Garth Rockcastle, Doug Reed, Rob Rogers and Ann Beha discuss their approaches to design in historic settings with moderator Winka Dubbeldam, Chair of the Architecture Department at Penn Design (left to right). Courtesy of PennDesign.
Over 170 people registered for the Design + Heritage Symposium co-sponsored by the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at PennDesign and the James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation on March 16th and 17th, 2017. Marlon Blackwell FAIA delivered an inspiring keynote address on Thursday evening, focusing on design’s place between “the ideal and the improvised” in current culture. With participants representing diverse disciplines and perspectives, the presentations and discussion afterwards on Friday were lively and provocative. Scattergood Design principal Pamela Hawkes, who is Professor of Practice in Historic Preservation at PennDesign, organized the event.
Key takeaways from the symposium have been synthesized by Molly Lester, graduate of the Historic Preservation Program at Penn, in a blog post for PennDesign News. The article includes links to videos of all the presentations and can be found at
The Richmond Station, located along the Delaware River north of center city Philadelphia, was designed by architect John T. Windrim and engineer W.E. R. Elgin. The mammoth classical revival structure came into service in 1925. Its vaulted, clear span Turbine Hall, measuring 315 feet x 123 feet by an average of 125 feet high, has been compared to New York’s Penn Station and the Baths of Caracalla in Rome. The building was hailed as one of the most efficient in the world when constructed, but was deemed obsolete just 60 years later and de-commissioned in 1985. In the 30 years since closure, the site has experienced vandalism, deferred maintenance and flooding, and the cycle of deterioration is accelerating. The site has been documented for the Historic American Buildings Survey, but not protected by local or national landmark designation.
This fall, Pamela’s section of the Preservation Planning Studio in the Historic Preservation Program at PennDesign developed and implementation strategy for stabilization and public use. The goal was to retain the remarkable character of the site, named among “Eight of the Coolest Abandoned Places in Philly” by Plan Philly in 2013. You can read more about the site and their work in the blog post by student Evan Oxland at: