On November 10, the Vanna Venturi House was added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. Designed by architect Robert Venturi and completed in 1964, the house has been widely celebrated as an architectural icon but was previously unprotected.
The Chestnut Hill Historical Society submitted a nomination for the house to receive formal preservation by the City of Philadelphia through listing on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. The nomination was produced by architectural historians Emily Cooperman and Kathleen Abplanalp for the Historical Society, with funding from the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. As a result of the preservation designation, the Philadelphia Historical Commission will review all proposed changes to the exterior and any alterations that require a building permit.
Vincent Scully, a renowned American architectural historian, famously called the house the “biggest small building of the second half of the 20th century” for its impact of the trajectory of modernism. It was designed by Venturi early in his career for his mother. Until the designation, the house had no formal preservation protection, aside from the excellent stewardship by its owners for more than 50 years.
“I hope to be able to provide the same long-term tender loving care to this remarkable house as the Hughes family provided to it,” said David Lockard. He purchased the home in early 2016, and is just the third owner after the Hughes and Venturi families.
“The designation ensures that no matter the hands through which it passes over time, ‘Mother’s House’ will retain the essential features that make it an icon worldwide, inspire legions, and protect its singular place in architectural history,” said Lori Salganicofff, executive director of the Historical Society.
Photo credit: Matt Wargo, courtesy of Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania