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Born: 9/26/1915, Died: 9/17/1982

In 1962, developer and architect Samuel I. Oshiver was dubbed the "high priest of the high rise" by an anonymous author writing on real estate in Greater Philadelphia Magazine, and Oshiver's large residential and mixed-used projects built from the 1950s to the 1970s remain highly visible landmarks in the Philadelphia region. Oshiver was born in the city, the son of Rebecca Oshiver and artist and printmaker Harry J. Oshiver, and graduated from Overbrook High School before earning a B.Arch. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1940. By 1936 Oshiver had begun work as a junior draftsman with Harry Sternfeld (1936-1937), and following graduation he joined the office of David Supowitz and Shander Berger (1940-1941; Supowitz & Berger). During World War II, Oshiver served as a naval architect at the Philadelphia Naval Yard. After the war he worked from Thomas & Antrim (1947-1948), J. Raymond Knopf, and Aaron Colish (1945-1947). For Colish his chief responsibilities included plans for the 2601 Parkway Corporation.

Oshiver opened his first architectural office in 1947; in 1950, he established Samuel I. Oshiver & Associates, an architectural and engineering firm, and the following year worked in association with J. E. Fieldstein and J. Raymond Knopf on the Rittenhouse Savoy and the Rittenhouse Claridge in Philadelphia. These commissions eventually led to such projects as the Philadelphian of 1961-1963, which combined enormous size and residential, retail, and office uses.

Oshiver joined the national AIA in 1950, and was a member of the Philadelphia Chapter, chairing the committee on community development and the committee on codes in the 1950s. Oshiver was also a member of the Citizens Council on City Planning in Philadelphia. He also served on the Citizens Advisory Comittee of Cheltenham Township, PA, and the Jewish Communities Relations Council.

Written by Emily T. Cooperman, and Sandra L. Tatman.

Clubs and Membership Organizations

  • American Institute of Architects (AIA)
  • Philadelphia Chapter, AIA

School Affiliations

  • University of Pennsylvania


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