John Lane Evans was born in Philadelphia and graduated from West Philadelphia High School. He was trained at the University of Pennsylvania, earning a B.Arch. in 1924 and completing his M.Arch. the following year. Evans was made a teaching assistant in design while still an undergraduate. He was awarded the AIA's student medal and the Arthur Spayd Brooke gold medal in 1924, and the John Stewardson traveling scholarship in 1925. Evans began his professional career working in the office of Paul Cret before completing his degree, and continued after his graduation. He established his own office in 1934, working as the principal architect for developer Dr. George Woodward in Chestnut Hill in exchange for rent during the lean years of the Depression. He suspended his practice in 1942 for active duty in World War II, serving as an intelligence officer in the Naval Air Force in Pearl Harbor. After the war, Evans returned to Philadelphia. In 1946 and 1947 he was associated with Sydney E. Martin, and then worked for Harbeson, Hough, Livingston & Larson for two years. In 1949, Evans resumed an independent practice. Several large projects for the City of Philadelphia in the 1950s preceded his appointment as city architect in April 1961. Evans remained in that position until 1975, supervising the design of municipal buildings throughout this period.
This collection is the primary archive of the architectural work of John Lane Evans. The largest part of the collection comprises architectural records of Evans's practice, including domestic, ecclesiastical, civic and commercial projects in and near Philadelphia and as far west in Pennsylvania as Harrisburg. In addition, the collection is rich in Evans's student drawings, which provide insight into the teaching of architectural design at the University of Pennsylvania during an important period. In addition to projects and collaborations of Evans's own firm, projects of other architects are also found in the collection. Evans worked in Paul Cret's office as a young man, and his records preserve 3 drawings he made for Cret's projects. As City Architect of Philadelphia, Evans supervised projects of other architects and engineers, and his project files contain materials related to projects of the following: Vincent G. Kling; Harbeson, Hough, Livingston and Larson; Wright Andrade Amenta and Gane; Supowitz and Demchick; George M. Ewing Co.; Stonorov and Haws; Hugh A. Stubbins, Jr.
Printed finding aid available at the Architectural Archives. For electronic finding aid see Web Link. This collection is indexed (with electronic access to selected images) in Philadelphia Architects and Buildings, a searchable database of architectural research materials. See Web Link.
John Lane Evans Collection, The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania.