PennDesign 2012 Spring Lecture Series

Courtesy of 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

© Ludvík Koutný

An architect celebrated for his breathtaking studies of light and materiality in the creation of memorable architecture,  did not fail to maintain his rigor in the Esherick House of , Pennsylvania.

Admired for it’s spatial and luminous qualities, this is the first residence of its kind to convey the grand ideas of Kahn-style architecture. The two story dwelling, which is one of only nine private houses designed by Kahn to come into realization, rests on a lively six acre garden.

More information on the Esherick House after the break.

The Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School / SMP Architects and SRK Architects

© Halkin Photography LLC

Architects: SMP Architects and SRK Architects
Location: Philadelphia, PA,
Developer: AP/BSI, a joint venture
Project Team: : Jane Rath, Jennifer Grafton, Scott Ritchie, Keith Simon; SRK Architects: Vincent Rivera, Craig Slater and Jovanny Ramos
Client: School District of Philadelphia
Project Area: 88,500 SF
Project Date: 2010
Photographs: Halkin Photography LLC.

Sustainable Urban Science Center / SMP Architects

© Halkin Photography

Architects: SMP Architects
Location: , , USA
Project Team: Susan Maxman, David Ade, Scott Ritchie, Amy Owen
Client: Germantown Friends School
Project Year: 2009
Project Area: 16,400 sqf
Photographs: Halkin Photography LLC.

Seismic Considerations in New York City and Washington DC

Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral (1)
Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral

The U.S.G.S. recently reported that an earthquake struck the Washington, D.C. area with a preliminary magnitude of 5.8 (later updated to 5.9). Initial reports of damage are minor however the National Cathedral’s central tower sustained some damage. “It looks like three of the pinnacles have broken off the central tower,” spokesman Richard Weinberg said of the tower, the highest point in Washington, D.C.

Update: The Cathedral has sustained some substantial damage due to the earthquake, and experts are currently assessing the structural and aesthetic damage. For a video of the Cathedral damage, or to help join the efforts of preserving the Cathedral click here.

Update: You can also see the effects of the earthquake on a building in Virginia here.

Felt in Philadelphia, North Carolina, Boston, New York City, Martha’s Vineyard, and even Wheeling, , the tremor raises questions of the importance of seismic considerations particularly in New York City.

Although earthquakes are not something a typical New Yorker would have cross their mind in comparison to other parts of the world such as Japan (8.9 magnitude in 2011) and Chile (8.8 magnitude in 2010), the overal size and density of NYC puts it at a high risk for extensive damage.

More photographs of the Washington National Cathedral and discussion regarding seismic considerations following the break.

Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral (2) Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral (14) Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral (12) Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral (10)

Comcast Center Plaza / OLIN


This impressive, LEED-certified, fifty-six-story office tower is Philadelphia’s newest and tallest. The Comcast Center’s stateliness and elegance are carried through to OLIN’s plaza at its base. However, the plaza is more than merely a suitable platform for the building—it is a vibrant, well-used, civic space, wholly connected to the city. It serves as a new destination for residents and workers, and as a principal entry to the regional rail lines, markets, and food court located beneath the site. The plaza elements are conceived as a series of vertical and horizontal layers.

Landscape Architect: OLIN
Architect: Robert A.M. Stern Architects
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
Project Team: Lucinda Sanders, FASLA, Yue Li
Consultants: Atelier Ten, Ballinger, Bartlett Tree Experts, Jonathan Borofsky, Kendall/Heaton Associates,
L.F. Driscoll Company, Lynch & Associates Ltd., Nancy Rosen, Parker Interior Plantscape, Paul H. Yeomans, Pennoni Associates, Quentin Thomas Associates, Thornton Tomasetti Group, Two Twelve Associates, WET Design
Project Area: 2 acres
Year: 2008
Photographs: OLIN

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

© 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 . 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.

Radian Apartments / Erdy McHenry Architecture

© Peter Kubilus

Architect: Erdy McHenry Architecture
Location: ,
Structural Engineer: The Harman Group
Mechanical Engineer: PHY Consulting Engineers
Civil Engineer: Pennoni Associates, Inc.
General Contractor: Intech Construction
Project Area: 170,000sqf
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Peter Kubilus, Roger Swingle, Tommy Holt

PatchWork, Living City Design Competition / OLIN


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 . Working closely with architects and urban planners Digsau and Interface Studio, 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.

Clyde F. Barker Penn Transplant House / Rafael Viñoly Architects

© Ty Cole

The Clyde F. Barker Penn Transplant House designed by Rafael Vinoly Architects is the latest project in the ongoing partnership between PENN Medicine and Rafael Vinoly Architects. Today officially marks the completion of the transplant house, which is named after the physician who performed the first kidney transplant at the University of in 1966. The building will offer comfortable, convenient accommodations in a supportive community setting and at a nominal cost.

Architects: Rafael Vinoly Architects
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
Renderings: Courtesy of RVA
Photographs: Ty Cole

The Granary / Interface Studio Architects


A conceptual proposal for the retrofit of an old grain silo in Center City , 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

© David Lamb Photography

Ann Beha Architects designed the award-winning Music Building at the University of Pennsylvania. The project consolidates distributed academic resources; revitalizes a prominent 19th century landmark; provides new community spaces for faculty and students, and serves as a model for the compatibility of historic and contemporary design expression. As the campus’ first Gold building, this project demonstrates that preservation, new design, and program can together produce a sustainable result.

