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Preview: Inquirer - Inga Saffron - Changing Skyline

Inquirer - Inga Saffron - Changing Skyline

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Published: Thu, 29 Sep 2016 22:06:30 GMT


Changing Skyline: City Council's Clarke and Blackwell push outdated proposal to turn Philadelphia into suburbia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.

Changing Skyline: Blighted Front Street steps out from the El's shadow
Krista Yutzy-Burkey remembers how her hands shook last year when she and her husband, Steve, signed the contract to buy a century-old public bathhouse at Front and Girard in Fishtown. With its dramatic arched entrance and soaring interior, the building was perfect for their new business, an arts-focused children's play space. The location, not so much.

Saffron: Development threatens Jewelers Row history, heritage
Reuven Cohen and John Khodanian were relaxing around a card table they had set up on the Jewelers Row sidewalk, nibbling on watermelon, kibitzing about the old days, and sharing an only-in-America moment.

Good Eye: An art deco parking garage that looks like a real building
Parking garages rarely merit much architectural discussion. Most of today's designs are no-frills stacks of open floors, laid out to accommodate as many cars as possible. With their shadowy interiors on full display, the naked concrete structures have the melancholy look of buildings that were never finished.

Changing Skyline: On Penn's campus, a new-old building isn't preservation as we know it
Preservation diehards aren't going to like Penn's new Perry World House. As part of his design for the research institute, New York's David Piscuskas has painstakingly renovated the outside of a charming 19th-century workers' cottage on Locust Walk by the influential Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan. Everything from the metal ice guards on its faceted mansard roof to its carved wooden porch columns has been polished to perfection.

Changing Skyline: Mormon Temple: Radical conservative upstart
The new Mormon Temple on Logan Square may be the most radical work of architecture built in Philadelphia in a half-century. Clearly, that's not because the gleaming classical tabernacle offers a fresh, 21st-century take on architectural form-making, or because the designers inventively use new materials, or because they stretch the limits of technology. It's radical because it dares to be so out of step with today's design sensibilities and our bottom-line culture.