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Competition: Re-Imagining The Athenaeum of Philadelphia

01:00 - 8 September, 2014
Competition: Re-Imagining The Athenaeum of Philadelphia

Imagine: After three years of careful dismantling, moving,  painstakingly re-assembling and most importantly, restoring, John Notman’s historic Athenæum building has finally arrived at its new location in Fairmount Park, where it will serve as the headquarters of  the newly formed Philadelphia chapter of the Friends of Brownstone (PhilaFOB). Flush with government funding from lottery and fracking  revenue, PhilaFOB made the Athenæum Board of Directors an offer it  couldn’t refuse.  So now, for the first time since 1845, the lot at 6th & St. James Streets  is vacant, and the Athenæum, still a vital independent lending and  research library, with growing architectural and design collections,  must re-imagine itself without its historic building. Given its  location and its corporate purposes, what might a mid-21st century  Athenæum look like?

Gehry Unveils Designs to Extend the Philadelphia Art Museum Downwards

00:00 - 11 July, 2014
Gehry Unveils Designs to Extend the Philadelphia Art Museum Downwards, The heart of the Museum will be opened up, creating a clear sight line through the ground-floor and first-floor galleries that will greatly simplify wayfinding. Image © Gehry Partners, LLP
The heart of the Museum will be opened up, creating a clear sight line through the ground-floor and first-floor galleries that will greatly simplify wayfinding. Image © Gehry Partners, LLP

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has revealed Frank Gehry's designs for a 169,000 square foot expansion that will see the museum dig down to create a new set of galleries underneath its existing footprint. Already an unusual choice for a project whose brief called to preserve the architectural integrity of the existing building, Gehry's design is an unexpectedly muted intervention, focusing on interior rearrangement and additions that are in keeping with the 86 year-old building's aesthetic.

Perhaps the most dramatic alteration proposed by Gehry is a plan to punch a hole through the museum's famous 'Rocky steps', the iconic training location from the Rocky film series, creating a window into the new subterranean galleries; however as the $350 million project will by necessity by undertaken in stages, this intervention is likely to be a subject of discussion for some time.

More on the design after the break

A cross-section view showing the changes to the existing interior spaces and the new underground galleries. Image © Gehry Partners, LLP Lenfest Hall. Image © Gehry Partners, LLP The new underground galleries will be lit in part by a skylight in the East Terrace. Image © Gehry Partners, LLP The vaulted underground walkway, long closed to visitors, will become a space for art and events, with entrances at the north (Kelly Drive) and south (Schuylkill River) sides of the building. Image © Gehry Partners, LLP +8

Foster + Partners Unveil 1,121-Foot Comcast Tower for Philadelphia

01:00 - 15 January, 2014
Foster + Partners Unveil 1,121-Foot Comcast Tower for Philadelphia, © dbox, Foster + Partners
© dbox, Foster + Partners

Comcast Corporation and Liberty Property Trust has commissioned Foster + Partners to design a 59-story, $1.2 billion mixed-use tower planned to neighbor Comcast’s existing global headquarter in Philadelphia. The 1,121-foot glass and stainless steel building is expected to be the tallest in the United States, outside of New York and Chicago, and the largest private development project in the history of Pennsylvania.

Experience Tyler Architecture

01:00 - 5 December, 2013
Experience Tyler Architecture, This thesis project explores the inherent irregularities of memory as a means of exploring design. (Eric Mayer, B Arch; Professor Sneha Patel)
This thesis project explores the inherent irregularities of memory as a means of exploring design. (Eric Mayer, B Arch; Professor Sneha Patel)

Tyler Architecture at Temple University in Philadelphia focuses on design in the contexts of culture, technology, and stewardship of the built and natural environment. Its programs stress critical inquiry and innovation as part of the creative process, teaching students how to intervene in the physical world through carefully considered acts of making. 

The Department engages the city, exploring and addressing the ethical and social dimensions of architecture and the urban environment. Through this engagement, it seeks to develop an ethos of responsibility in the students, preparing them to become effective leaders in practices and discourses surrounding the complex global and local issues of our time.

More after the break.

A New Series Featuring Laurie Olin, Acclaimed Landscape Architect

00:00 - 24 November, 2013

The Cultural Landscape Foundation recently launched its newest documentary as part of the ongoing Oral History series, this time focusing on the ideas and career of Laurie Olin, a recipient of the National Medal of the Arts and one of the greatest landscape architects of our time. Olin's influential work as a practitioner, educator and author over the past forty years has helped to guide the future of landscape architecture and shape urban life around the world.

Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology / WEISS/MANFREDI

01:00 - 7 October, 2013
Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology / WEISS/MANFREDI, © Albert Večerka/Esto
© Albert Večerka/Esto

© Albert Večerka/Esto © Albert Večerka/Esto © Albert Večerka/Esto © Albert Večerka/Esto +13

  • Architects

  • Location

    3205 Walnut Street, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, United States
  • Design Partners

    Marion Weiss, FAIA and Michael A. Manfredi, FAIA
  • Project Manager

    Todd Hoehn
  • Project Architects

    Michael Harshman, AIA, Kimberly Nun, AIA, Ina Ko, AIA, and Michael Steiner, AIA, LEED-AP
  • Area

    78000.0 ft2
  • Project Year

    2013
  • Photographs

More Park, Less Way: Improving Philadelphia's Parkway

00:00 - 22 August, 2013
More Park, Less Way: Improving Philadelphia's Parkway, © elPadawan
© elPadawan

In this article in the Wall Street Journal, a number of key players discuss the ongoing work to transform "the most elegant urban boulevard in the US", Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The parkway has been on a long journey from boulevard to highway, and thanks to a new plan entitled "More Park, Less Way", it could be on its way back, with a variety of plans to change the Parkway into a vibrant, more densely populated series of spaces with more amenities for local residents. You can read the full article here.

Preservation: Not for Facades Only

00:00 - 22 July, 2013
Preservation: Not for Facades Only, Image © G. Widman, via VisitPhilly.com
Image © G. Widman, via VisitPhilly.com

stirring piece by the Philadelphia Inquirer Architecture Critic, Inga Saffron, calls for the preservation—both inside and out—of architecture under threat by “warp-speed gentrification.” Saffron uses as her examples two traditionally black, historic event halls, the Royal Theater and the Blue Horizon, that are “now controlled by developers who would gut their innards and insert soulless structures behind the thin veneer of their facades, a parking garage in the case of the Blue Horizon. That would leave the public with the equivalent of a cardboard cutout of the once-glamorous venues, perfect for photo-ops but lacking in architectural flesh and blood.” The article is a spirited call to preserve not just facades, but also the inner life of architecture: what, according to Saffron, makes a building vibrant and preservation-worthy in the first place.

Five Crescent Drive / Robert A.M. Stern Architects

01:00 - 23 April, 2013
Five Crescent Drive / Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Francis Dzikowski / Esto for Robert A.M. Stern Architects, LLP
Francis Dzikowski / Esto for Robert A.M. Stern Architects, LLP

Eric Laignel for Francis Cauffman Eric Laignel for Francis Cauffman Francis Dzikowski / Esto for Robert A.M. Stern Architects, LLP Francis Dzikowski / Esto for Robert A.M. Stern Architects, LLP +11

  • Architects

  • Location

    Crescent Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19112, United States
  • Area

    208000.0 ft2
  • Project Year

    2013
  • Photographs

    Courtesy of Robert A.M. Stern Architects

What Cities Can Do with Vacant Lots

00:00 - 26 January, 2013
Glenwood Green Acres; © Tony Fischer Photography
Glenwood Green Acres; © Tony Fischer Photography

The bursting of the housing bubble wreaked havoc on cities across the United States causing widespread blight in once-thriving community economies.  Foreclosed, abandoned and condemned homes continue to pockmark neighborhoods and communities, adding to the vacant lots of populous but affected cities like Philadelphia.  The Mayor's Office of Philadelphia approximates that there are nearly 40,000 vacant lots throughout the city of brotherly love, about 74% of which are privately owned, making them virtually inaccessible to rehabilitation.  But the city has a strong drive to amend these conditions.  With organizations like DesignPhiladelphia's "Not a Vacant Lot" and the city's Redevelopment Authority, some of this land is being put to good use. 

A "High Line" Makeover for A Former Railroad in Philly?

04:00 - 12 October, 2012
The unused Reading Railroad, in Philadelphia.
The unused Reading Railroad, in Philadelphia.

From a park in a forgotten metro station to a human-sized “LEGO” bridge (see our post: The 4 Coolest “High Line” Inspired Projects), the massive success of New York City‘s High Line continues to inspire citizens across the globe to see their city’s forgotten spaces with new eyes – as opportunities for action.

