Paul Philippe Cret (1876-1945) previous collection archive home next collection

Portrait of Paul Cret
Robert Fulton Memorial Competition, 1901.

Pan-American Union Building

Born and educated in France, he began his formal architectural training at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in his native city of Lyons. He came to the United States to accept the position of Professor of Design at the University of Pennsylvania where he remained on faculty until 1907 when he resigned to commence his professional practice. The Pan American Union Building (1910) in Washington, D.C., designed in association with Albert Kensley, was Cret's first important commission. In collaboration with the firm Zantzinger, Borie and Medary, he executed a series of outstanding public buildings including the Indianapolis Central Public Library (1913-16), Detroit Institute of Arts (1921), and the Valley Forge Memorial Arch (1910). Cret's design career also included a number of War Memorials erected in France following the frist World War. He won the A.I.A. Gold Medal in 1938

About the Collection

A gift of John F. Harbeson, the archive consists of Cret's student and professional work and is displayed on approximately four hundred and seventy-six sheets containing one or more drawings, photos, or prints per sheet. The archival holdings may be broadly divided into eighty-eight sheets of student work at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Lyon and Paris, fifty-three student and professional watercolors, thirteen sheets of bookplates, seals, medals and title pages, fifty-six sheets of competitions (thirty-two of various university designs), nine sheets of commercial work, one hundred and two of memorials, twenty-two sheets of government buildings, twelve residential designs, twenty-one sheets of bridge designs, five sheets of watercolors and ink sketches by Col. Oscar Lahalle (Cret's father-in-law), and one hundred and eleven sheets of varied design work.