More Park, Less Way: Improving Philadelphia's Parkway

00:00 - 22 August, 2013
© 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
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
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

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
© Halkin Mason Photography
© Halkin Mason Photography

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

The Barnes Foundation / Tod Williams + Billie Tsien

01:00 - 28 May, 2012
© The Barnes Foundation
© The Barnes Foundation
  • Architects

  • Location

    Philadelphia, USA
  • 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

    The Barnes Foundation

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

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

© 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
  • Architects

  • Location

    Philadelphia, PA, USA
  • 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

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

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.

PatchWork, Living City Design Competition / OLIN

13:30 - 15 August, 2011
rendering
rendering

The OLIN team’s award-winning submission to the Living City Design Competition responded to ambitious standards of sustainable development within the historically rich yet socially and ecologically underserved neighborhoods of Brewerytown and North Central in Philadelphia. Working closely with architects and urban planners Digsau and Interface Studio, OLIN explored how sustainable design can be implemented within an existing urban framework by utilizing local resources, community engagement, and respect for the vernacular culture and architecture.

Radian Apartments / Erdy McHenry Architecture

01:00 - 15 August, 2011
© Peter Kubilus
© Peter Kubilus

© Tommy Holt © Tommy Holt © Peter Kubilus © Peter Kubilus +25

Clyde F. Barker Penn Transplant House / Rafael Viñoly Architects

01:00 - 14 June, 2011
© Ty Cole
© Ty Cole

© Ty Cole +11

The Granary / Interface Studio Architects

12:30 - 11 June, 2011
© Interface Studio Architects
© Interface Studio Architects

A conceptual proposal for the retrofit of an old grain silo in Center City Philadelphia, Interface Studio Architects aims to integrate an existing, vacant structure into an urban, mixed-use project. Additionally, it raises interesting questions about old building reuse and innovative tactics for sustainability. More images and architects’ description after the break.

The University of Pennsylvania Music Building / Ann Beha Architects

01:00 - 7 June, 2011
© David Lamb Photography
© David Lamb Photography
  • Architects

  • Location

    Philadelphia, PA, USA
  • Architect

    Ann Beha Architects
  • Mep Engineer, Fire Protection

    AHA Consulting Engineers
  • Structural Engineer

    Keast & Hood Co.
  • Landscape Architect

    Stephen Stimson Associates
  • Civil Engineer

    Hunt Engineering Company
  • Lighting Designer

    Ripman Lighting Consultants
  • General Contractor

    Daniel J. Keating Company
  • Acoustician & Audio/Visual Consultant

    Kirkegaard Associates
  • Materials Conservationist

    Building Conservation Associates
  • Specifications Writer

    Kalin Associates Inc.
  • Graphics Consultant

    Wojciechowski Design
  • Elevator Consultant

    VDA (Van Deusen & Associates)
  • Hardware Consultant

    Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies
  • Cost Estimator

    The McGee Company
  • Project Area

    13,800 sf Renovation
  • Area

    25000.0 ft2
  • Project Year

    2010
  • Photographs

© David Lamb Photography © David Lamb Photography © David Lamb Photography © David Lamb Photography +6

American Street Houses I / Materiality Office

01:00 - 28 May, 2011
© Greg Benson Photography
© Greg Benson Photography

© Greg Benson Photography © Greg Benson Photography © Greg Benson Photography © Greg Benson Photography +22