This is the first comprehensive and fully documented study of Philadelphia's architecture (originally published in hardcover in 1974), covering all sections of the city and covering buildings from all periods, from those that have stood since Colonial times to influential and representative works of the twentieth century. The documentation is based on the latest research available to the authors, including their own extensive searches both in the archives and on the streets.
In all, some 450 buildings and/or locations are listed, and about 240 of these are illustrated, in almost every case with a contemporary photograph. The location of each building is noted, along with its date of construction and its architect, when these are known. When applicable, late major alterations are also cited, by date, architect, and extent. And in many cases, brief commentaries are included that place individual buildings in their historic context or that offer critical evaluations of their architectural merits.
The book opens with a historical review of architecture and planning in Philadelphia. This is followed be a guide to the city, divided into seven sections, and an abstracted map that the reader can use to pinpoint the locations of the listed buildings. These sections cover the Center City, Fairmount Park, North Philadelphia, the Northeast, South Philadelphia, West Philadelphia (including the University of Pennsylvania campus), and Germantown.
The authors stress a sense of area development and general trends, as opposed to the isolated consideration of separate monuments. However, the heterogeneity and diversity that have characterized every period are amply illustrated - highly individualized buildings are pictured in these pages side by side with more "typical" examples of various styles. Much of the best work of architects long identified with the city is shown, ranging from Edmund Woolley and Andrew Hamilton (the architects of Independence Hall) in the eighteenth century; to William Strickland, Frank Furman, Theophilus Chandler, and John McArthur, Jr., in the nineteenth; and to Louis I. Kahn and Robert Venturi in the the twentieth.
The book is a boon for the architecturally minded tourist, whether actually walking about the city using the book as a guide or touring Philadelphia from afar and using the book as a well-ordered substitute for the city itself.