, and much of the Duke University campus. Despite his incredible and prolific contributions, Abele was rarely publicly acknowledged for his work.

The title of the program is taken from Julian Abele’s response when asked if a major architectural commission was exclusively his design:

“The lines are Mr. Trumbauer’s, but the shadows are all mine.”