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[Architectural Society, University of Pennsylvania, Group Photo]  (3/1924)   AIA Collection, Athenaeum of Philadelphia.  Local ID #: 004-P-001
[Architectural Society, University of Pennsylvania, Group Photo]
AIA Collection, Athenaeum of Philadelphia.
Local ID #: 004-P-001

Born: 8/27/1902, Died: 7/22/1994

John Lane Evans was born in Philadelphia, the son of Abel Jones Evans, and graduated from West Philadelphia High School. Evans studied at the Pennsylvania School and Museum of Industrial Art before enrolling in the University of Pennsylvania. He earned a B.Arch. in 1924 and completed an M.Arch. the following year. Evans distinguished himself as a student, and was awarded a number of honors, including the AIA's student medal and the Arthur Spayd Brooke gold medal in 1924, and the John Stewardson traveling scholarship in 1925. Evans was made a teaching assistant in design while still an undergraduate.

Like so many talented Penn architecture students, Evans began his professional career working in the office of Paul Cret before leaving Penn, and continued there after his graduation. He established his own office in 1934, working as the principal architect for developer Dr. George Woodward (then running his real estate business as George Woodward, Inc.) in Chestnut Hill in exchange for rent during the lean years of the Depression. Evans remained a Chestnut Hill resident for the rest of his life. He joined the national AIA in 1939, and suspended his practice in 1942 for active duty in World War II, serving as an intelligence officer in the Naval Air Force in Pearl Harbor.

After the war, Evans returned to Philadelphia. Between 1946 and 1947 he was associated with Sydney E. Martin, and then worked for Harbeson, Hough, Livingston & Larson for two years. In 1949, Evans resumed an independent practice. During the 1950s, he worked on several large projects funded by government agencies, including the Pennsylvania General State Authority, the Philadelphia Housing Authority and the City of Philadelphia. These projects were often joint ventures with associated architects Lloyd H. Malkus, Edmund G. Krimmel, and James S. Hatfield. This work was presumably a factor in Evans's appointment as city architect in April 1961. Evans succeeded George I. Lovatt who had resigned the previous year in the wake of controversy. Evans remained in that position until 1975, supervising the design of municipal buildings throughout this period.

Evans was made a fellow of the AIA in 1967. He was active in the profession, serving on several committees of the Philadelphia Chapter, as its vice president in 1965, and as a director in 1966 and 1967. He was also a director of the Pennsylvania Society of Architects between 1947 and 1950. Evans's wife Margaret (nee Stimpson) was among the first women to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania's School of Fine Arts, earning her B.F.A. in 1925.

Written by Emily T. Cooperman.

Clubs and Membership Organizations

  • Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
  • Pennsylvania Society of Architects
  • American Institute of Architects (AIA)
  • Philadelphia Housing Association

School Affiliations

  • University of Pennsylvania


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