[Class Project, Ecole Des Beaux Arts]
A Vaulted Passage Entering the Courtyard of a Museum -- Plan and Section
(by Paul A. Davis, 3d, 1902)
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Paul A. Davis, III, was one of the most influential of Philadelphia's Beaux-Arts trained architects. Born in Philadelphia, the younger brother of architect Seymour Davis, Paul Davis spent his early years in Haddonfield, NJ, but returned to Philadelphia, where he graduated from the William Penn Charter School in 1890 and attended evening classes at the Franklin Institute and the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art in freehand and architectural drawing. He then graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1894 with his B.S. in Architecture and by 1896 had entered the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, attending both the Atelier Pascal and the Atelier Godefroy-Freynet, according to his AlA application. Upon his return to the States, Davis worked first for John T. Windrim and later for Wilson Eyre; but by 1900 he and his brother Seymour Davis were working in association, formalizing this arrangement with the firm name Seymour & Paul Davis at least by 1903. After the brothers dissolved their firm in 1914, Davis continued in practice on his own and in 1919 established a new partnership with Matthew E. Dunlap under the name Davis & Dunlap. This was succeeded in 1924 to 1929 by the firm Davis, Dunlap & Barney, with W. Pope Barney as the additional partner. After Barney's resignation in 1930, the firm returned to the name Davis & Dunlap. Davis retired in the late l930s.
The work with which Davis became associated was academic and commercial in nature. Chief among his designs were the campus development at West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV, and the American Bank and Trust Co. building in Philadelphia for which Davis, Dunlap, & Barney received the gold medal of the Architectural League of New York for 1929.
Davis was committed to the Beaux-Arts method of teaching architecture. He served as the first patron of the T-Square Club Atelier and, in fact, there are references to Atelier Paul A. Davis within the Philadelphia community. More important perhaps was his contribution to the hiring of Paul P. Cret for the Department of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. At the University he also functioned as design critic sporadically from 1903 to 1934.
Davis was a member of the AlA and served the national organization in various capacities daring the years 1926 to 1935. On the local level Davis held the post of president of the Philadelphia Chapter of the AlA during 1925 and 1926. He also held memberships in the Societe des Architectes Diplomes, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Beaux Arts Society, the Union League, the Merion Cricket Club, and the Overbrook Presbyterian Church.
Sandra L. Tatman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- Merion Cricket Club
- Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- T-Square Club
- Union League of Philadelphia
- Beaux Arts Society
- Societe des Architectes Diplomes
- Overbrook Presbyterian Church
- University of Pennsylvania
- Ecole des Beaux-Arts
- Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art
- Franklin Institute
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