148 Freedom Rider Trail, West Chester, Pa. 19382 (Thornbury Township) | Images from Keller Williams Luxury Homes International
What you see above is a common, if unusually large, Pennsylvania farmhouse whose oldest portion dates to circa 1797. What makes it special, besides the care and attention that went into its restoration, is the person who built it.
That person was Squire Thomas Cheyney, a relatively unsung hero of the Battle of the Brandywine on Sept. 11, 1777. (You may recognize the name because of the historically black university a few miles up the road, but that was named for a different member of the family who lived later.) Cheyney delivered crucial intelligence to Gen. George Washington about the direction from which British forces were advancing. That intelligence allowed Washington to shift his troops, saving his army from total annihilation in this early Revolutionary War defeat for the Americans.
“Had it not been for the Squire’s actions on Sept. 11, Washington would have lost the war and we would be sending our tax dollars to Great Britain,” said the house’s owner and restorer, John Murphy. Read more »
The future home of the area’s second, and Center City’s first, MOM’s Organic Market is almost complete. | Photos: Sandy Smith except where indicated
MOM is getting ready to welcome her neighbors to East Market come this fall.
That’s MOM as in “MOM’s Organic Market,” the first tenant signed for the mixed-use development that will, when complete, occupy the entire block bounded by 11th, 12th, Market and Chestnut streets. Its space on the street level of 34 S. 11th St. is closing in on completion, and work is well under way on getting the insides of the building ready for two more tenants, including a new one developer National Real Estate Development (NRED) announced yesterday (July 13): Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ), a national architectural firm with Pennsylvania roots whose Philadelphia office is currently at 123 South Broad.
NRED used the occasion of the BCJ announcement to invite the media in to take a look around and see how construction is progressing on the first building to be completed as part of the multiphase project. The building, which was once an annex of Snellenburg’s department store and was most recently home to the Philadelphia Family Court, has been given a Modernist factory-like treatment by project architect BLT Architects. Read more »
Image via Oregon State University
Back in 2009, a group of scientists at Oregon State University were testing new materials to be used in tech advancements. What they found instead was a surprising, brand-new shade of blue when they heated manganese oxide and a cocktail of chemicals in a furnace to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Aside from its obviously gorgeous, vibrant hue, the color compound contains properties that make it energy-efficient, super safe, and long-lasting. Why should you be excited about this now? Licensing agreements have only just come to terms, meaning the new shade of blue will hit marketplaces soon. Read more »
Biovid’s new Bristol headquarters takes advantage of its building’s historic charm and accommodates both social interaction and spaces for solitary concentration, like the “phone booths” at right in this photo. | Photos: Halkin Mason Photography for KSS Architects
“New ideas need old buildings,” the celebrated urbanist author Jane Jacobs once wrote.
And in his search for a place where his firm could meet the demands of a changing marketplace while making his employees happier and more productive, BioVid President Andrew Aprill wound up settling on an old industrial building in the heart of Bristol.
With the help of a team of employees and the services of KSS Architects, Aprill took the strong bones of the old factory and changed it from a place for making things to one for making ideas. In the process, he and the architects came up with a solution to one of the most vexing problems of the contemporary workplace: making room for heads-down, focused work in an environment designed to encourage collaboration and the generation of new ideas.
Behold the office with a “quiet car,” the solution KSS proposed for the problem. Read more »
If you’re thinking of putting your house up for sale (or if it’s been sitting on the market for a hot minute), maybe it’s time to hire a painting crew. A recent study by Zillow Digs goes against pretty much all realtors’ advice ever, revealing that painting your kitchen an unconventional color could actually make it sell for a whole lot more — but not just any color. Read more »
617 S. American St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19147 | TREND Images from Keller Williams Center City
The beautiful thing about Postmodernism is it allows you to mix and match periods and styles to your liking. Usually, the standard pairing is the insertion of Modernist furnishings and design elements into fusty old classical interiors, sometime with a nudge and a wink.
This home in Queen Village does the reverse: it’s a starkly Modernist home that has been outfitted with traditional design elements of the kind you might see in Architectural Digest. The effect is, dare we say it, rather refreshing. Read more »
The restored Wharton Esherick House shows its photogenic side to Chestnut Hill’s Pastorius Park. | Photo: © Jeffrey Totaro Photography
The Margaret Esherick House in Chestnut Hill, one of Louis Kahn’s few residential commissions, has just won a national award for the preservation effort that restored it last year.
Docomomo US, an organization devoted to documentation and conservation of the buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the modern movement, has bestowed a Citation of Merit on the preservation project in its 2016 Modernism in America Awards.
The project, carried out by the house’s owners, Paul Savidge and Daniel Macey, was cited for the way in which the owners, architect k YODER design and designer Louise Cohen channeled the spirit of Kahn in restoring and updating the house. Read more »
The Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center, one of this year’s Rouse Award winners, is at once a stormwater management facility and a community recreational and cultural asset. | Photo by BKP, courtesy ULI Philadelphia
The Philadelphia region is brimming with talented architects and designers cranking out imaginative, creative and attractive buildings.
And they’re all putting them in University City.
Okay, not all of them. But three of this year’s eight winners of the Urban Land Institute Philadelphia’s third annual Willard G. “Bill” Rouse III Awards for Excellence are located in University City, more than any other single part of Eastern and Central Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware, the region covered by ULI’s Philadelphia district council. Read more »
Dull density vs. handsome history: If this is the price of progress, can we get a refund? | Photo courtesy Naked Philly
One of the positive aspects of the current development boom in Philly is that long-underutilized land is being put to better use. Denser development makes the most of our great transportation infrastructure and adds more vitality to neighborhoods across the spectrum.
Of course, no good is unalloyed. Sometimes, to get the benefit, pieces of the city’s past must be sacrificed. It’s part of the natural process by which cities remain vital.
But not all new development is worth sacrificing the past for. Sometimes, the pursuit of density (and the increased revenue that comes with it) demands too high a price.
Especially when that price is the replacement of handsome ensembles of historic buildings with bland, uninspired boxes. Read more »
1515 E. Montgomery Ave., Philadelphia, Pa. 19125 | Photos by Plush Image, courtesy Custom Philly Homes
You’ve seen houses like these before in neighborhoods across the city: smaller rowhouses set back from the street, shrinking violets that often exude charm but not much else.
But we’ll bet you’ve never seen a house like this before. That’s because more than the porch on this home was filled in. This unassuming-looking home got a total gut renovation and now epitomizes contemporary Fishtown style. Read more »