Philadelphia’s Favorite Buildings?

A few days ago, the American Institute of Architects published a list of “America’s Favorite Architecture.” The Philadelphia buildings on the list may be America’s favorites, but are they Philadelphia’s?

Can we even take seriously a list on which five, a slim percentage of the total 150, are homegrown?

No local edifice cracks the top 20, although Philadelphia’s City Hall comes in at 21 (between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Bellagio Hotel and Casino). Sixteen of the top 20 (and 25 of the top 50) are in New York City or Washington, D.C. Good thing the editors offer a chance for readers to chime in with what is missing.

And with such a short list, plenty is. After City Hall, there’s the Philadelphia Museum of Art (#24); Wanamaker’s Department Store (#32); the Frank Furness’ Fisher Fine Arts Library at the University of Pennsylvania (#54) and 30th Street Station pulling up the rear (#137).

If you want the straight and narrow, which the list seems most of the time, what about Independence Hall? Or Carpenter’s Hall? What about the PSFS Building? And how about Richards’ Medical Building? Or Venturi’s Mother’s House? Or other of our buildings (Eastern State Penitentiary, Mercer Museum in Doylestown) that cast significant light, as well as meaningful shadow?

Explore posts in the same categories: Sixth Square Almanac

2 Comments on “Philadelphia’s Favorite Buildings?”

  1. rimrock Says:

    Well…first of all, the percentages are off by two orders of magnitude.

    I would tend, however, to agree that it’s ridiculous that the face of the $100 Bill and the epitome of Georgian architecture in America doesn’t make the list, as I would agree that the PFS building needs some place on the list as the first modern skyscraper in the US.

  2. whyy Says:

    Thanks for the correction.

    The Philadelphia Savings Fund Society building (PSFS) has long been more famous outside the US than inside – but that’s hardly an excuse.

    – The Sixth Square

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