The career of John T. Brugger (Jr.) represents the path often taken by would-be architects who valued a Beaux-Arts style preparation but did not seek it through the University of Pennsylvania. John T. Brugger was born in Philadelphia, the son of John and Jennie (Thompson) Brugger. He studied at Drexel Institute, receiving his certificate in architectural drawing in 1906 in the evening school and his certificate in architecture in 1908 through the day school. He also took a special course at Columbia University, where he was part of the atelier of Thomas Hastings of Carrere & Hastings; his application for membership in the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA indicates that this transpired in 1906, before he received his second certificate from Drexel. Atelier work continued with the T-Square Club in Philadelphia (1908), probably in the evenings while he gained practical experience as a draftsman with a series of architects: Spencer Roberts, Clarence Brazer of Chester, PA, George S. Morris, and John T. Windrim. By 1908 he was listed in the Philadelphia city directories as an architect but with no address given, probably indicating that he was working for one of these offices at the time. In 1911 he worked with Charles Schaef on the St. Casimer church rectory (4th and Wharton streets) and in 1912 he and Schaef undertook a school for St. Aloysius Church at 26th and Tasker streets.
Information available from the AIA membership file for John H. Bothwell indicates that the two architects worked in association during 1917, and a project reference to the Olney Bank from the Philadelphia Real Estate Record and Builders Guide supports that claim. Other references available for Brugger suggest a successful practice chiefly based on the design of bank buildings, a specialty that stands out in a Philadelphia architectural community which generally relied on residential design of some sort. According to information available from the Brugger family, John T. Brugger began operating from a home office in the late 1930s and probably retired from active practice in the late 1950s.
In 1911 Brugger traveled to Europe, visiting England, France, and Italy. In 1926 he joined the AIA, and he was also a member of the Philadelphia Chapter.
Sandra L. Tatman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- T-Square Club
- Drexel Institute
- Columbia University
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