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Lecture: Classicism in Contention

March 24, 2020 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Charles Rosenblum
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Landmarks Preservation Resource Center
744 Rebecca Avenue, Wilkinsburg, PA 15221

This lecture is FREE to PHLF Members.
To register: contact Mary Lu Denny: or 412-471-5808 ext. 527

American tradition has treated classical architecture as an emblem of democracy, stability, and cultural achievement through a few centuries and recurring cycles taste. Very recently, with a proposed presidential order mandating classical architecture for all large federal buildings, a public debate has erupted that would be simply fascinating were the edict not so disturbingly authoritarian. This lecture will review familiar civic uses of classical architecture as a means to both affirm and critique the public symbolism of these styles, contrasting historical movements with the present. The draft executive order will be subject of discussion, with a review of the advantages of key contemporary buildings and a cautionary against the authoritarian uses of architecture. It will conclude with an endorsement of informed architectural criticism.

About the presenter: Charles Rosenblum is a journalist, critic, and scholar writing about architecture, art and other aspects of visual culture. For the past 20 years, he has taught history of architecture and art at universities in Western Pennsylvania. His writing has appeared in books and publications nationally and regionally, including several for PHLF. He has won journalism awards for architectural writing in the Pittsburgh City Paper and Pittsburgh Quarterly. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia with a dissertation on the architecture of Henry Hornbostel.


March 24, 2020
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
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Landmarks Preservation Resource Center
744 Rebecca Avenue
Wilkinsburg, 15221 United States
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Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633