PSFS - Loews Hotel 1

    Newer Older

    Designed by George Howe and William Lescaze in 1930, the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society building is the first important American skyscraper built in the International Style.

    This precursor to Modernism took off in Europe in the 1920s. But Howe's design was still considered unconventional in the U.S. when construction began. The building wasn't fully appreciated as a masterpiece until the height of the Modernism movement almost a decade after it was built. In 1939, the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects awarded it a gold medal. Thirty years later, the building was named "Building of the Century" by the same chapter.

    Howe certainly didn't skimp on the materials used in the construction. The tower is covered with limestone, and the base of the building is faced with granite. A Cartier-designed clock greets visitors when they step off the escalator on the second floor. Other materials include stainless steel, Belgian black and Bardiglio gray marble, terrazo and exotic woods.

    The Philadelphia Saving Fund Society closed in 1992, and the building sat unused for a few years. But the opening of the Pennsylvania Convention Center a block away in 1994 created a need for hotel space in the area, and in 1997, the Loews Corporation purchased the building, One of my favorite architectural details is the typeface used in the building's signage. It looks like ITC Avant Garde Gothic or Avenir, but it isn't. (Anyone know?)

    Here's a great NY Times article about the PSFS renovation for those who want to learn more.

    shanestroud, gap123, and Joe Architect added this photo to their favorites.

    1. Atul Sabnis 100 months ago | reply

      I stayed here in 2005 :)

    2. doolally_w7 91 months ago | reply

      I had dinner next door to this hotel last week. The great thing with your Photo, is that it could be black & white, or color. a stunning building!

    3. lsc21 91 months ago | reply

      Thanks doolally_w7. It is an amazing building.

    4. d i s - s e c t i o n 89 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Philadelphia Architecture, and we'd love to have your photo added to the group.

    keyboard shortcuts: previous photo next photo L view in light box F favorite < scroll film strip left > scroll film strip right ? show all shortcuts