The Drexel University Daskalakis Athletic Center / Sasaki Associates

00:00 - 27 August, 2012
The Drexel University Daskalakis Athletic Center / Sasaki Associates, © Halkin Mason Photography
© Halkin Mason Photography

© Halkin Mason Photography © Robert Benson © Halkin Mason Photography © Halkin Mason Photography +12

  • Architects

  • Location

    Philadelphia, PA
  • Design Team

    David Dymecki, Pablo Savid-Buteler, Nancy Freedman, Gerry Gutierrez, Sal Canciello, Dan Dwyer, Mette Aamodt, Elke Berger, Mark Delaney
  • Gross Square Feet

    85,900 sqm
  • Client

    Drexel University
  • Area

    0.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2010
  • Photographs

The Barnes Foundation / Tod Williams + Billie Tsien

01:00 - 28 May, 2012
The Barnes Foundation / Tod Williams + Billie Tsien, © The Barnes Foundation
© The Barnes Foundation

© The Barnes Foundation © The Barnes Foundation © The Barnes Foundation © The Barnes Foundation +35

  • Architects

  • Location

    Philadelphia, United States
  • Architects

     Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (TWBTA)
  • Landscape Architect

    OLIN
  • Key Dates

    September 10, 2007 Selection of architects; October 7, 2009 Design unveiling; November 13, 2009 Groundbreaking; May 18, 2012 Building dedication; May 19, 2012 Opening of the Barnes Foundation
  • Photographs

PennDesign 2012 Spring Lecture Series

04:00 - 6 February, 2012
Courtesy of University of Pennsylvania School of Design
Courtesy of University of Pennsylvania School of Design

Just last month, University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design announced their lecture series for Spring 2012. All lectures are held at 6PM in Meyerson Hall and free and open to the public unless otherwise noted with continuing education credits available. The series began on January 17th and concludes on April 28th. More information on the upcoming events after the break.

AD Classics: Esherick House / Louis Kahn

01:00 - 30 January, 2012
AD Classics: Esherick House / Louis Kahn

© Todd Eberle © Todd Eberle © Todd Eberle © Todd Eberle +14

The Imbued Potential of Vacant Land

15:00 - 4 January, 2012

Vacant land is a looming problem for many cities, especially when it remains undeveloped for years or is transformed into garbage dumps and parking lots. But when designers begin to notice these voids within the activity of a city they are able to unlock the inherent potential in the land. That is precisely what “Not a Vacant Lot”, as part of DesignPhiladephia, did this October. Philadelphia’s 40,000 vacant lots are both a challenge and an opportunity for young designers, artists and architects to tranform these under-utilized spaces into experiences within the fabric of the urban environment. The focal point of the design intervention was at the University of the Arts lot on 313 S. Broad Street, just a few blocks from Philadelphia’s center. It featured a reinterpreted map of Philadelphia by PennDesign students and Marianne Bernstein’s Play House, an 8′x8′ aluminum cube which, in its simplicity, could unlock the potential of this particular lot. But this engagement of vacant land was just one such intervention in a series artist installations throughout Philadelphia.  Another such intervention, GroundPaper, was designed by two collaborating artists, Mike Ski and KT Butterfield.  The site of their choosing was along the banks of the Delaware River in Fishtown, a neighborhood of Philadelphia.

Read on to see what artists can accomplish with no budget, a vacant lot and an inspired idea.

Comcast Center Plaza / OLIN

01:00 - 19 August, 2011
Comcast Center Plaza / OLIN

Comcast Center Plaza / OLIN Comcast Center Plaza / OLIN Comcast Center Plaza / OLIN +4

  • Architects

  • Location

    Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • Architect

    Robert A.M. Stern Architects
  • Project Team

    Lucinda Sanders, FASLA, Yue Li
  • Landscape Architect

    OLIN
  • Consultants

    Atelier Ten, Ballinger, Bartlett Tree Experts, Jonathan Borofsky, Kendall/Heaton Associates,
  • Area

    87120.0 ft2
  • Project Year

    2008

The Barnes Foundation on the Parkway / Tod Williams + Billie Tsien

17:30 - 16 August, 2011
© The Barnes Foundation
© The Barnes Foundation

The last chance to see the Barnes Foundation’s artwork in its original setting has passed. It is now being prepared for the move to its new home in downtown Philadelphia. Architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien designed the new building for the Barnes Foundation with respect for its strong history and as a reflective addition of the foundation’s mission. The building is scheduled for completion in late 2011.  More after the break.