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Philadelphia: The Latest Architecture and News

What Cities Can Do with Vacant Lots

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?

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

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

  • Architects: Sasaki
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year: 2010

The Barnes Foundation / Tod Williams + Billie Tsien

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

Philadelphia, United States
  • Architects:  Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (TWBTA)

PennDesign 2012 Spring Lecture Series

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

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

Philadelphia, United States
  • Architects: Louis Kahn
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year: 0

The Imbued Potential of Vacant Land

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

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

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

© 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

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

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

Philadelphia, United States

Clyde F. Barker Penn Transplant House / Rafael Viñoly Architects

© Ty Cole + 11

Philadelphia, United States
  • Architects: Rafael Viñoly Architects

The Granary / Interface Studio Architects

© 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

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

Philadelphia, United States
  • Architects: Ann Beha Architects
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area: 25000.0 ft2
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year: 2010

American Street Houses I / Materiality Office

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

Philadelphia, United States
  • Architects: Materiality Office
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area: 11928.0 ft2
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year: 2008

Translational Research Center / Rafael Viñoly Architects

© Brad Feinknopf © Brad Feinknopf © Brad Feinknopf © Brad Feinknopf + 12

Jackhammer / Onion Flats

© Tim McDonald © Tim McDonald © Tim McDonald © Tim McDonald + 10

Philadelphia, United States

Capital Flats / Onion Flats

© Tim McDonald © Tim McDonald © Tim McDonald © Tim McDonald + 39

Philadelphia, United States