Malvern’s Most Earth-Friendly Cedar Mansion

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This Lindal Cedar home on Conestoga Road is about as green as it gets — and in some intriguing ways. For instance, the railings are made, in part, of the pipes and wood from a 400-year-old church organ. And recovered iron from the very historic Morris Steel Company was used as a building material.

As is obvious from all those windows, the home is optimized for solar panels, but the sun will heat and light things even without. The listing also notes “radiant flooring to optimize expenses in the basement” and “European designed AC high velocity delivery” as well as seven ceiling fans and a fireplace on every floor.

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Vision of NoLibs That’s More Buñuel Than Blatstein

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Perhaps it’s fitting that renderings of this new construction on Third Street should appear on real estate websites around the time of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s death, when so many are talking about magical realism. These remind me of fantasist animator Hayao Miyazaki too, particularly the night view, which is in a dark rain. You don’t see that too often — usually an exterior night view in a rendering has a building shimmering like a golden palace atop a hill of diamonds. Sparkly and pretty.

One image of the homes recalls the Mario Brothers circa Atari, with bright green levels that make me want to break out the eighth-grade joystick.

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Oh, Thank Goodness

Philaphilia original size

The new banner, even better than the old banner.

The historian/architecture critic GroJLart, well known for his potty mouth, has relaunched his beloved blog Philaphilia with a new logo and new design and new content to keep all of the building junkies happy.

In case you don’t know who he is, Gro (as we call him) writes thoughtful profiles in categories like Butt-Fugly Public Art of the Week, Old-Ass Buildings of the Week, Empty Lot of the Week, etc. He’s now offering editorials (“GroJLartitorials”) on subjects like 5 Ways To Help Save the Great Wall of Pennsylvania (PA Convention Center).

Don’t be fooled by the lighthearted tone. This is thoughtful stuff, whether the word “fuck” appears or no. In the case of the benighted Convention Center, cursing is merited.

Relisted: Larry Brown’s $5.9M Bryn Mawr Estate

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After a few months’ breather, former 76ers coach Larry Brown’s luxury estate is back on the market. The seven-bedroom, 11,000-square-foot has many! fun! features! because Brown is an upbeat kinda guy. There’s a retro soda fountain with red leatherette-topped stools; a movie theater; an exercise room; and a swimming pool with pool house. Bring the team!

The asking price is the same: $5.9 million.

Gallery below.

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Camden Is the Overall Most Dangerous “Suburb” in the U.S.

camdenMovoto — whose tagline is “the lighter side of real estate” — is the Upworthy of the real estate blogosphere. It makes BuzzFeed look like Kafka. Still, every now and then one of their preposterous rankings provide an opportunity for consideration of, like, concepts and stuff. Like the recent post “These Are America’s 10 Most Dangerous Suburbs.”

Depending on who you listen to — Movoto or Movoto — Camden is either the most dangerous suburb or the second most dangerous suburb. In the slideshow and list, it’s No. 2. In the text, it’s No. 1.

What’s interesting is the notion of the city of Camden, NJ, as a suburb. By any colloquial definition, Camden is not a suburb, though municipalities in Camden County, NJ, are often characterized as Philadelphia suburbs.

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Brownstone vs. Brownstone: Rittenhouse Edition

Google Street View of the lovely and desirable 2000 block of Spruce Street.

Google Street View of the lovely and desirable 2000 block of Spruce Street.

Here we have two single-family homes on the same block near Rittenhouse Square. They are, in fact, only about five houses apart from each other. They have roughly the same amount of square footage, and many similarities in style, both inside and out. But one is above $2 million and the other is not. That’s a significant dividing line.

Let’s take a look at slideshows of each.

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Saffron Wins Pulitzer for Architecture Criticism

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Saffron has been a finalist before, but this is her first Pulitzer win for architecture criticism. In fact, we hope the win celebrates the very idea of architecture criticism, which isn’t, you’d admit, quite as popular as other kinds. (Is there a Rotten Tomatoes of buildings? There should be.)

Between 1970 and 2014, only four winners of a Criticism Pulitzer have been architecture writers: the Chicago Tribune’s Blair Kamin, the Boston Globe’s Robert Campbell, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Allan Temko, and the New York Times’ Paul Goldberger.

Make that five!

Inga Saffron Wins a Pulitzer Prize

Famed Latimer House Drops $2M and Returns to Market

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The Latimer House was, when it was on sale in 2012 for $6.2 million, Philadelphia’s most expensive freestanding single-family home on the MLS. It was built in 1993 by husband-wife architect team David Slovic and Ligia Rave-slovic,  and quickly became well-known to Center City residents who would pass by the strangely unobtrusive but (for that reason) obtrusive gray box and puzzle over what might be inside — a dentist’s office? A Soviet storage facility? (There were no shortage of guesses as to what the building might hold, as I learned when I wrote about it for Curbed Philly, from Planned Parenthood to DMV to SAAB dealership.)

The interior (gallery below) would have surprised them.
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SOLD: Philly’s Most Unique Airbnb

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We knew the former Arthaus BnB would sell quickly when it was listed in January, but it’s a shame no one else will get to stay in the unique guest house, which was recommended in last year’s Washington Post travel guide. (Linger on these photos now, as well as the photos on the B&B’s website; you won’t see this decor again.)

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Stone Norman Mansion Is Full of Surprises

941 Bryn Mawr Avenue

941 Bryn Mawr Avenue

Take a drive along leafy Bryn Mawr Avenue, and — were you able to get a glimpse up a private drive and stand of trees — this Norman mansion doesn’t look out of place. It’s impressive, to be sure, but the stone exterior isn’t unusual for the area, and it suggests a traditional interior.

Inside, though, there are some rooms that definitely stand out. Take the kitchen, for instance. The glossy Italian Boffi cabinetry and center island are a deep, blood red, with countertops and backsplash in a gray and white granite. (The appliances are top of the line: Sub-Zero and Gaggenau.)

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