In this issue, we explore Women + Design by highlighting women designers, how design impacts women, and how equity, diversity, and inclusion learnings can improve the profession and the built environment. 

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January 21, 2021
Chapter News

Julian Abele, and his work on the Philadelphia Art Museum

By Urban Design Committee | Sophia Lee
Frontal View of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (01/18/2021, by Sophia Lee)

This post is part of our series sharing stories of urban spaces around Philadelphia that are important to Black History or otherwise feature and celebrate Black Lives.

Whether you’re a fan of high art or Rocky, there’s a place for everyone at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA). This monument that is so important to Philly was also designed in part by Julian Abele, the first African American who earned a degree in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.

View from the top of the iconic “Rocky Steps” (02/16/2020, by Sophia Lee)


View of Free Library of Philadelphia, from the south (01/18/2021, by Sophia Lee)

Abele was employed at Horace Trumbauer, a Philadelphia architecture firm, while working on the PMA. He also worked on the Free Library of Philadelphia during this time. 

Read more about Julian Abele’s career in this post by Jocelyn Rogers written for AIA National on June 25, 2020 [LINK].

Check out this map locating Philly buildings designed by Julian Abele assembled by Curbed Philadelphia [LINK].


[1] Rogers, Jocelyn. “Julian Abele: Honoring a legacy no longer in “the shadows.” AIA, Accessed 18 January 2021.

[2] Romero, Melissa. “Tracing black architect Julian Abele’s life and work in Philly.” Curbed Philadelphia, Accessed 18 January 2021. 



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