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Irvine Auditorium

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1925–1927, Horace Trumbauer; 1995–1999 restored and reconfigured, Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates. 3401 Spruce St.

The acoustical problems of Trumbauer's towering homage to Mont St. Michel were long the subject of a student myth that the building was a failed student architectural project forced on the university by an angry parent. In fact, the building's problems were the result of too much interference by the client and too weak an architect to push back. Nonetheless, Irvine is a stunning vertical space that rises into its great central tower and is made memorable by the psychedelic color of the Hollywoodesque Gothic interior. Those features were preserved in a brilliant reformulation of the interior by Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, who cut away the side seating areas to resolve the acoustical problems. The removed spaces were adapted to provide needed performance rooms and a café while achieving an acoustically live hall that is now a regional showplace.

Writing Credits

Author: 
George E. Thomas
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Citation

George E. Thomas, "Irvine Auditorium", [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/PA-02-PH147.7.

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, 131-131.

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