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University of Pennsylvania School of Design

University of Pennsylvania School of Design
Logo of PennDesign
Motto Leges sine moribus vanae
Motto in English
Laws without morals are in vain
Established 1914
Type Private research university

Marilyn Jordan Taylor

(Since October 1, 2008)
Location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Campus Urban, 269 acres (1.1 km²)
Colors Red & Blue          
Nickname Template:If empty
Affiliations Ivy League, AAU, COFHE

The University of Pennsylvania School of Design (PennDesign) is the design school of the University of Pennsylvania. It is currently ranked 3rd in urban planning by The Best Colleges, 10th in urban planning by Planetizen, and 8th in architecture by DesignIntelligence.[1][2] PennDesign offers degrees in architecture, landscape architecture, city and regional planning, historic preservation, and fine arts, as well as several dual degrees with other graduate schools at the University of Pennsylvania, including the Wharton School and Penn Law. The School of Design is known for its distinguished faculty, which have included architects Louis Kahn and Robert Venturi and pioneer of landscape architecture Ian McHarg. Denise Scott Brown graduated from the School of Design in 1960.

File:Upenn school of design.jpg
Front of the University of Pennsylvania School of Design in Philadelphia, PA.


Architectural courses were first offered by the University of Pennsylvania in 1868, making the school the second oldest architectural program in the United States. By the turn of the century it was well established, attracting well-known local architects to its faculty: Walter Cope, John Stewardson, Frank Miles Day, and Wilson Eyre, who formed the first Philadelphia School.[3] In 1903, these architects were joined by Frenchman Paul Philippe Cret, winner of seven national competitions.

In 1914, Penn's original initiative was augmented with lectures in city planning and landscape architecture, while within another seven years fine arts and music had joined architectural studies to create an independent undergraduate School of Fine Arts, modeled on the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. The School of Fine Arts joined with the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the Museum School to offer programs in painting and sculpture. In 1924, Landscape Architecture was made into an autonomous department.

In the 1950s the school was under the leadership of G. Holmes Perkins, recruited from Harvard to reinvigorate the offerings. Perkins, founded the city planning department and focused the landscape architecture program on urban ecology. The Department of Architecture saw the arrival of structural engineers Robert LeRicolais and August Komendant, along with architects Romaldo Giurgola, Robert Venturi, Robert Geddes. He included 1924 Penn graduate Louis I. Kahn among the architecture faculty. A dedicated educator and philosopher, Kahn became the spiritual leader of the revived Philadelphia School at Penn.

In 1958 the School was renamed the Graduate School of Fine Arts, and before long, the GSFA had become a home for the leading figures in each of the disciplines. The City and Regional Planning Department recruited an extraordinary array of faculty including Lewis Mumford, Charles Abrams, Britton Harris, Martin Meyerson, Edmund Bacon, Erwin Gutkind, Denise Scott Brown, and Ann Louise Strong. A renewed Department of Landscape Architecture came under the dynamic leadership of Ian McHarg, while Peter Shepheard, architect, landscape architect and planner, succeeded Perkins as dean. A Civic Design Program later renamed Urban Design and led by David Crane was established as a joint offering by Architecture and City Planning. The Fine Arts Department became a full-fledged professional program under the leadership of Piero Dorazio, Neil Welliver, and Robert Engman. And in the early 1980s, the school added a program in Historic Preservation. The Graduate Program in Historic Preservation is headed by Randall F Mason. Other faculty include Frank Matero (who is also the Director of the Program's Architectural Conservation Laboratory), David De Long, Lindsay Falck, David Hollenberg, John Brayton Hinchman, Gail Winkler, A.E. Charola, John Milner, Donovan Rypkema, and Michael Henry among many others.

Named Dean in 1996, Gary Hack revived many of the school’s programs, giving attention to the Department of City and Regional Planning by recruiting well known practitioners and academics including Jonathan Barnett, Robert Yaro, Thomas Daniels, Lynne Sagalyn, John Landis, and Eugenie Birch, and the Department of Landscape Architecture under the leadership of James Corner, known for his work through his firm Field Operations on the designs for New York City's High Line and Fresh Kills land fill, and Laurie Olin, Professor of Practice. Frank Matero leads the Architectural Conservation Laboratory (, and has applied his expertise in conservation to New Orleans, Gordion, Mesa Verde, Bandelier, Philadelphia's Merchant's Exchange and other critically threatened places. The Department of Architecture faculty includes Witold Rybczynski, Marion Weiss, Cecil Balmond, Enrique Norten, Winka Dubbeldam, Detlef Mertins, Ali Malkawi, Manuel De Landa, KieranTimberlake and David Leatherbarrow, while the Department of Fine Arts was strengthened with the addition of painter John Moore, painter Jackie Tileston, artist Joshua Mosley and sculptor Terry Adkins and most recently artist, designer and researcher Orkan Telhan, photographer Nancy Davenport, and Ken Lum. As Chair, John Moore brought internationally renowned artists and critics to the School of Design, including Robert Storr, Robert Hughes, Chuck Close and Eric Fischl. In addition, Hack created PennPraxis, the practice arm of the school, whose most prominent projects have been undertaken by its Delaware Riverfront Planning Project and its Center for Affordable Housing. Other associated centers and institutes include the T.C. Chan Center for Building Simulation and Energy Studies, the Center for Redevelopment Excellence (CUREx), and the Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR). In 2003, the school changed its name to the School of Design – known familiarly as PennDesign – to reflect a more accurate description of the School's major concerns and advancements made across a variety of fields.

