Dominique Berninger

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Dominique Berninger
Born May 31, 1898[1]
Died December 5,[2] or December 6, 1949[3]
Pennsylvania, United States
Occupation Architect
Awards 1939 Philadelphia Competition for Housing projects (slated to work on Germantown Housing Project with Edmund R. Purves - George S. Idell Group (but project didn't go ahead.) Various (see listed alongside works)
Practice Partner in Carswell, Berninger & Bower (ca. 1933-1935), Berninger & Bower (1935-1945) Berninger, Haag & d'Entremont (1946)
Buildings New York World's Fair French Pavilion (1939)

Dominique Berninger, AIA, (1898–1949), was a French-born American architect based in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, United States, who practiced nationally in the mid twentieth century but particularly in Pennsylvania. He is best known for his design of the French Pavilion for the New York World's Fair of 1939. Together with Louis Kahn, he founded the short-lived Architectural Research Group (ARG) in Philadelphia. He was a partner in the firms of Carswell, Berninger & Bower (ca. 1933-1935), Berninger & Bower (1935-1945) and Berninger, Haag & d'Entremont (1946)[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Born May 31, 1898 in Schiltigheim,[2] Alsace (at the time part of Germany, soon to be part of France again), Berninger attended high school in Darmstadt, Germany, then went on to be educated in Paris, France, first at a preparatory school, then college, finally graduating from the École Centrale des Arts et Manufacturers.[1]

Architectural career[edit]

Upon coming to America, Berninger worked for Zantzinger, Borie and Medery, Architects of Philadelphia from 1925 to 1932.[1] During this time he served as job captain for their design project of the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, a project that cost around $1,250,000.[1][5]

With Louis Kahn, who was also an employee of Zantzinger, Borie & Medary, he formed the Architectural Research Group in Philadelphia "for the group study of Housing and Slum Clearance."[1] During the whole of the ARG's brief existence, 1932 to 1935, Berninger acted as its president.[1]

In 1933, Berninger started to practice independently,[1] initially in partnership with John Arnold Bower (born 2/1/1901, died 1/20/1988)[6] and Harold Thorp Carswell (born 3/25/1886, died 1/1/1940)[7] as Carswell, Berninger & Bower, renamed Berninger & Bower when Carswell left the firm in 1935.[2]

The most expensive and important work of his career was The French pavilion on the Court of Peace at the 1939 New York World's Fair, which was the grand open space northeast of the Theme Center. It ran such a celebrated restaurant that after the fair closed and World War II ended, the restaurant remained in New York City – and soon established itself (as Le Pavilion) as one of the finest French dining establishments in the city. Henri Soulé moved from the French Pavilion at the fair to open Le Pavillon, taking Pierre Franey along as head chef.[8][9]

At Berninger & Bower, Harold Haag worked as a draftsman and after the partnership dissolution in 1945, Berninger took Haag and Paul d'Entremont into partnership in 1946 as Berninger, Haag & d'Entremont.[1] However, it seems that he left this firm the same year, which took the name of Haag & d'Entremont (practicing from the old offices of 445 Cedar Street, Jenkintown, Pennsylvania 19046.)[4]

Dominique Berninger died in late 1949 while undergoing surgery for lung cancer.[2]

Works as Berninger & Bower[edit]

  • 1939: New York World's Fair French Pavilion (client: French Government; cost: $1,500,000; demolished 1940)[1]
  • Academy of the New Church Elementary School, Bryn Athyn, PA. (cost $70,000)[1] 0
  • 1946: Academy of the New Church Elementary School and Dormitories, Bryn Athyn, PA. (cost $300,000)[1]
  • George Deming Residence, Philadelphia (cost $75,000)[1]
  • Dufur Hospital Addition, Ambler, for the Dufur Hospital, Inc. (cost $35,000)[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Questionnaire for Architects’ Roster and/or Register of Architects Qualified for Federal Public Works "Dominique Berninger - G. Harold W. Haag - Paul d/Entremont (firm)" Archived 2011-08-13 at the Wayback Machine. June 25, 1946.
  2. ^ a b c d Berninger, Dominique (1898-1949), Biography from the American Architects and Buildings database.
  3. ^ The AIA Historical Directory of American Architects > Wiki Pages > ahd1003302 "Dominique Berninger" Archived June 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine., accessed 9 April 2013.
  4. ^ a b American Architects Directory, R.R. Bowker LLC, Third Edition, New York 1970, p.360, s.v. Haag, G. Harold W. Archived June 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine., accessed 9 April 2013.
  5. ^ This is probably Strathcona Hall at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut (1931), see Elizabeth Mills Brown, New Haven: A Guide to Architecture and Urban Design, (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1976).
  6. ^ Bower, John Arnold, Sr. (1901-1988), Biography from the American Architects and Buildings database.
  7. ^ Carswell, Harold Thorp (1886-1940), Biography from the American Architects and Buildings database.
  8. ^ "Restaurants: The King". Time. 1966-02-04. Retrieved 2010-04-20.
  9. ^ Franey, Pierre (1989-10-18). "DE GUSTIBUS; Innocence Abroad: Memories of '39 Fair". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-20.