Event – Detail

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Every other week
Thursday, March 21 through
Thursday, May 2 at 6:00 PM

The Design of Suburban Philadelphia: Past, Present, and Future
Kevin Block & Greg Prichard

The greater Philadelphia region is home to all sorts of suburban histories, from the development of railroad, streetcar, and garden suburbs in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries to postwar sprawl and the “edge cities” in Philadelphia’s surrounding counties. Based on a selection of accessible readings and illustrative documents from the Athenaeum’s architecture and design collections, this four-session, in-person enrichment course provides a condensed introduction to these suburban histories, focusing specifically on architecture, planning, and landscape design. We’ll follow the expanding suburban corridor from estates and planned residential developments in classic suburbs like Chestnut Hill and communities in the Main Line to corporate campuses and mill towns-turned-office parks. With some history behind us and an eye toward the future, we’ll conclude the course by considering how the design of Philadelphia’s suburbs has been changing in the post-Covid era. Each session will follow a hybrid lecture-and-discussion format. No prior knowledge of architectural, planning, or suburban history is required--just curiosity about the history of our shared built environment.

The class will meet on the following dates, in-person, at The Athenaeum:

  1. Thursday, March 21 at 6:00pm-7:00pm.
  2. Thursday, April 4 at 6:00pm-7:00pm.
  3. Thursday, April 18 at 6:00pm-7:00pm.
  4. Thursday, May 2 at 6:00pm-7:00pm.

About your instructors:

Kevin Block, Ph.D. is an architectural historian and historic preservation professional who currently teaches in the College of Architecture and the Built Environment, Jefferson University, East Falls. Greg Prichard is Historic Preservation Planner for the Township of Lower Merion and the owner of Prichard Design & History Studio, LLC. They both serve on the Board of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians and the Steering Committee of the Young Friends of the Preservation Alliance. They are also both members of their local Historical Architectural Review Boards: Kevin in the Narberth Borough and Greg in Willistown Township.

Athenaeum member price: $50.00
Student price: $15.00