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The Philadelphia Architects and Buildings Project (PAB) is a regional initiative that dramatically expands free public access to information on the built environment of the five-county Philadelphia area and beyond, by providing a user-friendly, web-based, image rich resource. In an ambitious example of private, academic, and public cooperation, the PAB project brings together the collections, data, images and professional expertise of The Athenæum of Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania Architectural Archives, the Philadelphia Historical Commission, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and many other local cultural institutions.

In brief, the Philadelphia Architects and Buildings Project provides:

  • A free, publicly searchable Internet database of architectural and historical information and images for 35,000+ structures, mostly in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties, including all those on the Philadelphia Historical Commission list of significant buildings, and the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission’s inventory of historic structures. All local buildings represented in the Athenæum and the University of Pennsylvania architectural collections, as well as the original architectural holdings of such institutions as the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the Library Company of Philadelphia are included in the database.
  • A Web-based library of 25,000+ images. Thumbnail size images are freely available for browsing. High-resolution images can be viewed online by purchasing a PAB subscription.
  • Biographies or biographical sketches of 2500+ architects as well as project information for over 8,000 additional architects, engineers and contractors.
  • A national model for creating and presenting authoritative building history resources, which will ultimately be linked to similar projects in other regions of the United States.
  • (Currently Under Construction) PAB will serve as the architectural and building history component of the region’s growing Geographical Information System (GIS), which provides the ability to link authoritative geographical coordinates with a wide, and potentially limitless variety of information. 

The PAB database is constantly growing, with new information and images added daily by the project staff.

The PAB project is made possible by a generous grant from the William Penn Foundation, administered by the Athenæum of Philadelphia. If you have general questions about the PAB Project, contact Bruce Laverty, Project Director, at the Athenæum by calling 215-925-2688. For questions and comments concerning specific biographies, buildings or images in the database, please use the feedback feature, which is located in the menu on the left side of each page.




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