Internationally renowned architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown have helped transform contemporary design through their innovative architecture and planning. Winners of numerous prestigious awards, their designs have championed multiculturalism, social activism, symbolism, pop culture, history and evolving technologies.
[RV] The Benjamin Franklin Memorial Building was what era about?
[DSB] 1976, I think.
[RV] 1976, that’s right, it was built for the ’76 celebration in Philadelphia. Another wonderful immediate client, where the… where the site of Benjamin Franklin’s house which was sitting within the city block, was known and understood. But his house… there were no illustrations of it but as we could find out via… via digging up… what do you call historical…
[RV] Archaeology… archaeology, we could find out the exact size of the house via the foundations that were there. And we did something that became rather famous which was what we called a ghost structure, which was an approximation of what the house looked like via a steel frame and it was well received. The architect, the land… the firm that did the structural engineering was Keast and Hood, and there were a lot of other aspects to it, where we used a lot of iconography, we used a lot of Ben Franklin’s phrases all over, all over the place. It was an important element, which was the landscape architecture.
Title: The Benjamin Franklin Memorial building (Part 1)
Thomas Hughes is Mellon Professor Emeritus of the History of Science at the University of Pennsylvania and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His most recent books include Human Built World, Rescuing Prometheus and American Genesis. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society, US National Academy of Engineering, Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.