What Home Depot Taught Jefferson About Collaborative Workplaces

Three central common spaces form the "hub" of the "neighborhood" where EPIC@Jeff employees work. The cafe space hosts a wide range of activities, not all of them related to eating.| Photo from KSS Architects

Three central common spaces form the “hub” of the “neighborhood” where EPIC@Jeff employees work. The cafe space hosts a wide range of activities, not all of them related to eating.| Photo from KSS Architects

This tale of creative space-shaping in the field of medicine begins at Home Depot.

That’s where Praveen Chopra, Thomas Jefferson University’s chief information and transformative innovative environment officer (there’s a mouthful of a title for you), was working before he entered the world of electronic medical records, which ultimately led Jefferson to choose him to implement a new patient information and records system for its sprawling health system.

Chopra was Home Depot’s chief information officer. “That was around the time that 9/11 happened,” he said. In the wake of that attack, “people started staying home where they used to travel before. And when they started staying home, they would look around and say, ‘My home’s a mess. I need to organize my home.’

“They wanted to turn their houses into homes. They wanted spaces they could connect to.” Read more »

Chinese Cultural Center Prepares for A New Future

The freshly restored face of a Chinatown icon. | Photos: Sandy Smith

The freshly restored face of a Chinatown icon. | Photos: Sandy Smith

A 185-year-old landmark in the heart of Chinatown is getting ready for a possible new lease on life once the legal hurdles are cleared. While waiting for that to happen, the company that stepped in to keep it from falling into the dustbin of history (or a heap of rubble, which is the same thing) is quietly testing the waters to see whether anyone might be willing to continue its rescue effort.

Maybe not so quietly as of Wednesday evening (Aug. 17th), when the building’s conservator, Scioli Turco, invited the interested and the merely curious inside the Chinese Cultural and Community Center at 125 N. 10th St. to inspect the ready-for-its-next-chapter property. Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: XXL Luxury Next Door to Billy Penn

123 Avenue of the Arts Suite 28CDE, Philadelphia Pa. 19109 | Photos courtesy of The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton

1414 South Penn Square, Suite 28CDE, Philadelphia Pa. 19102 | Photos courtesy of The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton

Have you ever seen eye-to-eye with William Penn?

We’re talking about the man who stands right on top of City Hall. In this luxury condo, you can gaze upon him quite easily. This week’s Jawdropper hones in on a stunning suite in one of America’s finest luxury residential buildings: The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton.

Back in March, we reported that interior designer Barbara (BJ) Nipon Spencer of BJS Design was brought in to outfit three of the units at the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton. She came up with distinctly different treatments for the three units: the two-bedroom Unit 44DE and two three-bedroom units, 31B and 44GH. Read more »

Hard Hat Tour: The Rebirth of Alden Park

Work on replacing the leaded casement windows in the Manor building lobby is under way. All of the windows in the complex will be replaced by its end. |Photos: Sandy Smith

Work on replacing the leaded casement windows in the Manor building lobby is under way. All of the windows in the complex will be replaced by its end. |Photos: Sandy Smith

The three buildings that together comprise the Alden Park apartment complex are without a doubt the most photogenic apartment buildings in the city. Begun in 1926 on the former estate of department store founder Justus C. Strawbridge, they began life as the city’s first cooperative residences, attracting an exclusive community of residents during the Depression.

Sometime between World War II and the 1980s, the original cooperative dissolved and the complex became a trio of rental buildings. But their parklike setting and their picturesque English Tudor Revival architecture, the work of architect Edwin Rorke, has kept the buildings among the most popular apartments in the city. The Manor building, which terminates the view down Chelten Avenue, may well be Germantown’s most iconic apartment building. Read more »

Shore Bliss

The Avalon home of John and Jana Scarpa is an updated take on the neoclassical wood-shingle style of the early 20th-century Jersey Shore. "I've always loved the Mantoloking-style home," John says. | Photos: Halkin Mason Photography

The Avalon home of John and Jana Scarpa is an updated take on the neoclassical wood-shingle style of the early 20th-century Jersey Shore. “I’ve always loved the Mantoloking-style home,” John says. | Photos: Halkin Mason Photography

John and Jana Scarpa spend much of the year in Palm Beach, but their hearts are at the Jersey Shore: “It’s so relaxing compared to the Palm Beach scene,” Jana says. The couple, both Jersey natives, had a home in Avalon for more than a decade. Three years ago, tired of spending money on maintenance, they decided it was time to replace their 1970s beach house with something that would take full advantage of its dune-side site.

