Does the image above remind you of the design of the South End library? No surprise if it does, as it was the product of the same architectural firm of Mitchell/Giurgola, then based in Philadelphia, now in New York. Dan Kelley, the principal architect of MGA Partners, which began as Mitchell/Giurgola, will be at the South End branch to talk about the library’s architectural history on Tuesday, March 12, at 6:30 PM.
In a talk titled, Beyond City Hall, Kelley will describe how Romaldo Giurgola, one of the key figures of The Philadelphia School of the 1960’s, challenged doctrinaire modernism with designs and buildings that conceptually recognized their context. Giurgola completed the BPL’s South End library branch in 1971 as he and the Mitchell/Giurgola Architects firm attracted national and international attention for their work. Giurgola was awarded the AIA Gold Medal in 1983. In his presentation, Kelley will track the ideas in Giurgola’s work and survey the design history of the firm’s South End library project.
Romaldo Giurgola left Philadelphia when he became the chair of the Columbia University School of Architecture and Planning, around the time the South End branch was designed. He opened a second office of Mitchell/Giurgola in New York City, and later moved to Canberra, Australia, when the firm won the competition to design the Australian Parliament building. He passed away in 2016. His partner in the firm, Ehrman Mitchell, died in 2005. The Philadelphia office is now called MGA Partners.