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Building & Campus

Moore College of Art & Design

Moore moved to its current location at 20th Street and The Benjamin Franklin Parkway in 1959, having moved several times before settling at this location.  The College’s first location was in Sarah Peter's home at 320 South 3rd Street in Society Hill, where she held drawing classes in her living room.  

By 1863, the school's finances were secure enough to purchase a building at the corner of Broad and Filbert Streets. When the Pennsylvania Railroad decided to build its Broad Street station on this site, the building was purchased for $37,000 and that money was used to buy the fashionable Edwin Forrest mansion on North Broad Street. Built in 1854 for William Gaul, a wealthy brewer, the mansion was acquired by acclaimed actor Edwin Forrest in 1855. The Philadelphia School of Design for Women (Moore’s name at the time) moved to the Forrest Mansion at Broad and Master Streets in 1880. That home boasted a lovely courtyard that was employed for outdoor sketching, graduation festivities and fashion shows. 

The school introduced residence halls in the 1930s. Board president Judge Edwin O. Lewis bought two row houses in the 1900 block of Race Street to encourage the continued increase in enrollment of students who did not live in the area. The residence hall also had reception rooms and a formal dining room. In 1925, the school also introduced a cafeteria at the Broad and Master Streets location.

Anticipating the move to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Lewis purchased the Race Street buildings and other properties in the area.  The Race Street residences were demolished in the 1950s to make room for the new campus on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.  The newly named Moore Institute of Art, Science and Industry moved to its new building designed by H2L2 on The Parkway and residence halls were completed in 1957. By 1958, all full-time students were enrolled in degree programs replacing the school's earlier certificate and diploma programs.  The College’s name was changed to Moore College of Art in 1963 and finally Moore College of Art & Design in 1989.

In 1996, the college acquired the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) building, adjacent to Sarah Peter Hall on Race Street. Built in 1963, the award-winning contemporary building was designed by architects Carroll, Grisdale and Van Alen. The architects used an innovative column-free structure. ASTM was renovated and opened as Wilson Hall September 12, 2000. The new building emphasized the community spirit of Moore by maximizing the natural light, high ceilings and large open spaces to create a modern and intimate campus.

The above are excerpts from Moore College of Art & Design: 160 Years & Beyond written by Sharon G. Hoffman and Amanda M. Mott.