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PHILADELPHIA (February 12, 2018) – In honor of Parkway 100, the centennial celebration of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, art historian David B. Brownlee, has prepared a new edition of his major 1989 publication, Building the City Beautiful: The Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Considered the definitive history of the Parkway, the book explores Philadelphia’s cultural boulevard as one of the grandest examples of the American City Beautiful Movement.  Brownlee’s new edition features -recent research about the contributions of the notable African-American architect Julian Abele, the hidden history of the Academy of Natural Sciences, and the rivalrous relationship of French architects Paul Cret and Jacques Gréber.

“It is a delight to revisit the history of one of the city’s grandest endeavors during the centennial celebration for the Parkway,” said Brownlee. “This updated work will give readers a deeper understanding of the Parkway as we reflect on the past and look to the future for Philadelphia’s grand boulevard.”

The new edition features updated color photography of some of the most prominent locations along the Parkway. Published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the 2018 edition is made possible by support from the Parkway Council, along with major sponsorship support from PECO and additional support from Fox Rothchild LLP.

Building the City Beautiful is available for purchase at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Barnes Foundation, Logan Square Café at Sister Cities Park, and Capriccio Café and Bar at Cret Park.

Brownlee will appear at a number of Parkway 100 events. See below for details.

Parkway 100 is 14-month long celebration featuring exhibitions, events, community conversation, and promotions in honor of the centennial of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Parkway 100 a result of the creative collaboration of 24 Parkway Council member organizations. For more information, visit www.parkway100.org.www.parkway100.org


Monday, February 19
2 – 3:30 p.m. – Parkway 100 Book Signing at Philadelphia Museum of Art Store
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130

Saturday, February 24
11 a.m. – noon – Parkway 100 Community Conversation at Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Perelman Media Room
2525 Pennsylvania Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 1930
**for sustainer level members and above

Wednesday, March 21
6:30 p.m. – Philadelphia City Institute
1905 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Friday, April 6
6 – 6:45 p.m. – Parkway 100 Community Conversation at The Barnes Foundation
2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130
Included with price of First Friday programming admission 


Title: Building the City Beautiful: The Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Rev. ed.)                                                                                                                                              

ISBN: 978-0-87633-279-5

Author: David B. Brownlee                                                                                                                                                         

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 150

Retail price: $29.95

Trim size: 11 x 9 in. landscape

Illustrations: 65 color; 80 b/w


About the Author

David B. Brownlee is the Frances Shapiro-Weitzenhoffer Professor of 19th Century European Art at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a historian of modern architecture whose interests embrace a wide range of subjects in Europe and America, from the late eighteenth century to the present. His work has earned three major publication prizes from the Society of Architectural Historians. Selected publications include Louis I. Kahn: In the Realm of Architecture (with David G. De Long,1991), Making a Modern Classic: The Architecture of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1997), Building America’s First University: An Historical and Architectural Guide to the University of Pennsylvania (with George Thomas, 2000), Out of the Ordinary: Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Associates: Architecture, Urbanism, Design (with David De Long and Kathryn Hiesinger, 2001), and The Barnes Foundation: Two Buildings, One Mission (2012).

About the Parkway Council

The Parkway Council is a coalition of cultural and educational institutions and businesses in the Benjamin Franklin Parkway area of Philadelphia, known as the Parkway Museums District. The Parkway Council is dedicated to ensuring that the Parkway Museums District realizes its potential as a truly unique cultural destination. The Parkway Council’s members are committed to creating a distinctive, vibrant, and welcoming place for local residents, visitors, and the institutions and businesses that share the Parkway. The Parkway Council works closely with the City of Philadelphia and other public and private organizations to identify the best strategies for enhancing and promoting the Parkway, and serves as a strategic partner and catalyst to ensure that those strategies are implemented.

About the Philadelphia Museum of Art

We are Philadelphia’s art museum. A landmark building. A world-renowned collection. A place that welcomes everyone. We bring the arts to life, inspiring visitors—through scholarly study and creative play—to discover the spirit of imagination that lies in everyone. We connect people with the arts in rich and varied ways, making the experience of the Museum surprising, lively, and always memorable. We are committed to inviting visitors to see the world—and themselves—anew through the beauty and expressive power of the arts.