Architect: Ann Beha Architects
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Project Area: 11,200 sqf New Construction, 13,800 sf Renovation
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: David Lamb Photography

American Street Houses I / Materiality Office

© Greg Benson Photography

Architects: Materiality Office
Location: , , USA
Project team: Douglas Culbert
Paint colors & mural: Dorian La Padura
Project area: 11,928 sqf
Project year: 2008
Photographs: Greg Benson Photography

Jackhammer / Onion Flats

© Tim McDonald

Formerly a convenience store and significant loitering/drug dealing corner property, Onion Flats said, neighbors seemed pleased when it caught on fire and was demolished in 2005. felt it was important to restore the life and sense of community to this small but unique corner of Fishtown. Their design has become the first LEED-H Gold Residential/Commercial live/work space in the City of Philadelphia.

Architect: Onion Flats (Plumbob Llc)
Location: 636 Belgrade St. Fishtown, Philadelphia, , USA
Project Team: Kurt Schlenbaker, Tim McDonald, Howard Steinberg
Owner / Developer: Onion Flats
Green Roof & Rainwater Harvesting: G.R.A.S.S. (Green Roots And Solar Systems)
General Contractor: JIG Inc (Project Manager Kurt Schlenbaker)
LEED Rater: Magrann Associates (Sam Klein)
Project Year: 2007
Photographs: Tim McDonald

Capital Flats / Onion Flats

© Tim McDonald

In 1999 Capital Meats, the former meat-packing plant which operated on this site for 80 years, was a sprawling mass of ravaged, collapsing, and abandoned buildings situated in the middle of a predominantly residential neighborhood. change all that. This once dilapidated site is now home to 8 dwellings that are rich in both history and innovative design.

Architect: Onion Flats
Location: 114-150 W. Laurel St., Northern Liberties, Philadelphia,
Developer/Builder: Onion Flats
Photographs: Tim McDonald

National Museum of American Jewish History / Ennead Architects

© Halkin Photography LLC

Architects: Ennead Architects
Location: , PA, USA
Design Principal: James Polshek
Management Partner: Joseph Fleischer
Senior Designer: Robert Young
Project Manager: Joshua Frankel
Project Architect for Construction: John Lowery
Project Team: Aran Coakley, Matthew Dionne, Erkan Emre, Mazie Huh, Aileen Iverson, Dean Kim, John Lowery, Craig McIlhenny, Maura Rogers and Jordan Yamada
Owners Representative: Becker & Frondorf
Project area: 100,000 sqf
Project year: 2010
Photographs: Halkin Photography LLC

Thin Flats / Onion Flats

© Mariko Reed

This eight unit residential project explores the highly efficient and architecturally latent potentials hidden within the traditional form of the Philadelphia “Row” home. The vertical rhythm, regularity yet diversity of this most prevalent residential urban typology was the primary source of inspiration for this experiment. Thin faces fronting both Laurel and Pollard Streets mask and blur conventional lines of demarcation between all eight duplex dwellings both vertically and horizontally. In the process, a degree of density yet expansiveness uncommon to the thin space of the urban duplex emerges. The Philadelphia “Row” is by nature a long, thin slice of dense, sustainable, urban space, typically ‘light-deficient’ and insular at its core. Thin Flats questions this traditional ‘deficiency’ by spatially reconfiguring the relationship between the interior and it’s skin such that its ‘core’ is flooded with light and air. This skin also affords each room on the ‘periphery’ of the dwelling the ability to step outside, and yet remain within the skin. This project also is unique by being the first LEED-H Platinum duplex residences in the USA.

Architect: Onion Flats (Plumbob Llc)
Location: 145-151 Laurel St. Northern Liberties, Philadelphia, , USA
Project Team: Tim McDonald, Howard Steinberg, Jim Sanderson
Owner / Developer:
Structural Engineer: Associated Engineering Consultants Inc.
Green Roof & Rainwater Harvesting: G.R.A.S.S. (Green Roots And Solar Systems)
General Contractor: JIG Inc (Project Manager Kurt Schlenbaker)
LEED Rater: Magrann Associates (Sam Klein)
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Mariko Reed, Sam Oberter, Tim McDonald

Rag Flats / Onion Flats

© Raimond Koch

We were first introduced to Onion Flats by you, our readers. After posting our Architecture City Guide to Philadelphia we received numerous comments suggesting that Onion Flats’s work should be among the cannot miss list if you visit . We certainly agree. We chose to showcase their project Rag Flats first, but we will bring you more of their work in the coming days. Rag Flats is an experiment in and a critique of sustainable forms of urban dwelling. The former industrial rag factory has been re-conceptualized as a residential garden community created by prototypical forms of dwellings commonly found in : the row house, the trinity, the loft, and the pavilion. Rag Flats intentionally explores the necessary relationships between density, intimacy, and privacy in any urban community. Rag Flats was a collaborative design/build project.

More on this project after the break!

Architect: Onion Flats
Location: 1338-52 E. Berks St., Fishtown, Philadelphia, , USA
Developer/Builder: Onion Flats
Project Year: 2006
Photographs: Courtesy of Onion Flats