In her latest Changing Skyline column, Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron assesses Morgan Hall, Temple’s new dorm and its most ambitious project–certainly from an architectural standpoint–in decades. Her review is more descriptive than critical, placing an emphasis on what the building signifies in the larger context of Temple’s campus and its integration with Broad Street.
Morgan Hall is best understood as a reaction to everything Temple had done wrong over the last two decades. Nearly all its new construction – both residential and academic – had been plopped down haphazardly, with almost no long-term vision. The result is a collection of buildings lacking in basic social skills.
Morgan Hall has been designed and placed with an intention to change that, “an opportunity to soften Temple’s hard-edged urban campus with a gracious plaza where all students could hang out.” And, Saffron says, “By putting a signature project next to the Cecil B. Moore subway stop, at what is effectively the campus’ front door, the university hoped to set a new tone for Temple’s treatment of Broad Street.”
Yet it doesn’t entirely work, in Saffron’s opinion. Best to let her explain:
What else is going on the Friday before Labor Day? People are eager to get out of town. However…
• With a new historically minded development proposed for Third and Market, some lament the inevitable passing of the iconic Shirt Corner facade. Which history is more important? [Hidden City]
• Every lawsuit in the building collapse will reveal more information, like the fact that the contractor had the opportunity to use safer equipment, but passed [Inquirer]
• Chinatown is getting a new bar with 50 or 60 beers on draft. Interesting addition to a traditional neighborhood. [Foobooz]
• Two Vacant NoLibs Lots Will Disappear, Once Everyone Agrees. That’s the headline over at Naked Philly–the “once everyone agrees” part is the challenge. [Naked Philly]