What Are the 10 Buildings That Changed America?

Here are the photos and the addresses from a PBS project that will air in 10 episodes starting May 12th and take viewers inside each building and talk about how they shaped our lives and the future of American architecture. “By the time this show is finished, you’ll look at buildings all around you in a totally different way,” says host Geoffrey Baer. One of the 10 houses comes from our area–the Vanna Venturi house in Chestnut Hill, designed by Vanna’s son, Robert Venturi.

    • Virginia State Capitol

      Richmond, Virginia
      Thomas Jefferson, 1788

    • 2

      Trinity Church

      Boston, Massachusetts
      H.H. Richardson, 1877

    • 3

      Wainwright Building

      St. Louis, Missouri
      Louis Sullivan, 1891

    • 4

      Robie House

      Chicago, Illinois
      Frank Lloyd Wright, 1910

    • 5

      Highland Park Ford Plant

      Highland Park, Michigan
      Albert Kahn, 1910

    • 6

      Southdale Center

      Edina, Minnesota
      Victor Gruen, 1956

    • 7

      Seagram Building

      New York, New York
      Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1958

    • 8

      Dulles International Airport

      Chantilly, Virginia
      Eero Saarinen, 1962

    • 9

      Vanna Venturi House

      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
      Robert Venturi, 1964

    • 10

      Walt Disney Concert Hall

      Los Angeles, California
      Frank Gehry, 2003

Local pride aside, architecture buffs aren’t necessarily satisfied by the list. Over at Atlantic Cities, commenter David Montgomery writes: “Not including any buildings built between 1910 and 1956 seems odd. I would have thought they might have chosen something significant in highrise construction bridging the gap between the highly ornamented Wainwright and the pure form of the Seagram, such as the Empire State or Chrysler building.”

Fair point. However, let’s indulge local pride–not only in Venturi, but in his wife and architectural partner, Denise Scott Brown, who’s been in the news increasingly for the attempt to have her equally recognized by the Pritzker Prize judges. Tonight, WHYY will hold a screening with a panel discussion with:

Film producer Dan Protess
Harris Steinberg of PennPraxis
Modern architecture historian David Brownlee

Denise Scott Brown will also offer some reflections.

10 Buildings That Changed America
Screening and Panel Discussion
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
*Doors open at 7:00 p.m.
*Panel Discussion and Screening at 7:15 p.m

150 North 6th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(Wheel chair accessible venue)

Photos via WTTW