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Building the City Beautiful: The Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Revised Edition)

Building the City Beautiful: The Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Revised Edition)

by David B. Brownlee

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Building the City Beautiful, originally published in 1989, is the definitive book on the history of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Between 1871 and 1929, Philadelphia planned and executed a scheme to build a broad parkway, cutting diagonally through the existing grid-pattern of William Penn’s seventeenth-century plan and connecting the business district with Fairmount Park. This publication traces the history of the Parkway as one of the “City Beautiful” movement’s most notable successes, giving attention to architects and planners who have not been properly examined. It also details the legal, financial, and political problems that accompanied the aspirations of some of the city’s most prominent citizens.

On the occasion of the Parkway’s centennial in 2017, Brownlee has revised the publication—which has long been out of print—adding new material on the Parkway’s past and present, including stunning new color photography. This lively and accessible book will make a perfect keepsake for visitors, Philadelphia residents, and history buffs alike.

About the Author
David Brownlee is the Frances Shapiro-Weitzenhoffer Professor of 19th-Century European Art at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a historian of modern architecture whose interests embrace a wide range of subjects in Europe and America, from the late eighteenth century to the present. His work has earned three major publication prizes from the Society of Architectural Historians.

Selected publications by David Brownlee include: Louis I. Kahn: In the Realm of Architecture (with David G. De Long, 1991); Making a Modern Classic: The Architecture of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1997); Building America’s First University: An Historical and Architectural Guide to the University of Pennsylvania (with George Thomas, 2000); Out of the Ordinary: Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Associates: Architecture, Urbanism, Design (with David De Long and Kathryn Hiesinger, 2001); and The Barnes Foundation: Two Buildings, One Mission (2012).

150 pages
65 color + 80 b&w illus.
11 x 9 inches (landscape)
ISBN: 978-0-87633-279-5