An important center for the development of modern architecture, Penn is an excellent place to study its history. The program is supported by superb library and archival resources, including the internationally important holdings of the university’s Architectural Archives and the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, and Graduate Group faculty are drawn from both the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Design. The vibrant contemporary architectural culture of Philadelphia energizes the work of students and faculty, whose interests include almost all aspects of the built environment from the eighteenth-century to the present.
A historian of modern architecture and urbanism, David Brownlee has a special interest in the political and philosophical contexts of artistic practice. He has written on a wide range of modern European and American topics, from the eighteenth century to the present. Philadelphia has figured regularly in his research interests, which include the monumental classicism and city planning of the early twentieth century and the work of Paul Cret, Louis Kahn, Denise Scott Brown, and Robert Venturi. He participates actively in Philadelphia’s lively design community.
Other members of the department who whose work contributes to the study of modern architecture are André Dombrowski (European nineteenth-century art and architecture), Renata Holod (modern Islamic visual culture and urbanism), and Mantha Zarmakoupi (nineteenth- and twentieth-century historiography and reception of classical architecture and urbanism).
Members of the Graduate Group who work on modern architecture include Daniel Barber (Department of Architecture: American and European modernism, with special interest in building technology), Annette Fierro (Department of Architecture: modern and contemporary European architecture, with special interest in British postwar architecture), David Leatherbarrow (Department of Architecture: European modernism, with special interest in early twentieth-century theory), Frank Matero (Department of Architecture and Program in Historic Preservation: modern architecture and issues of materials and conservation), Robert St. George (Department of History: American vernacular architecture); Nancy Steinhardt (Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations: twentieth-century architecture in China).