University of the Arts, Daniel Terra Building

Designed in 1912 as a Ritz-Carlton Hotel by noted Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer, the Daniel Terra Building underwent many subsequent transitions in use, ownership, and physical appearance. It was ultimately acquired by The University of the Arts to accommodate their rapidly expanding academic curriculum and South Broad Street campus.

Despite a late 1950s conversion from a hotel into a mid-market commercial office building, and the removal of Trumbauer’s ornate cast stone façade in favor of a contemporary, but doleful, curtain wall re-cladding of the lower three levels, the then-president of the University, Mark Shutte, envisioned a faithful recreation of the original façade befitting the building’s prominent location along Philadelphia’s emerging Avenue of the Arts.

Although no historical drawings were available, a vestige of the original façade facing a rear service court remained relatively obscured but otherwise intact. After careful measurement, this served as a template for Cope Linder’s restoration effort. Although a recreated façade in cast stone would have proven cost prohibitive, the highly detailed façade components were constructed in molds, using durable, light-weight glass-fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) panels supported by a complex framework of galvanized steel out-riggers and girts.

Today, the building houses many academic and administrative functions including classrooms, faculty offices, and laboratories. Much to the amusement of passersby on Broad Street, voluminous two-story spaces within the vaulted arches accommodate working dance studios and musical performance spaces.

Owner / Client: The University of the Arts