Mind Your Ps and Ns and Bs

PNB buildingDan McQuade has the scoop on the latest plans to take down the PNB Building’s enormous letters from the skyline. I was watching last time, for hours, because I thought it would feel historical. When the endeavor was scrapped in the middle it felt very Philadelphia, if nothing else. I did manage to get a few good photos (one of which is to the left). I also spent at least three hours on Instagram that I’ll never get back. For every cool PNB-related photo, I saw three breakfasts then lunches that I wasn’t getting to eat.

Others with more PNB fortitude than I have actually followed the letters to where they were placed onto the street. (Their verdict? They look bigger up close.)

It’s a shame the letters weren’t all removed at the same time because it would have afforded nostalgic journalists like myself a wonderful period of writerly self-indulgence in which to lament the changing of the architectural guards. Alas for you, dear readers. Instead, I have this to say: Them letters is comin’ down. Watch if you want to. I’ll be home reading a book.

PNB Sign Coming Down Sunday [Philly Mag]

Is Designing a Phone More Complex Than Designing a Building?

Morimoto PA Dining Room

Morimoto’s dining room designed by Karim Rashid

The iconoclastic designer Karim Rashid—best known ’round these part as the interior designer of Philadelphia’s Morimoto—was interviewed in the New York Times’ commercial real estate section recently and offered some rather harsh words for those with architecture degrees. Rashid, who does not have an architecture degree but is nonetheless designing buildings, works with a team of architects and engineers to get around the fact that he’s not licensed. But even if it were a problem, he doesn’t sound inclined to go back to school for architecture anytime soon:

I have to say, and I don’t mean this in a pejorative way, that architecture, in a sense the more pedestrian architecture, is generally quite simple compared to industrial design. In other words, it’s far more sophisticated to do something like a mobile phone than it is to do an average building.

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$2.8M Rittenhouse Penthouse With Wraparound Terrace

The view from the 24th floor. Photo via Allan Domb Real Estate.

The view from the 24th floor. Photo via Allan Domb Real Estate.

There aren’t too many buildings on the Square that offer a full floor of living space, which is only part of what makes this unit at 220 West Rittenhouse unique. Another unusual feature is its terrace, which is on all four sides of the property. Not only that, but the private greenhouse/sunroom offers the same view and light exposure without the chill.

Appealing architectural details include marble floors, crown moldings, herringbone hardwood floors, and faux painted ceilings in several rooms, while the space itself is sweeping. For the clotheshorse homebuyer, there are closets aplenty, including a number of wall closets along the main corridor and two custom fit-out walk-in closets—one of them “the size of another bedroom.”

Gallery below.

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Morning Headlines: Residents Battle Over Fishtown Church

st laurentius church

Photo: Google Street View.

Philadelphia Archidiocese workers started removing icons from the 132-year-old Gothic St. Laurentius church this week, including the altar and Stations of the Cross. A group of congregants that sent an appeal to the Vatican to keep the church open waits for Rome’s decision. Meanwhile, its leader, Kate Kuenstler, tells the Inquirer, “A consecrated space should have all of its consecrated materials in it.”

More from the Inky:

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New Blog Pays Tribute to Local Parking Traditions


There’s a new Tumblr in town, thank god, that clarifies the appropriate use of municipal land on the northeast side of City Hall. It’s good adjunct reading to all the debate about Dilworth Park/Plaza. Philly Mag’s Dan McQuade has more here

REDUCED: Pretty Villanova Home With Oddly Purple Screening Room


This circa-1981 home on a hill is, as we noted before, a study in contrasts: traditional on the outside and much of the interior, contemporary in odd moments. Take the truly unconventional screening room, whose walls, ceiling and seats make us thirsty for grape Kool Aid. Or the entertainment area with its glossy stools, circular bar and instruments that come with the house. But then there is the generously proportioned living room with light streaming in and a wood-burning fireplace to get cozy in the winter.

It went on the market in August at $869,900. As of today, it’s down to $779,900. Gallery below.

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The Onion Covers West Philadelphia Gentrification

From The Onion:

Despite modest increases in the west Philadelphia neighborhood’s property values over the past several years, residents of Walnut Hill told reporters Monday that the proprietors of Fireside Connections have definitely jumped the gentrification gun with their recently opened custom fireplace shop. …

“I guess these guys just looked around, saw a home brewery supply store and one boutique baby clothing shop, and thought this was the next step. But if you ask me, they really put the cart before the horse on this one. For crying out loud, we don’t even have a fresh pasta store yet.”

For the full article (the last line is the best):

Custom Fireplace Store Totally Jumps Gentrification Gun [The Onion]

Trinity Tuesday: Adorable Old City Rental

Many Philadelphians are intrigued by the trinity, but buying one is such a commitment: It means, basically, that you’ll never have children. I’ve known more than one person who’s purchased a trinity while single and then had to sell once they met someone with whom they might procreate.

But here’s a trinity for rent, which affords one the opportunity to experience the trinity without having to commit. And this is in a terrific location, as long as you understand that you’ll be living in “Old City” sometimes, and not just Old City.

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SOLD: Walter Durham’s “Newbury” Mansion


Famed architect Walter Durham designed some 300 homes on the Main Line, where he singlehandedly revived the Welsh farmhouse style. This five-bedroom in Haverford is a good example of his work, though there’s a two-story addition as well, which includes a library and a master suite with double baths and closets.

Amenities include several fireplaces and a lower level with an exercise room, a bar and walk-out access to a pool and landscaped grounds. In June the asking price was $1,625,000; according to real estate portals like Redfin, the home sold this week for $1,465,000. In other words, close enough.

Gallery below.

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