George Pepper Middle School in Eastwick and the International House in University City are two of Philadelphia’s most representative examples of Brutalist architecture. The former, a commanding pile of rigid geometry – designed by Claudill Rowlett Scott in 1969 – currently sits vacant and vandalized following a wave of Philadelphia public school closures in 2013. The latter, designed by Bower & Fradley architects in 1966, is a landmark of the so-called “Philadelphia School” whose future was put into flux by the changing mission of its founding organization. Are these buildings oppressive, blighted eyesores – as some have characterized them – or are they utopian visions worthy of a second act? Take-in both of these concrete behemoths while discussing their history, architectural significance, and their future potential for serving the community again.
Tour guides: Michael Bixler, Hidden City Philadelphia and George Poulin, AIA
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