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Hayden Hall (Dental School)

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Dental School
1894, Edgar V. Seeler. Smith Walk west of S. 33rd St.

Penn's first purpose-built dental school recalls H. H. Richardson's Sever Hall at Harvard, which Seeler would have known during his study at MIT. Here the paired bays of the facade provide small teaching spaces, while the main hall of the second floor was lined with dental chairs facing the even north light provided by the large windows. In the early twentieth century when the school moved to a larger facility by John T. Windrim at 40th and Spruce streets, the old dental hall was adapted to serve as the atelier of the university's architecture school. Here Louis Kahn, Joseph Esherick, Lou Davis, and Ehrman B. Mitchell studied and Robert Venturi, Ian McHarg, and the rest of the Philadelphia School faculty of the 1950s taught and argued. Across from Hayden Hall is the Towne Building, housing the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Cope and Stewardson designed it in 1902 in the brick and limestone mode of their other campus buildings, but with a distinct shift toward the late-seventeenth-century English Renaissance. This exterior belied the great industrial halls within; it was the largest building on the campus, attesting to the importance of engineering in the industrial age. The campus's best new building is Skirkanich Hall by New York City's Tod Williams and Billie Tsien (2003). Its strong form and brilliant coloration are the best demonstration of the value of architecture of its own age—rather than timid pastiches of the past.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Hayden Hall (Dental School)", [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 130-130.

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