Dilworth House, which will grace the east side of the Square, is flanked by the Athenaeum and the Lippincott Condominiums (the former L.P. Lippincott Publishers Building). The new building will replace a Chester County-style farmhouse designed by colonial revivalist G. Edwin Brumbaugh for Mayor Richardson Dilworth and his wife in 1957. The Chester County replica replaced two important early 19th century townhouses. Ironically, Brumbaugh's design was a suburban gesture in an urban renewal context.
The Venturi design honors both the scale and magnificence of the Square. The building will complete the composition of the Square's east side, aligning the building with the streetscape. The materials of the facade complement the buildings of the Square with brownstone and limestone, and replace Brumbaugh's colonial-revival brick house. The Dilworth House is designed to preserve light in the Athenaeum's great stair and rear garden.
The project is a homecoming for Venturi, Philadelphia's most distinguished contemporary architect. This is Venturi's first Center City project and his first high-rise residential project in Philadelphia. As early as 1962, with the design of his mother's home in Chestnut Hill, Venturi challenged the established principles of modern architecture by advocating continuity between historical forms and contemporary architecture that captured the complexity and contradictions of modern life. Venturi and partner Denise Scott Brown have moved contemporary architecture from the old, ascetic purity of the early Euro-modernists to a modern vocabulary that communicates purpose and culture within the larger framework of our civilization.
Venturi's projects are well received throughout the world: the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery in London; the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego; the Seattle Art Museum; the Departement de la Haute-Garonne provincial capitol building in Toulouse, France; and the Mielparque Nikko Kirifuri Resort in Japan. These works have established Venturi as one of the most prominent architectural philosophers of his generation.
"Robert deserves a stage as worthy as Washington Square," says John J. Turchi Jr., who commissioned Venturi and challenged him to continue the great evolution of the Square. "Our desire is to create a 21st century building that takes an honored place in Washington Square's evolving and dynamic architectural history."
According to historian George E. Thomas "...of all of Penn's original five squares, Washington Square best tells the Philadelphia architectural narrative." The Square begins with the familiar brick and marble-trimmed Georgian houses on the northwest corner and continues through the various historical eras, from the early Republic to the historical revivals of the early Victorian, and then to the muscular Victorian of Frank Furness's PSFS Bank addition. In the 20th century, the Square was transformed by large-scale buildings that address each other across the Square: the mass of the Curtis Publishing Co.'s printing plant on the north, the N. W. Ayer art deco skyscraper by Ralph Bencker in 1929 on the west and Oscar Stonorov's Euro-modern Hopkinson House on the south.
"Every important era of the city's architectural heritage can be seen here, making it an appropriate setting for a work by the city's pre-eminent architect," says Thomas. "The addition of a Robert Venturi designed building to Washington Square represents an extraordinary opportunity to make the history of the future. It is hard to imagine a better counterpoint to the halo of tall buildings that now encircle the Square than this design by the architects who have continued the evolution from Furness to Howe to Kahn."
About Turchi Properties, Inc.
Turchi Properties is a leading property development and management firm in Philadelphia, PA (www.turchiproperties.com). For nearly four decades, Turchi has been developing exceptional spaces for people to live and has perfected the art of making luxury apartments and condominiums "home" to hundreds of Philadelphia residents. Turchi Properties has earned a reputation as a master builder that uses only the finest materials and craftsmanship to create the premier residential spaces. Other Turchi Properties' residential developments include 23 - A Condominium, The Green Tree, 1700 Walnut Street, Nineteen Thirty Chestnut Street and The Oakwood.