Meet the Black Architect Who Designed Duke University

Photo of duke university campus courtesy of upenn
Photo of Duke University campus courtesy of UPenn

In 1902, when Julian F. Abele graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in architecture, he was the school’s first-ever black graduate. The debonair Philadelphia-born architect went on to design hundreds of elegant public institutions, Gilded Age mansions, and huge swathes of a prestigious then-whites-only university’s campus. Yet the fact that an African-American architect worked on so many significant Beaux Arts-inspired buildings along the East Coast was virtually unknown until a political protest at Duke, the very university whose gracious campus he largely designed, was held in 1986.

Abele’s contributions were not exactly hidden—during that era it was not customary to sign one’s own designs— but neither were they publicized. When he died in 1950, after more than four decades as the chief designer at the prolific Philadelphia-based firm of Horace Trumbauer, very few people outside of local architectural circles were familiar with his name or his work. In 1942, when the long-practicing architect finally gained entry to the American Institute of Architects, the director of Philadelphia’s Museum of Art, a building which Abele conceived in a classical Greek style, called him “one of the most sensitive designers anywhere in America.” ….

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
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About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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