More than 350 people turned out Saturday, June 1, for the Chestnut Hill Historical Society’s mid-century Modern house tour, sponsored by Elfant Wissahickon Realtors.
Five outstanding examples of 1950s-1970s residential architecture were open for the self-guided tour, while two iconic buildings – Louis Kahn’s Esherick House and Robert Venturi’s Vanna Venturi (his mother’s) House – were featured on a docent-led tour that attracted visitors from up and down the East Coast and from as far away as California and Washington state.
The tour, part of the Historical Society’s celebration of 20th century architecture in Chestnut Hill, followed a screening on Thursday, May 30, of “My Architect,” the award-winning film about Louis Kahn written and directed by his son Nathaniel.
The highlight of the event, held at the Woodmere Art Museum and attended by a standing-room-only audience, was a conversation after the screening with the filmmaker and his half-sister, the artist Alexandra Tyng. The two spoke movingly about their unusual family relationship as the children of women with whom the elder Kahn had a longstanding extramarital affair.
The house tour and film, as well as an exhibit at CHHS featuring important 20th century residences in Chestnut Hill, were made possible with the additional support of E. B. Mahoney Builders, Matthew Millan Architects Inc., McCoubrey/Overholser Building Construction, Nolan Painting, Runyan & Associates Architects, and VSBA, LLC.
The exhibit is open to the public Tuesday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.and most Saturdays, from 11 a.m.to 4 p.m. Film night and tour attendees all received souvenir 20th Century Guides to Chestnut Hill and full-scale copies will be widely available at various locations, compliments of Valley Green Bank.