John Haviland

Born on December 15, 1792 in Gundenham, England, Haviland was apprenticed in 1811 to a London architect. In 1815 he unsuccessfully pursued an appointment to the Russian Imperial Corps of Engineers. In Russia, however, he met George von Sonntag and John Quincy Adams, who encouraged him to work in the United States. He arrived in Philadelphia in 1816, and soon established himself as one of the few professional architects in the city.

By 1818 Haviland produced a book: "The Builder's Assistant", which appeared in three volumes over several years. This publication was one of the earliest architectural pattern books written and published in North America, and likely the first to include Greek and Roman classical orders.

In part due to his book, Haviland began to secure what would be his most important commissions in Philadelphia: the Eastern State Penitentiary, the Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, and the original Franklin Institute building.

During this time, Haviland unwisely speculated in his own projects, including commercial arcades in Philadelphia and New York, as well as an amusement park. He was eventually forced into bankruptcy, tarnishing his professional reputation in Philadelphia. Elsewhere, however, Haviland's reputation as a designer of prisons brought him important commissions, including the New Jersey Penitentiary, The Tombs in New York City, and prisons in Missouri, Rhode Island, and Arkansas.

Haviland was an Honorary and Corresponding Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He died March 28, 1852 in Philadelphia and was buried in the family vault at St. Andrews Church in Philadelphia.


How he  influenced the hospital:

In July of 1848 the commissioners of the Pennsylvania State Lunatic Hospital adopted the plans and specifications proposed by Haviland for the construction of the Main Building for the sun of $100,000. Haviland was not the original architect selected, Samuel Holman was originally selected, but was dropped two months later. Switching to Haviland as the architect seemed to be based on his reputation and not because of any dissatisfaction with Holman. Haviland would see the Main Building through to it's completion in 1851, but problems between him and the commissioners of the hospital arose. The building was to be completed by January 1851, when Haviland did not meet this contracted dated they threatened him with legal action. Additionally the commissioners found Haviland's provisions for heating the hospital to be insufficient and he was asked to relinquish that part of the contract. The Main Building that Haviland designed and built would eventually turn out to be of poor quality and only last just over forty years before being replaced with new structures.



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