Benjamin Latrobe and William Strickland are generally credited with being the first two professional architects to work in the Philadelphia region. We know Strickland's father worked for Latrobe as a carpenter and later William was apprenticed to Latrobe for two years but left architecture to become a painter. He obviously kept an interest in architecture, because at the age of 27, in 1815, he entered and won the competition to design the Second Bank of the United States. The building, as a first major effort by a young architect, is nothing short of amazing.

The front and rear elevations are clearly based on archeological information like that found in the Antiquities of Athens The sides of the buildings are without columns or other decoration but are almost modern flat slabs pierced with windows. (Strickland does pull off a great architectural slight-of-hand - see the Second Bank entry).

After the Second Bank, Strickland created a series of buildings along the Schuylkill in his 1827 United States Naval Asylum by almost lifting the whole temple fronts out of Stuart and Revett's work. You can see the growing confidence in Strickland's work with the Merchants Exchange of 1832 where, instead of copying any particular building, he combines different classical elements freely to create a large scale building for commerce.

Strickland left the Philadelphia in 1837 for Nashville, Tennessee and was hired to create the Tennessee State House - one of his largest and most sophisticated buildings. Strickland was not however just a Greek revival architect. He designed several buildings in the gothic style and even went back to the Georgian Style to redesign Independence Hall's tower, which is the one we see today.
William Strickland
1788-1854
Portrait of Strickland standing before the Second Bank of the United States, Philadelphia. John Neagle, 1829, Yale University Art Gallery