Past Meeting

At our public meeting on Sunday, November 15, 2009 the featured presentation was:


Okie's House at "Hillside Farm" in Easttown Township
Photo courtesy of James Garrison

The Architecture of R. Brognard Okie

by James B. Garrison, AIA

Richardson Brognard Okie (1875-1945) was much more than a significant early 20th century regional architect. His Philadelphia based practice was substantially residential, but was closely tied to the national development of shelter magazines that originated in Philadelphia with House and Garden and its later competitors. In the historic context of Philadelphia, he was also a pioneer in historic preservation with projects such as the High Street Reconstruction for the 1926 Sesquicentennial, the restoration of the Betsy Ross House and reconstruction of William Penn’s Pennsbury Manor. Through these multiple sources and a large number other projects, Okie went on to inspire thousands of homes throughout the nation.

In looking at Okie’s buildings of different scales and materials, it is possible to see the sources of inspiration, and understand how he edited the context or original artifact in the case of a restoration. This vision and method has great relevance for contemporary design, as a connection to the past forms a link to the future.


Mr. Garrison is the author of Houses of Philadelphia: Chestnut Hill and the Wissahickon Valley, 1880-1930 and Mastering Tradition: The Residential Architecture of John Russell Pope, and has been researching Okie's work for many years in anticipation of producing a monograph on the architect.


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