Behind every majestic home you see on the Main Line there’s an architect with boundless talent. In the new coffee-table book Dream Homes Greater Philadelphia (Panache Partners, 271 pages), 46 of the most respected architects in Philly and the surrounding counties are showcased with enviable pictures of their most cherished projects. The book highlights some of the Main Line’s most majestic designs through the work of notable architects including Peter Batchelor, Ann Ledger, Lyman S.A. Perry, Scott McIntyre, Thomas Weston and Rene Hoffman.
Right now, there are a number of tradition-minded architects emulating the fine manor homes of legendary 20th-century architects such as Frank Furness, Horace Trumbauer, Walter Durham and R. Brognard Okie. One is Frederick L. Bissinger Jr., who is featured prominently in Dream Homes. He describes his style as “Artisan Revival”—a term he developed “to celebrate the current revival of fine craftsmanship details and high-quality materials commonly found on the best pre-World War II suburban houses.”
Architects like Bissinger are defying the notion that such meticulous workmanship and detail can’t be accomplished to the degree it was decades ago. “I learned by looking at these old examples,” says Bissinger.
“It’s my hope that 100 or more years from now, someone will say, ‘Bissinger designed this house back in 2007.’” Much like their historical counterparts, new estates on the Main Line are mammoth. Bissinger just completed a 30,000-square-foot mansion in Gladwyne appropriately dubbed “Beyond a Dream” (in French).
“The houses I’m building on the Main Line are beyond anything I ever thought I’d have the opportunity to design,” he says. “I’m so lucky, too—because there are so many great builders in the area who are truly skilled artisans willing to take on the challenge of building these high-quality, handcrafted homes.”