Weitzman School Virtual Talk | The Design Legacy of Julian Abele

Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - 11:00am

Weitzman School Virtual Talk | The Design Legacy of Julian Abele

group photo of architectural society

Join Frederick Steiner (MRP’77, MA’86, PhD’86), dean and Paley Professor of the Weitzman School of Design for a virtual talk on the work and legacy of Julian Abele.


Join Frederick Steiner (MRP’77, MA’86, PhD’86), dean and Paley Professor of the Weitzman School of Design for a virtual talk on the work and legacy of Julian Abele.

Julian Abele (BArch1902) was the first African American to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania's School of Architecture. During Abele’s time at Penn, he forged a special bond with classmate Louis Magaziner (BArch1900), the first Jewish student to graduate from the School of Architecture.

Magaziner's great-grandniece, Amy Cohen (MA’01) and Abele’s great-grandnephew, Peter Cook, will discuss the two architects’ enduring friendship and the legacy of their work. The virtual talk will be moderated by Mark Gardner (MArch’00).

Please consider making a contribution to the Julian Abele Fellowship Fund. Once fully endowed, the fellowship will be awarded annually to an incoming student in the Department of Architecture with consideration given to an African American student.
Visit the Penn Giving page to contribute to the Julian Abele Endowed Fellowship Fund.

About the presenters:

Amy Cohen (MA’01)
Director of Education at History Making Productions

Amy Cohen spent twenty years as a middle and high school social studies teacher. While teaching at Masterman School, she was among the first cohort of educators to teach African American History once it became a graduation requirement for Philadelphia public school students.

As Director of Education at History Making Productions, she develops educational materials to accompany documentaries about the history of Philadelphia. She produced Octavius V. Catto: A Legacy for the 21st Century which won a Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award for Historic/Cultural Program Feature. Cohen is a monthly columnist for Hidden City, an online magazine about Philadelphia’s history and built environment.


Peter Cook
Design Principal, HGA

Recognized nationally for design excellence, Peter has over 25 years of experience in the design of cultural, educational, civic and commercial spaces. His process is centered on listening closely to the client and their communities, translating aspirational and programmatic needs into a compelling story and vision.

His many designs include a collaboration with David Adjaye and Phil Freelon on the design of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC. Today, as a Design Principal with HGA, Peter is a leader in the design of the firm’s arts, community, and educational projects, and in that role is currently leading the design of a new science museum in Northern Virginia, as well as two projects at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello—a  Contemplative Site and Burial Ground, both spaces honoring the enslaved people of Monticello and their descendants. Peter’s work has led to appointments to the Peer Review Committee of the GSA’s Design Excellence program, the Mayors’ institute on City Design, as well as recognition by the American Institute of Architects, Chicago Athenaeum, and the Urban Land Institute.

Peter holds a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University and a Master of Architecture from Columbia University. He is a frequent lecturer and participant with community-based organizations, including the National Organization of Minority Architects where he previously served as the President of DCNOMA and as a member of NOMA’s Board of Directors. He taught previously at Columbia University and continues to lecture and serve as an invited design critic for educational institutions and organizations around the country.


Mark L. Gardner (MArch’00)
Principal, Jaklitsch/Gardner, AIA, NOMA

Located in New York City,  Jaklitsch / Gardner Architects is an award-winning design practice and studio that works across scales from product design to interiors to buildings.  Mark has led many of Jaklitsch / Gardner’s design initiatives, and works to best understand the role of design as a social practice. His firm has won an AIA National Honor Award and numerous AIANY, NOMA and Architizer design awards. The practice is currently working with a non-profit partner on a Honey Bee Study Center in Dodoma, Tanzania. Mark is the Assistant Professor of Architectural Practice and Society at the School of the Constructed Environments, Parsons the New School. He is also on the Board of Advisors for the University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School Of Design, where he is helping the school study issues of diversity and inclusion. He also currently serves on the Board of Made in Brownsville, a nonprofit on a mission to reduce the number of disconnected youth in Brownsville, Brooklyn by lowering their barriers to entry to the STEAM professions and increasing their relevant experience in the innovation economy. Mark is a Past President and currently serves as Advocacy Chair for nycobaNOMA, the New York Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects. He is a member of the AIANY Exhibition Committee and Past Co-Chair and current member of the AIANY Diversity & Inclusion Committee, which he helped to restart with Venesa Alicea. He is Vanguard Member of the Van Alen Institute’s Board of Trustees and a Fellow of the Urban Design Forum.

If you require any accessibility accommodation, such as live captioning, audio description, or a sign language interpreter, please email to let us know what you need. Please note, we require at least 48 hours’ notice. If you register within 48 hours of this event, we won’t be able to secure the appropriate accommodations.