philly.com has a glowing report today on the construction of the Mormon Temple at the northeast corner of Vine and 18th, whose building site is apparently cleaner and less burdened by the hardness of Philadelphia character than any local site has ever been. No cursing? Morning prayers? Cookie Wednesday? No bottles of urine? Wow. These people should be managing all the construction sites in town, and possibly the Convention Center.
But for our purposes, let’s look at some architecture/real estate details from the LDS Philadelphia Temple website:
- First Mormon Temple in Pennsylvania
- 1.6 acres.
- Granite exterior.
- 53,000 square feet
- Stained glass along the length of the building
- Landscaped plaza with reflecting pool and public gardens
- Underground parking
The lead architect is B. Jeffrey Stebar, of the Atlanta office of Perkins+Will. Mormon Temple designs tend to be location-specific, so in this case, the double spires -- each a bit more than 200 feet high -- are meant to resemble those on Independence Hall's clock tower. (Indoor furnishings will apparently evoke "historic Philadelphia," which we take to mean circa 1776, not circa 1976).
Those spires needed to receive a special ordinance from City Council in order to be built at that height, so you can imagine the number of meetings. Key among the provisos: that the Mormon spires would not reach the top of the cross of the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul (Catholic spires for the win).
The process from pitch to groundbreaking has had ups and downs. As the LDS website chronicles: "Darrell Clarke, councilman for the 5th district, referred to the plans as magnificent."
But then: "On June 7, 2010, interagency discord was plainly evident…"
The discord led to something that then became nothing: "The mayor did not elaborate on how this dispute had been resolved, but he did express that the addition of the temple would make Benjamin Franklin Parkway 'one of the most incredible boulevards anywhere in the world.'"
In the last meeting of the Philadelphia Art Commission, approval was granted but there were two dissenting votes: "One commissioner argued that honey locusts might be too lacy a choice for the building, and another commissioner voiced the opinion that while certain elements of the building were praiseworthy, the overall design was 'too literal' in its classicism and imitative of its neighboring buildings."
More news here...
• The Inquirer's Troy Graham reports that significant overhauls to a parking garage beneath JFK Plaza/LOVE Park, are on hold because Mayor Nutter and City Council don't appear to be on the same page.
• Here’s how much energy City Hall, Museum of Art use each year
• Philadelphia could make history with land bank plan
• Lower North District draft plan to be revealed
• Lender scooped up dozens of houses using fishy tactics