Blog of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office

Category: Modernism (Page 2 of 2)

School Daze

No, this isn’t a review of Spike Lee’s 1988 movie.  I’m referring to my state of mind when I think about all of the work I’ve done with public schools in Philadelphia over the past few months.

As you may remember from this post, I joined BHP in July and my first assignment was to complete the survey component of a larger project to document Philadelphia elementary and secondary public schools of all types, styles, and dates.  I had a good start on the survey work thanks to the headway my predecessor made in 2013 by assembling lists and survey maps, which are organized by zip code.  My school daze started when I realized that there were about 300 public schools that qualified for this reconnaissance-level survey.  And, even more intimidating, that 205 still needed to be surveyed before school started on September 8thContinue reading

Spotlight Series: National Alliance of Preservation Commissions

The Spotlight Series is an occassional series that highlights interesting people, places, programs, and partner organizations working on historic preservation issues.

PrintWhen it comes to protecting historic places and maintaining the character of our neighborhoods, villages, and landscapes, we all know that the real action is at the local level.  Cities like Charleston and New Orleans paved the way for municipal historic preservation programs in the 1920s and 30s when they adopted ordinances designating portions of those cities as historic districts and enacting design review programs for managing changes to buildings in those districts.  Since then, thousands of communities across the country, including hundreds in Pennsylvania, have adopted preservation ordinances of their own.  A major resource for these communities is the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions, the only national –level organization dedicated to serving the needs of local government preservation boards and commissions through education, advocacy, and training. Continue reading

Uncommon Modern

Professional Offices, Chester, Delaware County. Photograph by Betsy Manning.

Being one of the earliest areas of European settlement in the United States means that Pennsylvania has an incredible, and in some ways unrivaled, architectural legacy that encompasses every major era in American history.  We’ve got colonial taverns, frontier log cabins, charming farmhouses, monumental churches, imposing 19th century factories, one-of-a-kind government buildings, and everything else in between.  But being the place where so many important events of our nation’s founding took place, and where America’s industrial age flourished, also means that the buildings that came after those periods don’t often get the attention or respect they deserve.  That’s right, I’m talking about Modernism – the buildings of the post World War II era.  The architecture of the automobile.  The design of the Space Age.

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