PSFS Building
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Architect Howe and Lescaze
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Location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania   map
Date 1929 to 1932   timeline
Building Type corporate headquarters, skyscraper, commercial office tower
 Construction System steel frame, granite, limestone, & brick cladding
Climate temperate
Context urban
Style Modern
Notes "Philadelphia Saving Fund Society". elegant, subtly sculpted slab masses. "a summation of European Modernism"


Exterior overview photo from nearby tower

Photo, exterior, looking up



Plan Drawing

Plan Drawing


Discussion PSFS Building Commentary

"Built by the oldest bank in the United States, the PSFS is a dramatic expression of the steel skeleton and the many identical floors of the modern office building.

"Above the fifth floor the building assumes its characteristic T-shape. The typical plan shows how elevators and ducts are concentrated in one smooth block of glazed black brick. Offices project in a narrow wing for favorable light, with columns revealed on either side as vertical shafts. At the front, floors are cantilevered beyond the columns to allow continuous glass for maximum light and freedom of interior arrangement. Between the bands of glass are bands of light gray brick."

— from Elizabeth Mock, ed. Built in the USA Since 1932. p100.


The bank organization was liquidated subsequent to the U.S. savings and loan crises of the late 1980's.

Sources on PSFS Building

Donald Corner and Jenny Young, University of Oregon. Slide from photographers' collection. PCD.2350.1012.1143.19. exterior overview photo from nearby tower.

Kenneth Frampton. Modern Architecture 1851-1945. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1983. ISBN 0-8478-0506-9. LC 83-61363. NA642.F7 1983. first floor plan, p349. second floor plan, p349. typical floor plan, p349. — Available at

Kevin Matthews. Slide in photographers' collection.

Elizabeth Mock, ed. Built in the USA Since 1932. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1945. LC 68-57299. NA712.N45 1968. discussion, p100.

John Julius Norwich, ed. Great Architecture of the World. London: Mitchell Beazley Publishers, 1975. context photo, p256. Reprint edition: Da Capo Press, April 1991. ISBN 0-3068-0436-0. — An accessible, inspiring and informative overview of world architecture, with lots of full-color cutaway drawings, and clear explanations. Available at

Marcus Whiffen and Frederick Koeper. American Architecture, Volume 1. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984. exterior photo, f273, p339. plans, f272, p338. — An excellent survey of American architecture. Reprint Edition available at

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about PSFS Building


Web Resources
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