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Fisher Fine Arts Library in Philadelphia, PA

220 S 34th St. Philadelphia, PA 19104
The Fisher Fine Arts Library is found on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, between the Irvine Auditorium and the School of Design.

Constructed as the original campus library, it was finished in 1890. It now houses media pertaining mainly to art and architecture.

A National Historic Landmark, the Fisher Fine Arts Library is itself an awe-inspiring work of art, designed by legendary architect Frank Furness. Built in Victorian and Venetian Gothic styles, it boasts leaded glass windows, gables, glass roofs and floors, fireplaces, and sprawling staircases, all elaborately detailed. You will find Shakespearean quotations inscribed throughout the building, along with countless other inspiring and intricate decorations. Its manipulation of sunlight, using glass throughout its design to light the many rooms and floors, was innovative for the time. However, its appearance was controversial, many finding it unattractive and an embarrassment to the school. Solutions such as covering the facade with brick were considered and by the 1950s, even demolition. Only in recent decades has it become widely appreciated, becoming a National Historic Landmark in 1985. It was restored shortly after and has since won many awards.

The Fisher Fine Arts Library is a must-see, both inside and out. A day could easily be spent taking in the sights and history this beautiful library has to offer. If you have a limited amount of time, perhaps stop briefly and take in the magnificent exterior while visiting the many nearby museums.


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