Drexel University, LeBow College of Buisness, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

When Drexel University elected to build a truly modern facility for the Bennett S. LeBow College of Business it turned to Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects to create a 40,000 sq. ft. building that could combine state-of-the-art technical capabilities with architecture appropriate to the tradition of the Drexel campus. The Peck Alumni Center, a landmark designed by Frank Furness is located just one block west on Market Street. Its red brick serves as inspiration for the Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie design.

While the Bennett S. LeBow College of Business will respect its historic neighbor, it is unquestionably a building of the 21st century. The architects have incorporated a variety of elements that enhance the use of advanced audiovisual equipment. For example, the massing of the building limits light into those classrooms designated for electronic conferencing and other presentation techniques.

The top floor is reserved for the executive program and is intended both to foster learning and impart a truly professional atmosphere to the Business School. The plan includes two boardroom style classrooms connected by a large space well-suited for receptions, dinners and other uses. The fourth floor location provides expansive views of the campus and West Philadelphia.

The building’s exterior is accented by round aluminum column covers that are painted the official “Drexel Blue” — a color widely used on campus. The transparent curtain wall creates the principal façade of the building.

Client: Drexel University, Warren Woldore
Completion Date: 2002
Area: 40,000 square feet
Associate Architects: Burt Hill Kogar Rittelman Associates


Texas A&M School of Architecture (Unbuilt)

The design for the architecture school at Texas A&M arose from an architectural interest in intervention. The site was a series of low-rise buildings typical of the campus. Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects approached the problem by strongly interrupting the standard pattern of buildings with a striking, sharp edged, tall structure. The goal of the building was to create a sensational, sculptural form — distinct from the rest of the landscape.

The main body of the building is wedge-shaped. A trapezoidal plane of glass and steel angles off of this primary form. This shelters a student gathering area. The hope being that the building will contribute to a feeling of community among students. An element that emphasizes the contrast between this building and its neighbors is the random placement of windows on the facade.

Client: Texas A&M School Planning Board



University of Houston, Houston, Texas

The Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture at the University of Houston is situated at the head of a major pedestrian mall. The school building is a gateway to other sites on campus and therefore visited by students of many disciplines beyond archtiecture.

The source of inspiration for the building is the “House of Education” designed, but never built, by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux in the late eighteenth century. At the University of Houston the model is adapted for this non-residential school of six-hundred forty students. One element from the original that was altered in shape is a crown of columns that tops the building. This clearly identifies the building from any point on campus. The exterior is sheathed in a rose-beige brick that is compatible in color with adjacent structures. The base is faced in polished Cambrian black granite and the sloped roof is covered in copper.

When asked why he chose to follow Ledoux’s design so carefully for a new building, Johnson replied that since Ledoux did not have the opportunity to finish his great work himself, Johnson would take it upon himself to do so.

Client: University of Houston
Completion Date: 1985
Area: 153,000 square feet
Associate Architect: Morris Aubry Architects


Dorothy & Dexter Baker Center for the Arts (general view), Muhlenberg College-large

Muhlenberg College Fine Arts Center, Allentown, Pennsylvania

The Fine Arts Center at Muhlenberg College is comprised of a recital hall, gallery space, art studios, classrooms and faculty offices. The complex is a series of spaces along a 200-foot long promenade.

The path of approach to the building is an open invitation to those leaving the student union across the street. The tall, gabled entry presides over the area like a meeting house over a New England village. The upper section of the entry is glazed to its peak with a thick grid of mullions. The brick paving along the promenade continues beyond the doors and settles inside.

The interior of the entrance is flanked with white brick walls illuminated by skylight above. A series of intimate nooks are formed by the slicing of the galleria through the building at a forty-five degree angles, along side of which are carpeted benches and works of art.

What began as a humanities center became a campus focal point with the simplest of elements; sunlight, niches and a promenade. It has become a popular gathering place for students, and the openness of the galleria makes it a convenient location for receptions, formal dinners and community events.

