Architectural Archives

  • white towers revisited

    Photo by Steven Izenour, July 1970

    The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania by the gift of Paul M. Hirshorn.

  • white towers revisited

    Photo by Steven Izenour, 1971

White Towers Revisited

Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, 05:00pmFriday, Apr. 17, 2015, 05:00pm
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Harvey and Irwin Kroiz Gallery

The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania

220 South 34th Street

Philadelphia, PA  19104

(215) 898-8323

Hours: M-F, 10-5pm

This exhibition takes a second look at a vital moment in the exploration of the American commercial landscape. Inspired by their work with Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, the architects Paul Hirshorn (b. 1941) and Steven Izenour (1940-2001) began photographing surviving examples of the pioneering White Tower hamburger chain in Camden, New York, Washington, Boston, and in their hometown of Philadelphia, during the summer of 1970. The combination of architectural skill and entrepreneurial purpose they found in the chain’s built legacy became the focus of their 1979 book, White Towers, a landmark study of architectural symbolism and communication that remains relevant today.

This exhibition includes over 30 of Izenour and Hirshorn’s finest photographs, printed in the early 1970s but, until now, not shown in public. The exhibition also features selections from White Tower’s corporate archives—a trove of over 3,000 historic images, drawings and objects that proved to be an essential component in their study. Recently donated to Penn’s Architectural Archives by the family of company founder Thomas E. Saxe, this resource documents the history of the company from its founding in 1926 to its eclipse in the early 1980s, providing one of the most vivid records of American commercial vernacular architecture. 

Curators: Paul Hirshorn and William Whitaker


Opening reception: January 15, 2015, 6:00-8:00 pm

On view: January 16, 2015 through April 17, 2015

Tour and Lecture: February 19, 2015 (schedule to come)

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