Join us in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 29 – June 1, 2019 for VAF’s 40th Annual Conference. This conference explores the successive and overlapping built peripheries of the city, from the early 18h century to the present. Through a study of the zones around the city core, we take conference goers on a journey along the arteries and into the formerly peripheral urban zones that are now incorporated into and transformed by surrounding urban fabric. The conference documents the blurred divisions between city and countryside, commercial and residential, rich and poor neighborhoods over a landscape shaped by the rivers, railways and trolley lines, and interstates.
The conference is headquartered at The University of Pennsylvania, in lovely West Philadelphia. The conference opens on Wednesday, May 29th, with a late afternoon-reception, plenary session, and awards ceremony held at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design.
Three different bus tours on Thursday, May 30th, map the diverse architectural legacies of Philadelphia’s peripheries over three centuries, legacies which are often as jumbled as their changing historical narratives. Conference goer’s can chose from one of three tours: 1) Germantown & Northwest Philadelphia, 2) Darby & Southwest Philadelphia, and 3) Tacony & Northeast Philadelphia: Industrial and Residential Landscapes along the Delaware. At the end of the day, all busses meet-up at The Woodlands for a tour and reception. Weather permitting, food trucks will be available for those who wish to picnic together on the bucolic cemetery grounds.
On Friday, May 31st, we’ll be in the city proper, with more than a dozen sites open as we self-navigate across Center City and the northern part of South Philadelphia. Friday’s self-guided walking tours focus on the urban core of Philadelphia and conference goer’s to places off the well-beaten National Park Service Path. Five different self-guided tours focus on the 19h-century row houses, 18th-century residential space on Elfreth’s Alley, the mid-19th century formation of the central business district near 3rd and Market streets, the urban renewal of Society Hill in the 1950s and 60s, and a tour through Du Bois’s 7th ward.
Saturday’s paper sessions will be followed by the banquet and final awards. These events will be held on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus in Houston Hall, the oldest student union building in the United States.
Registration is open February 11, 2019. A complete conference schedule, along with registration fees and lodging options, is available on the VAF Philadelphia webpage. Register early for best tour selection and pricing!
We would also like to draw your attention to several pre-and post-conference activities in Philadelphia. On Tuesday, May 28 and Wednesday, May 29th, the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at PennDesign, the Architectural Archives at Penn, Rutgers University, and the University of Sydney are hosting a two-day symposium, The Cultural Value of Everyday Places, in honor of Richard W. Longstreth. A link to the symposium will be available on the VAF Philadelphia conference website.
Finally, a host of guided walking tours of areas we can’t get to during the conference will be offered on Wednesday, May 29th and Sunday, June 2nd by Philadelphia’s Preservation Alliance, Hidden City, and the Chestnut Hill Historical Society. These opportunities will be posted on the VAF website and available on the VAF Philadelphia conference website.