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A talk with Philip Johnson (1968)

November 2, 2014 9:00 am by

Philip Johnson’s now-iconic WRVA building was dedicated on May 29, 1968.

Following the ceremony at the station grounds, architect Philip Johnson, Bruce English (President of the Historic Richmond Foundation), and James Biddie (President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation) sat for a discussion working in historic neighborhods and on the topic historic preservation at that time.

The talk was recorded, and transcribed soon after. A raw copy of the back and forth is available here (358 MB), with a number of corrections marked in pencil on the typewritten sheets.

The prescient conversation touches on the ill effects of mass urban renewal, the importance of the neighborhood north of Broad, and the disastrous impact on urban planning of the time of designing for cars. A passage from Johnson where he describes his hope for “this younger generation” to “make your own new county” not enthrall with the highway system in particular stands in stark relief some 46 years later.

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Philip Johnson

Philip Johnson


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1, 2, 3

James Biddle, Philip Johnson, Bruce English


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This is the first release from the collection of photos and documents that was crowdfunded and purchased from Cold Harbor Antiques.


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