On May 15, 2008, President Amy Gutmann announced that Marilyn Jordan Taylor, Chairman of the Urban Land Institute and erstwhile Chairman of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, was named Dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. She has replaced outgoing Dean Gary Hack.

Degree Programs Offered


  • Master of Architecture – Professional
  • Master of Architecture – Post Professional
  • Master in Environmental Building Design (MEBD)
  • Master of Science
  • Doctor of Philosophy

City & Regional Planning

  • Master of City Planning
  • Doctor of Philosophy in City Planning
  • Accelerated B.A./M.C.P.

Fine Arts

Historic Preservation

  • Master of Science in Historic Preservation

Landscape Architecture

  • Master of Landscape Architecture

Urban Spatial Analytics

  • Master of Urban Spatial Analytics

Certificates are offered in Urban Design, Historic Preservation, Time-Based Media, Graphic Design, Urban Redevelopment and Real Estate Design and Development. Joint Degrees are offered among all programs in the School of Design, as well as with the Wharton School, Penn Law, School of Social Policy and Practice, The Fels School of Government, The School of Education, and The School of Engineering and Applied Science



A student-run journal of the Department of City and Regional Planning.

PDF archive available here


The Landscapes in Process series is an annual publication of work undertaken in design studios, lectures and seminars as well as student awards, faculty news and list of graduates.

PDF archive available here

Via Publications

Main article: Via Publications

viaPublications is a student-edited and student-managed publishing entity based at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. viaPublications includes VIA Journal (1968-2000), and viaBooks (2008-).


The WORK series of publications documents student work in architectural design studios and courses each year, as well as events, faculty news and student awards. It also includes abstracts of PhD dissertations defended that year.

PDF archive available here


Skylights light the 1st-story seminar rooms, and arched clerestory windows light the Rotunda Reading Room. The auditorium (now an architecture studio) occupies the apse's 3rd and 4th stories.

Charles Addams Fine Arts Hall

"Located in the former Skinner Hall, overlooking Walnut Street across from the University Bookstore, the state-of-the-art facility has been named The Charles Addams Fine Arts Hall in memory of the former Penn student and world-renowned cartoonist, Charles Addams (1912-1988). The building houses student works and studios for fine arts students."[4]

Duhring Wing

"Attached to the Fisher Fine Arts Library."[5]

Anne and Jerome Fisher Fine Arts Library (also known as Furness Library)

"The historic library is the major masterpiece of Philadelphia's most important Victorian architect, Frank Furness. Combining genius in planning and form, it is a seminal library design that expresses function while merging the imagery of cathedral and railroad station. Additions in 1916, 1922, and 1931; Restored from 1986-91 by Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates. The 1931 McGoodwin addition, is home to the Arthur Ross Gallery."[6]

Meyerson Hall

Main article: Meyerson Hall

Meyerson Hall houses the University of Pennsylvania's School of Design. The building, designed by the architecture firm of Martin, Stewart, Nobel & Class, was constructed in 1967 in concrete and brick. The total area of the building is 93,780 square feet (8,712 m2).

Morgan Building

"Originally this was part of the Foulke and Long Institute, an orpahanage. The Morgan Building shares the brick, north Italian vocabulary with other buildings of the Pepper era and plays a major role in defining the character of 34th Street." [7]

See also


  1. Planetizen, The Top Schools for Urban Planners, The Top Schools for Urban Planners,
  2. The Best Colleges, The 10 Best Graduate Programs In Urban And Regional Planning, The 10 Best Graduate Programs In Urban And Regional Planning, [1].
  3. History adapted in part from
  4. "Campus Map". 
  5. "Campus Map". 
  6. "Campus Map". 
  7. "Campus Map". 

External links

Coordinates: 39°57′08″N 75°11′33″W / 39.95212°N 75.19260°W / 39.95212; -75.19260{{#coordinates:39.95212|-75.19260|type:edu_globe:earth_region:US-PA|||||| |primary |name= }}