Client: Muhlenburg College
Completion Date: 1977




Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica, New York

Known to be one of Philip Johnson’s favorite projects from the 1960s, Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute derives from Johnson’s appreciation of Mies Van der Rohe’s single span structures. Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute is an elegant granite-clad cube supported by monumental bronze girders. The ground level is recessed, glazed and hidden in a surrounding moat. The visitor enters through a large opening within the structure’s symmetrical facade. At the heart of the building is a monumental central space that is two stories tall. This contains a symmetric staircase with thin, graceful balustrades. The galleries surround this central space at both levels.

Johnson has designed many museums and institutional structures. Often he has employed the central atrium as a major focus for such buildings, as he has done here.

Client: The Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute
Completion Date: 1960
Associate Architect: Bice & Baird Architects



Manhattan School of Music, New York, New York

This building is an important conservatory for jazz and classical music. It was designed by Shreve, Lamb and Harmen and built in 1931. Considerable research was needed for the correct selection of the various tonal elements such as carpeting, lighting and furnishings. The extensive restoration brought the auditorium back to its original glory of rich art deco colors, wood and metal work.

Client: Manhattan School of Music
Completion Date: 1994



Pennsylvania Academy of Music, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Academy of Music is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to musical training. Students range in age from kindergarten to high school. The Academy chose Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects to design a new centerpiece for its campus in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. At its heart the project has a new performance space — a 370-seat recital hall and grand foyer — that gives the feeling of intimacy yet retains the monumental aspect that the academy required.

Nineteenth century masonry buildings line the block where the new 65,000 sq. ft. structure sits. The architects have placed a dramatic rounded full-height glass wall enclosing the Grand Foyer, flanked by masonry end pieces. The square, recessed window openings and open loggia arcade contrast with the glass wall, and relate to the scale of the existing context.

Classrooms, rehearsal spaces and a library surround the performance space and an audio lab dominates the second floor. On the upper level, studios enclose a roof garden that sits above the recital hall.


Ohio State University –  Brown Hall

This project is composed of a seven-story faculty building for the Mathematics Department with an adjoining two-story lecture hall, and an 85,000 Sq. Ft., four-story science and technology library  building. Entrances are accentuated by corbelled arches and windows, and the copings are sills are detailed with a light red brick and granite trim. The arcade of the library building has walkways of slate and brick pavers which connect to the adjoining buildings.

seaton hall fine arts center

Seaton hill Fine Arts Center


St. Francis

The 58,000 s.f. expansion of the Maurice Stokes Physical Education Building for Saint Francis College, contains new spaces on the fi rst fl oor including an Entrance Lobby, Natatorium, Gymnasium, Locker Rooms, Racquetball Courts, Administration Offices, and Ancillary Storage. The second fl oor spaces consist of a Center for Rehabilitation Education, Multi-purpose Classrooms, a Fitness Center, and a suspended Running Track. As the winning entry of a design/build competition, the project was designed and constructed at a total cost of less than $60 per square foot. The organization of the new building is designed as an “L”-shape off the existing infrastructure. It is a simple envelope around two sides of the existing building. In accordance with the particular needs of the primary and support spaces, a hybrid structural system was used. This approach utilized the most effi cient systems for the spatial needs and in turn cut costs signifi cantly. The existing circulation joins with the new lobby and corridors, creating one ring of circulation that unites both the old and the new buildings. Conceived as a collection of simple, tightly wrapped, three-dimensional,volumes, which “hug” the Stokes Building, the addition harmonizes with the simple volumetric massing and articulation of the existing structure. Moreover, the primary portion of the addition is constructed of brick which matches that of the original Stokes Building.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Client: St Francis College                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Project Cost: $ 3,350,000                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cost per Sq. Ft.:$57.85                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Completion Date: 1994                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Area: 57,900 square feet