These scans were taken from a set of measured drawings of Philadelphia houses done by first-year architecture students at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Fine Arts in 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, and 1981.* They were produced for a course conducted by John Blatteau and Paul Hirshorn, with an assignment directing students to record a dwelling in a standardized format on a 11 x 17-inch piece of paper combining a specific set of plans, sections, elevations, and details.
Many students chose older buildings, often apartments or group homes that had been converted from single-family houses, which reflect significant change since their initial construction. The plan is often a snapshot of accommodation to changed uses and new domestic norms, especially in the reconfiguration of kitchens and bathrooms. To some degree their distribution within the city doubtlessly tracks the areas of Philadelphia best known to these Penn students, many probably near their places of residence.
The collection is a valuable resource documenting the configuration of a wide range of housing, much of it of a middling sort not usually so completely recorded in such careful drawings. The block-long frontages also record parts of the city in a way not commonly seen.
Our initial goal here is to present these in a comprehensive
way easily accessed geographically. At some later point we may
try to annotate these in terms of their history and typologies.
To access information by location, click on any of the dots to see information and images for that site. To access sites in the more crowded areas, click on the portions of the map marked "Inset" to zoom in further. From the inset maps you may click individual locations to link to images of that site. For rowhouses located in northern Philadelphia, outside the boundaries of this map, please look at the Far North Philadelphia map. You may also access these images through an alphabetical list according to the address.
*The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Fine Arts has agreed to make digital surrogates of these images accessible via the web exclusively for consultation by researchers, students, educators, and others pursuing their curiosity. No item may be reproduced, redistributed, or republished in any way without the express prior written permission of the The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Fine Arts. You must agree to accept these conditions in order to use this website.