Founded in 1862, The Union League of Philadelphia continues to be driven by its founding motto: Amor Patrie Ducit or Love of Country Leads. Today, their members represent the Philadelphia regions’ leaders in business, education, technology, healthcare, law, government, religion, art, and culture.

The League House occupies an entire city block in the center of Philadelphia’s commercial and cultural district. Built in 1865, it was listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places in 1957. The League House was also added to the National Historic Register in 1979. The Union League was looking to develop a rooftop dining space in this historic building for which Chambers developed a comprehensive master plan. Chambers also evaluated the Club’s other sites for future enhancements that would elevate the club experience for their members, including Torresdale Golf Club, and National Golf Club.


The Union League, renowned for its bold and sensible initiatives to enhance member experiences, embarked on a long-term Master Plan with Chambers in 2019 to assist with planning for the future of its various properties. While touring the League House and reviewing the aging mechanical systems on the roof, the team envisioned an unparalleled amenity — a rooftop restaurant perched atop the historic League House in Philadelphia.

The new dining venue (fondly named Trumbauer’s after the original architect who built the 1911 annex) added a sixth story to the 1865 League House. Spanning 10,800 SF, it boasts a warm, neutral palette, high-quality materials, and expansive views of Center City. Unique design elements, including a skylight mimicking exterior dormers and a custom art installation inspired by the building’s architecture, contribute to a contemporary yet historically respectful atmosphere. The sophisticated brand of the Union League becomes a guiding force in every detail, fostering a sense of belonging within this unique culinary experience .

Navigating historical preservation challenges, Chambers ensured the new addition respected the classic French Renaissance style of the original building. A rigorous approval process with the Philadelphia Historical Commission emphasized thoughtful design, elevating the project. Careful integration of limestone walls, slate pavers, and an ornate wrought iron railing, inspired by an original Trumbauer sketch, seamlessly blend the modern addition with the historical structure.

Renovating a 160-year-old building brought inevitable challenges. Chambers addressed unforeseen issues and constraints, optimizing the rooftop footprint, mitigating visibility concerns, and overcoming obstacles like covering the lightwell for the Club’s guest rooms, relocating mechanical systems, and extending elevators. Precise design direction and extensive collaboration were pivotal for the success of this project.

Trumbauer’s stands as a benchmark for private club design, symbolizing meticulous attention to detail, innovative problem-solving, and a commitment to excellence. Beyond being a dining venue, it encapsulates the Union League’s dedication to its rich history and perpetual legacy for future generations. The rooftop addition not only meets the current needs but sets a standard for private club transformations, exemplifying the harmonious blend of tradition and modernity.

is featured in a SPECIAL EDITION of Club Road!

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