Architect, musician, painter, John I. Bright was extremely versatile, equally well known for his artistic endeavors and his city planning expertise. Born in Pottsvilie, PA, he graduated from Pottsville High School in 1886. He then attended Princeton University, receiving his A.B. in 1890, and his A.M. in 1895. He also put in one year at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Architecture before going on to study both painting and architecture in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. There followed six years spent in Paris, pursuing his career in painting, and over a year in Tangiers, Morocco, before he returned to Philadelphia, where he attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts night school life drawing classes (1903/04) and became a member of the firm of Furness, Evans & Co. He remained with that firm from 1904 until 1906, when he and another member of the firm, Edmund C. Evans, went off on their own, founding the firm Evans & Bright. This partnership lasted from October, 1906, until September, 1909. By 1910 John I. Bright had opened his own office at 1701 Chestnut Street. Bright did associate briefly with a younger architect, John Warren Myers during 1918 (Bright & Myers). From 1923 to 1929 he worked often in association with Harry Sternfeld. Bright retired from active practice in 1927.
As important as his architectural work was his contribution in the fields of city planning and public housing. In 1911, according to the Philadelphia Real Estate Record and Builders Guide, he journeyed back to Europe to study "architectural conditions abroad." In 1918, as a member of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, he became instrumental in the development of the Port of Philadelphia. In 1923 he became a charter member, with Clarence Stein, of the Regional Planning Association of America. From 1914 until his death, he maintained his membership in the Philadelphia Chapter of the AlA, serving in 1917 on its Committee on Civic Betterment, and in 1922, on the Committee on Municipal Improvement.
Sandra L. Tatman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- Philadelphia Art Club
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- Committee on Civic Betterment
- Committee on Municipal Improvement
- Philadelphia City Planning Commission
- Regional Planning Association of America
- University of Pennsylvania
- Ecole des Beaux-Arts
- Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
- Princeton University
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