The wave of the future


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William L. Prices buildings, like Atlantic Citys Blenheim Hotel (1905-06), now demolished, bridged the gap between tradition and the streamlined forms of modern architecture.

Price and McLanahan Archives, George E. Thomas Collection.

Frank Lloyd Wright. Louis Sullivan. William L. Price.

William L. Price?

George Howe, whose PSFS Building brought the modernist style to America, believed that Price belonged in that same pantheon with Wright and Sullivan. The three, he wrote, were among the first to grasp the architectural possibilities of the new life and the new means of construction.

On the Brink of the 20th Century: The Architecture of William L. Price Arts and Crafts to Modern Design, on display at the Arthur Ross Gallery through Aug. 6, shows how the architect embraced both the new mass consumer culture that emerged at the dawn of the century and the structural possibilities of new materials such as reinforced concrete. Price, who trained in the office of Frank Furness, evolved from a regional Arts and Crafts architect to one of the masters of modern design, with buildings up and down the East Coast and across the Midwest.

--S.S.

square.gifON THE BRINK OF THE 20TH CENTURY: Through Aug. 6 at the Arthur Ross Gallery, 220 S. 34th St. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission free. Info: visit www.upenn.edu/ARG or call 215-898-2083.

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Originally published on May 18, 2000