Medical Hall (proposed) on Ninth Street University of Pennsylvania campus, exterior elevation, watercolor and ink by Stephen Bourne 1804 April 22


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Archives General Collection
of the University of Pennsylvania, 1740-1820


Plan for Medical Hall,
Stephen Bourne, 1805

Description and Source Information


Watercolor of proposed elevation for Medical Hall plan, signed by Stephen Bourne



Architectural Collection. 2013.

April 22, 1805. Elevation, longitudinal view, and floor plans for a proposed (rejected) plan for Medical Hall. Watercolor. Stephen Bourne. 15 1/2x19 1/8". Detail.


Background Information

Stephen Bourne, identified as a carpenter, remains a little-known figure. The earliest information about Bourne comes from the records of a boundary dispute he waged with the trustees of the University of Pennsylvania from 1799 to 1814. Bourne discovered that the University's Anatomical Hall on Fifth Street extended a few feet unto land owned by Bourne at the corner of Walnut Street. Bourne, however, was never able to gain compensation from the University.

Bourne submitted proposals for both the University's Medical Hall and also for Philadelphia's new Masonic Hall (1808). Neither of his proposals were accepted. Instead, Benjamin Henry Latrobe's design was selected for the Medical Hall while William Strickland's plan was chosen for the Masonic Hall.

Unlike colonial builders, Bourne's floor plan for Medical Hall demonstrates his understanding of the specialized building types emerging at the close of the eighteenth century. During the colonial period, architects had relied domestic models based on proportional relationships. Now architecture was being transformed by the design of buildings based on their specific functions. This is particularly evident in Bourne's proposed floor plans for Medical Hall.

Latrobe's neoclassical influence is demonstrated in Bourne's design for Medical Hall, particularly in the addition of the cupola. Bourne, however, was more concerned with function and does not display the visual sophistication of Latrobe.


This information is based on the following reference:

James F. O'Gorman, Jeffrey A. Cohen, George E. Thomas, and G. Holmes Perkins. Drawing Toward Building: Philadelphia Architectural Graphics, 1732-1986. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986. 50-52.