Residential (Single Family)
Before serving as Louis Kahn’s supervising architect for the landmark Salk Institute (La Jolla, CA), Kimbell Art Museum (Fort Worth, TX), and the Margaret Esherick House (see below), architect Galen Schlosser designed this modernist home in 1957, one of three Schlosser designs found in the East Falls section of Philadelphia.
Famed Vienna-born Modernist Richard Neutra is best known for his iconic West Coast houses, but his 1958 East Falls home built for sculptor Kenneth Hassrick is a fascinating local adaptation of Neutra’s characteristic open designs. The house was added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places in 2009.
Another modern masterpiece added to the Philadelphia Register in 2009, Lois Kahn’s Margaret Esherick House was built in Chestnut Hill in 1960. Margaret was the niece of master craftsman Wharton Esherick, who contributed much of the interior woodwork.
A rare local residential commission for the prolific Mitchell/Giurgola Associates, the Dorothy Shipley White House is perhaps the most distinctive of Chestnut Hill’s noteworthy collection of postwar homes. It was constructed in 1963 for White, a photographer and scholar.
With his Vanna Venturi Residence, aka Mother’s House, Robert Venturi in 1964 confronted modern mainstream architectural theory with a design widely recognized as the birth of Post-Modernism. Though Venturi himself never accepted that term, the “complexities and contradictions” of Mother’s House stood in stark contrast to the minimalist tendencies of Venturi’s modernist contemporaries.
The James McClennen House is one of a number of significant rowhomes built as part of the redevelopment of Society Hill, generally considered one of the most successful urban renewal campaigns anywhere in postwar America. Though unabashedly contemporary, these infill designs respected the scale and context of their historic surroundings. This example was designed by Louis Sauer in 1967.
Another local architect active in the redevelopment era was Frank Weise, who is generally credited with saving large parts of Society Hill from being razed for I-95. His own home and studio, designed and built incrementally over the course of two decades, transformed a Rittenhouse Square carriagehouse into one of the city’s most ostentatious rowhouse designs.
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