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What makes a building a monument? Some of the buildings that hold the most meaning for us, including Independence Hall, were not built to be monuments. What monumentalized them? And some of the most ambitious programs to build monuments, like Philadelphia’s City Hall, notably failed to capture contemporary attention. What went wrong? History offers important lessons for us today, as we strive to create monuments that reflect our values and aspirations.

David Brownlee, , Frances Shapiro-Weitzenhoffer Professor Emeritus, Penn History of Art, is a historian of modern architecture whose interests embrace a wide range of subjects in Europe and America, from the late 18th century to the present. Dr. Brownlee has won numerous fellowships, and his work has earned three major publication prizes from the Society of Architectural Historians. He is also a recipient of Penn's Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. His film Philadelphia: Our Nation's First World Heritage City, produced and directed by Sam Katz, was made in 2016 to explain Philadelphia's new designation, for which he had worked. And in 2019 he worked with the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Institute of Architects to create a short film about the PSFS Building, winner of the "Fifty Year Timeless Award" from the AIA.
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