Historic Preservation

  • Philadelphia Electric Company's Kensington District Office, John T. Windrim, architect, 1931

The Company and (or) as the City: Architecture at Philadelphia Electric, 1900 - 1930

Thursday, Apr. 13, 2017Friday, Jun. 30, 2017
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Harvey and Irwin Kroiz Gallery, Architectural Archives
220 South 34th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Gallery Talk: 6:00pm
Exhibition Reception and Book Talk: 6:30pm
Note: The Gallery is closed May 15 - 31.

Aaron Wunsch, Assistant Professor, Graduate Program in Historic Preservation
Joseph E. B. Elliott, Lecturer, Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, and Professor of Art, Muhlenberg College

Co-presented by the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation and the Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania in celebration of the publication of Palazzos of Power: Central Stations of the Philadelphia Electric Company, 1900-1930 (Princeton Architectural Press, 2016).

About the Book
“If it isn’t Electric, it isn’t Modern.” Such was the slogan of the Philadelphia Electric Company, developer of an unprecedented network of massive metropolitan power stations servicing greater Philadelphia at the turn of the twentieth century. These once-brilliant sentinels of civic utility and activity were designed to convey ‘solidity and immensity’ in an age of deep public skepticism. They now stand vacant and decaying, a blight in the eyes of city planners and a beacon to urban explorers. The first book on the buildings and machines that made possible the electrification of the United States, Palazzos of Power offers a visual and analytical exploration of architecture, technology, place, loss, and reuse. With a foreword by David Nye, this collection of Joseph Elliott’s beautiful large-format photographs reveals the urban landscape, monumental spaces, giant machinery, and intricate controls that made up the central station. Aaron Wunsch’s essay provides historical context on the social and political climate.