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Adaptive Reuse of the Historic Witherspoon Building

D. Matthew Stuart, PE, SE
April 19, 2023
Session Details

1.5 PDHs / 0.2 IACET CEUs


The 11-story Witherspoon Building is on the National and Philadelphia Registers of Historic Places and is considered to be Philadelphia’s first “skyscraper.” Constructed with Carnegie Steel beams between 1895 and 1897 for use by various Presbyterian Church groups, an adaptive reuse project completed in 2020 included the conversion of the building to residential units. This SEU Session will cover several interesting and unique aspects of the structure that were revealed throughout the project, presenting many engineering challenges.


• Understand the different types of vintage structural components used at the historic Witherspoon building.
• Learn the different approaches used to determine the load carrying capacity of the existing floor and roof framing.
• Become familiar with the historical reasons for the development and use of hollow clay tile arch framing systems.

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