But what would it look like? John and Jana have divergent tastes. He loves the classical elegance of their Florida home and wanted something traditional here, too. Her aesthetic leans towards the modern — clean lines, open informality. So they decided to split the difference: John got the outside, and Jana got the inside. The result is a striking marriage of classic Seven Mile Island architecture and relaxed modern style. Read more »

Post Brothers Remixes the Roosevelt Apartments

What becomes a legend most? Post Brothers answered the question with stylish modern accents for the Roosevelt Apartments' classically styled lobby. |Photos: Post Brothers

What becomes a legend most? Post Brothers answered the question with stylish modern accents for the Roosevelt Apartments’ classically styled lobby. |Photos: Post Brothers

For decades, the Roosevelt Apartments at 23rd and Walnut streets has had a reputation as a decent, low-rent (for Rittenhouse) place to live with a great pub on the street floor.

Now that it’s in the hands of Post Brothers, it’s become a stylish place to live at modest (for Rittenhouse) rents. (The pub, however, is long gone.) And for three tenants, it will be even more than that.

This week, the Pestronk brothers took the wraps off the Roosevelt Edition, three super-sleek, ultra-stylish apartments inserted among the merely stylish units that make up the rest of the building. These deluxe units are equipped with many high-end fixtures, fittings and appliances, including showers lined with Travertine tile and equipped with thermostatic shower columns with hand-held sprays and rain shower heads, Miele multifunction glass-front speed ovens, custom European acrylic cabinetry, floating Italian vanities with storage, and more. Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: A Feat of Artistry in Gladwyne

100 Maple Hill Rd., Gladwyne, Pa. 19035 | TREND images via Redfin

100 Maple Hill Rd., Gladwyne, Pa. 19035 | TREND images via Redfin

When you live in a place like Philadelphia, there’s no shortage of opportunities to experience art. Whether they’re creations made by local artists or pieces in world-renowned collections, it’s hard not to fall in love with the scene.

In a true demonstration of artistry and architectural wizardry, The Estate at Maple Hill is a fitting match for those who’d like to bring the gallery-tour experience to their homes. Imagine: what if your own home was a work of art? Architect Peter Zimmerman’s unique creation, brought to vivid life by Cherokee Construction, combines  Gothic Revival on the outside with a blend of French-inspired classicism, the modern and the Moderne on the inside.

Completed in 2009 and sitting on 32 acres of stately, beautifully landscaped grounds, this estate boasts a full stone exterior with limestone accents, a graduated multi-colored slate roof and sweeping terraces on three of the home’s exposures. The views are enhanced by a perimeter of mature flowering and evergreen trees, a nature/ATV trail that’s perfect for those sweet morning walks and a rolling wildflower meadow. Read more »

A First (And Last*) Look at the New Mormon Temple

The "sealing room" in the temple, where Mormon couples are joined together for eternity. | Photos: © 2016 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. unless otherwise noted

The “sealing room” in the temple, where Mormon couples are joined together for eternity. | Photos: © 2016 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. unless otherwise noted

“Like Solomon’s Temple, we seek to use the finest materials and the highest quality craftsmanship in our construction,” Elder Larry Y. Wilson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said as he welcomed the news media to this morning’s tour of the new Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple, the first Mormon temple in the Keystone State and the 152nd to be completed worldwide.

That commitment to quality showed in ways large and small throughout the four-story, 208-foot-high structure, the most unabashedly historical of the LDS Church’s recent efforts. This, Wilson explained, was because “the church has tried to interpret the history and the architecture of this city in the construction of the temple.” Read more »

Neighbors Weigh In on American Street’s Future

 

This illustration shows what a typical block with a bioswale in part of its median would look like. | Image from Gilmore & Associates for the City of Philadelphia

This illustration shows what a typical block with a bioswale in part of its median would look like. | Image from Gilmore & Associates for the City of Philadelphia

As Philadelphia went through its industrial revolution that made it “The Workshop of the World,” one of its greatest industrial districts was the one that arose along American Street in Kensington thanks to a Reading Railroad branch line.

Most of that industry is now gone, and what remains is on a much smaller scale. But the street remains huge — and foreboding to some, thanks to its desolate appearance, a byproduct of that deindustrialization. This has led to an unusual partnership between three city agencies aimed at both remaking the street for a mixed-use future and turning it into a showcase for green infrastructure.

At a public open house on July 26, representatives of the Streets Department, the Water Department and the City Planning Commission invited residents of South Kensington (Old Kensington), West Kensington and Norris Square to give their opinions about what issues the city should address first when rebuilding the street. Read more »

Farmhouse Friday: A Landmark Restoration in Thornbury

148 Freedom Rider Trail, West Chester, Pa. 19382 (Thornbury Township) | Images from Keller Williams Luxury Homes International

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 »

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