Structure & Purpose Athenaeum Exhibition
Structure & Purpose: The Legacy of Engineering at Keast & Hood
On View at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia
January 9, 2020 – March 31, 2020
This exhibition examines the role of the founders of Keast & Hood in the iconic structures and modernist designs emanating from Philadelphia in the second half of the 20th Century.
Philadelphia, PA – Keast & Hood is excited to present the exhibition Structure & Purpose: The Legacy of Engineering at Keast & Hood, opening on Thursday, January 9th 2020. The exhibition, curated by architectural historian Izzy Kornblatt, posthumously explores the role of the firm’s founding engineers, Carl A. Baumert Jr., Nicholas L. Gianopulos, and Thomas J. Leidigh, longtime principals at the firm of Keast & Hood Co. from the years 1953 – 2007. Their collaborations with such renowned architects as Louis I. Kahn and Venturi, Scott Brown, and Associates spanned decades and their structural solutions underlie numerous landmark buildings of the 20th century.
“…At Guild House, Nick Gianopulos’s unusual and excellent suggestions saved structural density, allowing the usable to unusable space ratio to be very favorable and this characterized the contribution of Keast & Hood to Venturi and Rauch and subsequently Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates. Also there was faithfulness. When Bob awakened at 2 AM with a nightmare of our show at the Whitney Museum and the thought of a Grecian statue out on the tip of the cantilever at the building’s entrance and the possibility of it falling off, nothing would prevail but that I call Nick, which I did at 4:30 AM. By 7 AM, Nick had sent Carl Baumert to the Whitney and he called us immediately to say that he checked all the fixing and design and everything was safe so Bob could go to sleep. I know this story is a legend at Keast & Hood and it is with us too.” - Denise Scott Brown, excerpt from Denise’s letter on the historical importance of Keast & Hood founders, Nick, Carl, and Tom.
Working in collaboration with the architects of the Philadelphia School, these engineers charted a new course in American architecture while pioneering in the nascent field of structural preservation.
This retrospective examines the scope and importance of their work. Through an array of never-before-exhibited materials, it demonstrates the invaluable role played by these engineers in 16 major projects—from Franklin Court to the restoration of Philadelphia City Hall to the National Assembly of Bangladesh. Objects on display will include original drawings by Kahn, Robert Venturi, Renzo Piano, and Romaldo Giurgola; documents and drawings from the archives of Keast & Hood; models and material samples; and video interviews, among many others. Lending institutions include the Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania, the Renzo Piano Foundation and several others.
Structure & Purpose will be on view through March 31, 2020.
The exhibit is free and open to the public.