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Philadelphia: The Latest Architecture and News

Louis Kahn's Notorious Richards Laboratory Restored

Louis Kahn's Richards Medical Research Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, once deemed "the most consequential building constructed in the United States" since World War II by MoMA, has been notoriously hated by its users; scientists claim the building lacks privacy, has too much exposure to sunlight and is not suitable for lab experiments. Thus, the University's architect has just completed a full renovation of Richards' four brick towers, converting them into offices and computer labs for researchers, while, as Philly.com reports, restoring the structure to its original essence.

"The renovation has pared Kahn's spaces down to their essence, restoring a Zenlike calm, and revealing the muscular concrete structure that made the design such a revelation in the early 1960s, when International Style glass towers were all the rage," says Philly.com. Read the complete article here.

Dallas Architecture Forum Presents Billie Tsien

Dallas Architecture Forum, a non-profit organization for everyone interested in learning about and improving the architecture, design, landscape and urban fabric of the North Texas region is pleased to continue its 2015-16 Lecture Season with outstanding architect Billie Tsien, Co-Founder and Partner of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects - a New York City-based studio focused on work for museums, schools, and non-profit organizations. Tsien’s many projects include the new art museum for the Barnes Foundation collection, the American Folk Art Museum in New York, projects for Lincoln Center in New York and Cranbrook in Michigan, and the Dallas residence for

Philadelphia Navy Yards / James Corner Field Operations

© Halkin Mason Photography © Halkin Mason Photography Courtesy of Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation © Halkin Mason Photography + 25

Urban Design  · 
Philadelphia, United States

DesignPhiladelphia Festival

DesignPhiladelphia, a signature event of the Philadelphia Center for Architecture, is the oldest design event of its kind in the country and annually showcases the work of over 400 practicing architects, designers, and creative professionals. This year’s Festival kicks off on the evening of October 7, and events run from October 8-16. Experience design in unexpected ways through approximately 100 exhibitions, workshops, demonstrations, tours, talks, and events held in venues across the city. Learn about wide-ranging topics, including architecture, urban planning, landscape, graphic, multi-media, product, furniture design, fashion, and the like.

BIG Office Building to Break Ground at Philadelphia's Navy Yard

Construction is slated to begin next week on a $35 million office building designed by BIG at Philadelphia's Navy Yard. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, Liberty Property Trust will break ground Tuesday on the 94,000-square-foot office building at a site adjacent to a five-acre park designed by James Corner Field Operations. The project will be Liberty's fourteenth development at Navy Yards - a 1200-acre office park sited on a World War II Navy shipyard.

Norman Foster Honored with Louis Kahn Memorial Award

Norman Foster has been awarded the Louis Kahn Memorial Award, an annual award that was established in 1983 to recognize "excellence in architecture" in honor of one of Philadelphia’s most influential architects.

"I am deeply honored to receive this award, particularly as I studied for my master’s degree at Kahn’s Yale University Art Gallery in 1961," said Foster. "I have been hugely influenced by his work, which is still as fresh today as it was then. I was privileged to meet Louis Kahn at the University of Pennsylvania School of Architecture and to later teach there.”

HWKN Unveils Design for "Pennovation Center" in Pennsylvania

New York-based firm HWKN have revealed the design for what is to become the University of Pennsylvania's latest hub for entrepreneurs, researchers, and innovators. Dubbed "The Pennovation Centre," the project is the first major development within the Pennovation Works, and will occupy a 58,000-square-foot footprint on the campus' south.

A rejuvenation of the former DuPont laboratory, it is hoped that The Pennovation Centre will become an "iconic landmark" for pen, providing a "dynamic environment" for innovation in varied fields.

Courtesy of HWKN Architects Courtesy of HWKN Architects Courtesy of HWKN Architects Courtesy of HWKN Architects + 6

Winning Proposals of "Looking Forward" Visualize the Future Athenaeum of Philadelphia

The Athenaeum has just announced the winning proposals of the "Looking Forward: Re-imagining the Athenaeum of Philadelphia" competition. In celebration of its 200th anniversary, the independent library and museum issued a challenge to architects, designers, and artists to illustrate their visions for the "Athenaeum of the Future."

The competition's entries included 46 professional and 42 student proposals from 17 different countries, 15 US States, and 10 schools. Read on after the break to explore the award-winning designs.

Stay on the Ground 2. Image Courtesy of The Athenaeum of Philadelphia Athenaeum 2050. Image Courtesy of The Athenaeum of Philadelphia Athenaeum 2050. Image Courtesy of The Athenaeum of Philadelphia Philadelphia Grotesque Revisited 2. Image Courtesy of The Athenaeum of Philadelphia + 17

TED Talk: How Painting Can Transform Communities / Haas&Hahn

First inspired with a grand vision to transform Rio de Janeiro’s most notorious slum into a community united by color, artists Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn of Haas&Hahn have found an ingenious and stunning way to empower some of the world’s most impoverished communities through art.

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

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

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

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

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

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

University  · 
Philadelphia, United States
  • Architects: WEISS/MANFREDI
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area: 7246.4 ft2
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year: 2013

More Park, Less Way: Improving Philadelphia's Parkway

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

A 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

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

Philadelphia, United States
  • Architects: Robert A.M. Stern Architects
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area: 19323.7 ft2
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year: 2013