You are here

Irvine Auditorium

-A A +A
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

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Irvine Auditorium", [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, 131-131.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.

, ,