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Inquirer - Inga Saffron - Changing Skyline

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Published: Fri, 21 Oct 2016 15:20:13 GMT


Changing Skyline: Philly's new Whole Foods building has everything except good design
There were moments during last weekend's opening of the supersize Whole Foods at 22nd and Hamilton when it felt like half of Philadelphia was in the store, all trying to navigate their carts between the German-style beer hall and the artisanal cheese room. Nothing says a city has arrived like a suburban-style supermarket.

Good Eye: This Catholic church celebrates the miracle of flight two ways
With its chunky tower, curvy corners, and antennalike cross, Our Lady of Loreto in Southwest Philadelphia has the look of an early, art deco airport terminal. That's no accident. The small parish church is near Lindbergh Boulevard, on the way to Philadelphia International Airport, and it was designed to celebrate the miracle of flight, of both the religious and technical kind.

Changing Skyline: Real sign of change on Philly's East Market isn't the digital signs
You could practically hear the ka-chings reverberating down Philadelphia's East Market Street in 2011 when City Council designated the corridor a "special advertising district." The measure turned the walls of buildings into gold by allowing giant digital billboards that can flash lucrative ads every few seconds.

Changing Skyline: At Pennovation, UPenn creates a lab for the social media age
It probably didn't seem like a lucky break at the time, but Marc Kushner and Matthias Hollwich had the good fortune to start their architecture firm, HWKN, in 2007, at the exact moment the economy was imploding. Eager to keep busy, they sought refuge on the internet and put together a website aimed at struggling young architects like themselves, with posts about jobs and design projects.

Good Eye: The brewery that helped give Brewerytown its name
The Brewerytown neighborhood gets its name from the dozen or so beer-makers that once gravitated to this western corner of North Philadelphia alongside the old Pennsylvania Railroad tracks. Today, only one of those great brewery complexes remains reasonably intact, the F.A. Poth Brewing Co. at 31st and Jefferson Streets.

Changing Skyline: City Council's Clarke and Blackwell push outdated proposal to turn Philadelphia into suburbia
Watch out, Philadelphia. Here come the suburbanizers. A mere four years after City Council approved a modern zoning code designed to encourage traditional urban densities and transit, two of its most powerful members are campaigning to take us back to the bad, old days when neighborhoods were hemorrhaging population, city planners were managing for decline, and the idea that Philadelphia would cease to be a real city seemed like a real possibility.

Changing Skyline: With new D.C. museum, the African American story moves to nation's main stage
In the big, ongoing festival of American culture, the National Mall in Washington is the main stage. Ever since the Smithsonian Institution erected its imposing stone castle there in 1855, the linear park has been assembling an all-star lineup of museums

Changing Skyline: Philly housing authority brings suburban mentality to Ridge Avenue
As the name implies, the Philadelphia Housing Authority's speciality is housing. Though its designs have been a mixed bag - from the dystopian Schuylkill Falls towers to the gentle, rowhouse-scale MLK houses - the agency has ensured that thousands of low-income families have a basic roof over their heads. It might surprise some to learn that PHA is the city's biggest residential developer, the landlord for about 81,000 people.

Philly once had two great post offices. Soon, it will have none.
Sure, the lines in the marble-paneled post office at Ninth and Market moved at a glacial pace. Sure, the clerks were often uncommunicative and even surly. But what did it matter when there was so much architectural plenty to keep your eyes sated for the entire wait?

Good Eye:
In Sunday Business, Section E: Three post offices get a change of address.