Biography Projects Biographical References Related Architects printer-friendly version  

Born: 1874, Died: 1964

Perhaps chiefly remembered as the Pittsburgh architect who preceded Frank Lloyd Wright in Edgar Kaufmann commissions, Benno Janssen was born in St. Louis, MO, (possibly related to Ernest C. Janssen, an architect working there). He first studied at the University of Kansas for two years but continued his education at M.I.T., where he attended the atelier of Despradelle in the evenings while working for Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge and later for Parker & Thomas. He then continued at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, in the atelier Pascal (1902-1904). On his return he associated briefly again with Parker & Thomas in Boston and then moved to Pittsburgh around 1905 to work for MacClure & Spahr.

By late 1906, Janssen had established a partnership with Franklin Abbott under the name of Janssen & Abbott. This arrangement would last until 1918. In 1922 he established another partnership, this time with William York Cocken, as Janssen & Cocken. Jansen retired in 1939, but he was succeeded by Hoffman & Crumpton, who had worked for him earlier.

Although Janssen was primarily known as a residential architect of some taste and distinction, he and his firms did produce a number of public buildings, including the Pittsburgh Athletic Association (1909-1911), the YWCA on Chatham Street (1908), and the William Penn Hotel (1914-1916; 1927-1928).

Written by Sandra L. Tatman.

Clubs and Membership Organizations

  • American Institute of Architects (AIA)
  • Pittsburgh Architectural Club

School Affiliations

  • Ecole des Beaux-Arts
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • University of Kansas

Links to Other Resources


American Architects and Buildings | About | Participating Institutions | Feedback | Search | Login
Website and System: Copyright © 2020 by The Athenaeum of Philadelphia.
Data and Images: Copyright © 2020 by various contributing institutions. Used by permission.
All rights reserved.