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The Grand (Packard Building)

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Packard Building
1922, Ritter and Shay; 2002 rehabilitated. 15th and Chestnut sts.

The larger scale of the modern city is evident in the first important tall building by the firm that became synonymous with the city's 1920s skyline. It marks their understanding that the point of the tall building was identity, achieved at street level through intense detail—here the massive Renaissance-inspired iron gates on the Chestnut Street facade by Samuel Yellin—and on the skyline, where pairs of giant columns in antis on the north and south facades screen the three-story conference room placed to provide views of the new downtown. Each of their later towers would further emphasize this point, including the Lombard Romanesque–detailed 1500 Walnut Street (1927) and culminating with the Churrigueresque scrolls and dome of the Drake Hotel at 1520 Spruce Street in 1929. The first-floor banking room with its massive Renaissance-coffered ceiling carried by great columns was one of the city's premier commercial spaces and originally was furnished with Yellin-designed banking furniture.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "The Grand (Packard Building)", [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, 95-95.

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