Topic Tour: Esherick and Architecture

A photo of an blue building with a green roof that has a very angular design and is surrounded by green foliage

The Esherick and Architecture tour interprets three buildings on the Museum campus. Visitors will have the chance to explore the iconic Esherick Studio (1926-66) inside and out, and view Esherick’s log cabin Garage (1928), now the Museum Visitor Center. Furthermore, the tour includes a behind-the-scenes look into the Workshop (1956), which Esherick co-designed with architects Louis Kahn and Anne Tyng. The Workshop was a private home from 1972-2020, and now serves as the Museum offices. 

Studio (1926-66)

The centerpiece of the Museum, the Studio was Esherick’s workspace, home, and gallery. This iconic building was a forty-year project for Esherick, reflecting his life stories, passions, and wide-ranging interests in avant-garde art, design, literature, drama, dance, and—the focus of this tour—architecture. Built into a wooded hillside, the Studio weaves together a range of architectural elements, from hand-hewn beams and locally sourced sandstone, to sculptural uses of modern building materials.  

Garage (1928)

With its wildly twisting roofline and oblique angled walls, Esherick’s log cabin garage shows his interest in German expressionism, the anthroposophical architecture of Rudolf Steiner, and the fairytale-esque set design of the 1920 silent horror film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Built as a place for Esherick to park his car and store his lumber, the Garage now serves as the Museum Visitor Center.

Workshop (1956)

Esherick built the Workshop as an annex to his Studio, providing a needed expansion to his workspace. He designed the building in collaboration with two noted Philadelphia modernist architects: Louis I. Kahn, and Anne Tyng, one of the first women architects to emerge from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The drawings that Tyng and Kahn produced were for a concrete building consisting of three abutted hexagonal pavilions with hipped roofs. Esherick’s contributions included a sculptural fireplace and chimney, arcing walls, and a dovetail-like edge detail where the walls adjoin. 

Things to know before you visit

   All visitors must have advance, paid reservations prior to arriving on-site. No exceptions will be made.

  Tours are currently limited to a maximum of 8 guests.

  Due to the historic, hand-built nature of the building, the Studio has limited accessibility for individuals who use wheelchairs or have other mobility issues. A detailed outline of the physical elements of the site terrain, pathways, and buildings can be found HERE. Please email [email protected] if you have questions or to request accommodations for your visit.

   If you are feeling unwell or showing symptoms of COVID-19, please postpone your visit. Please email [email protected] and we will be happy to reschedule your tour.

Blueprint of Esherick's 1956 Workshop

What to expect during your visit

   Visitors are not allowed to touch any surfaces or objects in the Studio.

  In the event of rain, we encourage you to bring an umbrella for the outdoor portion of the tour.

  Low-heeled shoes only, please! This helps protect our floors. Guests may be asked to wear shoe covers (over their shoes).

   Casual photography, for personal use only, is permitted on tour (no tripods please). Videography is prohibited.

   No food, drinks, or water bottles are allowed inside the Studio.

No pets are allowed inside the Studio.

  Large bags and backpacks are not permitted in the Museum. If you bring them along, you may be asked to return them to your car.

  The Museum Store is open during tour days and hours only (Thurs – Sun 10am – 3pm). You can visit our online shop anytime!

Esherick and Architecture Tour Pricing:

  • Adults: $25.00
  • Members: FREE
  • ACCESS Cardholders: $2.00 (Call or email for reservations)

Tour Schedule:

Specialty tour schedules vary. Check the tour schedule for available dates and time. Tours are open to a maximum of 8 guests.

Any changes to your tour, including cancellations or rescheduling, must be made at least 24 hours in advance of your scheduled tour. Cancellations must be made at least 24 hours in advance of your scheduled tour to receive a full refund. If you need to cancel or reschedule please call 610-644-5822 or email us at [email protected].

The museum is closed each year for the months of January and February as well as all major holidays including Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.