For Release: 11/23/2005
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: 11/23/2005
Contact: Communications and Development

The 21st Century Library: How International Architect Moshe Safdie Will Transform a Philadelphia Landmark

Exhibition Opens at the Gershman Y on December 4

What: Exhibition Opening "The Evolving Library: Moshe Safdie's Plans for the Free Public Library in Context."
When: December 4, 2005, 1 p.m.
Where: Gershman Y, 401 S. Broad Street (corner of Broad and Pine Streets)
Who: Design icon and library project architect, Moshe Safdie; Gary Hack, Paley Professor of City and Regional Planning and Dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Design; authors Thomas Hine and Witold Rybczynski; and Elliot Shelkrot, President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

To celebrate the Free Library of Philadelphia's plans to renovate and add 160,000 square feet of space to their Beaux Arts building, The Gershman Y presents a multimedia exhibition by the project's internationally renowned architect, Moshe Safdie. Through models, photographs, videos, and renderings, Safdie's design philosophy will be illuminated for Philadelphians wanting to see the approach he will take to create a state-of-the-art landmark on the Parkway. Kicking off the exhibition is a lively panel discussion entitled "Libraries and Civic Landmarks in the Digital Age." Panelists include Safdie himself; Gary Hack, Dean and Paley Professor of the University of Pennsylvania School of Design; Thomas Hine, author of Populuxe; Witold Rybczynski, author of The Look of Architecture; and Elliot Shelkrot, President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia. A reception follows the discussion. This event is free to all, but reservations are required. Call 215.545.4400 or email to reserve a seat. RSVP by December 1. The exhibition runs until January 29, 2006.

The Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation is currently in the midst of a capital campaign to raise $150 million for the renovation and expansion of the Central Library at 19th and Vine Street. Highlights of the new Central Library include: a new Business, Science, and Technology Department, 300 new computers with two internet browsing centers, a new Department of Visual and Performing Arts, a new Teen Center and Children's Department, and a new auditorium seating 600 in a cutting-edge facility. To learn more about the renovation and expansion, please go to the webpage:


Moshe Safdie is the architectural mastermind behind Vancouver's Library Square, the National Gallery in Ottawa, Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, the Peabody Essex Museum Expansion in Salem, MA, and the recently completed Salt Lake City Main Public Library. He established Moshe Safdie and Associates in 1964 to design and supervise the construction of Habitat '67 for the Montreal World's Fair. The firm has since received international attention for its spectacular buildings. Safdie, a prolific designer and writer, directed the Urban Design Program at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. He apprenticed with the famed Philadelphia architect, Louis I. Kahn.

Gary Hack is the Paley Professor of City and Regional Planning and Dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. He recently co-authored the third edition of Site Planning and Lessons from Local Experiences. He was a member of the team that prepared development guidelines for the World Trade Center site. Hack has designed redevelopment plans for thirty US cities that include campaigns for the Prudential Center in Boston and the West Side Waterfront plan in New York City. He is the former chair of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission.

Thomas Hine is one of the foremost theorists on the intersection of history, culture, and design. He has penned five books, written for numerous national publications, and introduced the word, "populuxe", into the English vocabulary now listed in the American Heritage and Random House dictionaries. For 23 years he was employed by the Philadelphia Inquirer as the architecture and design critic. He now advises museums, teaches and lectures at universities, and makes appearances on television.

Witold Rybczynski shares a dual title at Wharton -- he is both the Martin and Margy Meyerson Professor of Urbanism and a Professor of Real Estate. His writings about architecture, urban design, and housing have appeared in the pages of The New York Times and Slate, where he is the architecture critic. Rybczynski's books have garnered much attention, especially his award-winning biography of the founder of landscape architecture, Fredrick Law Olmstead.

Elliot Shelkrot was a state librarian for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for seven years before he became the President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia. In addition to steering a network of 54 libraries, he serves on the boards of the Allegheny West Foundation, the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Council, Need in Deed, and the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.


Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850