What Could the Athenaeum of Philadelphia Look Like in 2050?

Winning professional proposal by Stanev Architects, Courtesy The Athenaeum of Philadelphia

Winning professional proposal by Stanev Architects, Courtesy The Athenaeum of Philadelphia

The Athenaeum of the Future–while it may sound like a pitch for a bygone World’s Fair, it was actually the topic of a recent conceptual design competition open to students and professionals in celebration of the library/museum’s 200th anniversary.  Winners of the “Looking forward: Re-imagining the Athenaeum of Philadelphia” competition were recently announced, and let’s just say that the location of the  “timeless” building at South 6th Street and Saint James Court overlooking Washington Square could look a lot different in the year 2050, the focus year of the competition.

According to the outline of the competition, the scene is this: the historic Athenaeum was recently disassembled, moved and then re-assembled in Fairmount Park. Conceptual design proposals for the the corner, now an imaginary vacant lot, “must re-imagine” the Athenaeum without its historic building while incorporating the future of libraries and museums in 2050–that’s pretty heavy stuff, Doc. Here’s more info on the winners

Video: Grace Kelly’s Childhood Growth Chart Set to Heavy Metal Music

640px-Kelly,_Grace_(Rear_Window)Let’s take a trip down the rabbit hole that is the Philadelphia Reddit page for a moment.

A user recently posted a video that will simply make you say, what the hell was that? The that is a video slideshow on Youtube that claims to show the (possible) childhood growth chart of American icon and East Falls native Grace Kelly, her siblings and even her dog. To top it off, the whole thing is set to a heavy metal track. Yes, you read that correctly.

Here’s the description via Youtube:

This is inside the Grace Kelly House in Philadelphia!! The back of the door the family used to chart Jack, Liz Anne, Grace, and the dog’s growth through the 1930s and 1940s. This has never been seen by anyone else but my family in a LONG time.

Her childhood home, located a 3901 Henry Avenue in East Falls, was recently at the center of a animal hoarding investigation. In April, owner Marjorie Bamont plead no contest to 14 counts of animal cruelty and was ordered to give up 12 of her cats, a dog and pay a $7,000 fine to the Pennsylvania SPCA.

The video is available after the jump.

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Moshe Safdie Awarded 2015 AIA Gold Medal

rendering of free library addition

A rendering of the Central Branch with the Moshe Safdie addition. Credit: msafdie.com

The Board of Directors at the American Institute of Architecture has chosen Moshe Safdie, FAIA, as the recipient of the 2015 AIA Gold Medal. The selection of Safdie, whose portfolio includes Montreal’s Habitat ’67 and Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands among others, is certainly a worthy choice, but not without some controversy. He won the prestigious award in a hotly contested vote with Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown of Venturi, Scott Brown. The pair was the first joint nomination in the award’s 68-year history.

There’s an interesting Philly connection here. Safdie’s bold expansion plans at the Free Library were put on hold “indefinitely”  back in April. He was also mentored by the legendary Louis Kahn, an AIA Gold Medal winner in 1971. Philadelphia-based Venturi, Scott Brown are starchitects in their own right, and long fought to have the award include partners in the nominations.

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Artist Transformed South Philly Building Into Incredible Art Space

You know him from his stunning Magic Gardens on South Street, but now you’ll know him for the two-story Watkins Street building that he’s made his personal art project for last eight years.

Of course, whether you or I will get to see Isaiah Zagar’s 10,00-square-foot work in person is a whole other story. From NewsWorks:

About 80 people who bought tickets to a dinner party this week explored the artspace while eating barbacoa, a Mexican-style barbecue by a proprietor of a local food truck. Afterwads the space closed again. Zagar has no immediate plans to make it a public space.

Mosaic master Isaiah Zagar offers small taste of latest art space (photos) [NewsWorks]

Property’s Weekend Agenda: Architecture Tour of the Kimmel Center

Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia

Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia

Orchestra performances, the Pennsylvania ballet, Thinkfest, whatever your reason for going to the Kimmel Center, we bet you haven’t enjoyed the venue from this angle: a free Arts & Architecture tour will be given at the Kimmel this Saturday, as they are every Saturday for if you weren’t in the know.

The tour includes a highlight of the Kimmel’s architectural details, displayed artwork (including the Moore Galleries and Percent for Art Collection) and an exterior examination of the building in context with the Philadelphia cityscape.

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2015 Better Philadelphia Challenge Winners Announced

Photo credit: Wikipedia.

Photo credit: Doc Searls via Wikipedia.

The annual Better Philadelphia Challenge is a university-level competition in which contestants create a plan that addresses “real-world urban design issues” in Philadelphia, but which is easily transferable to other cities.

This year, Bacon Prize honoree Dr. Judith Rodin will give a speech to the winners who were asked to “reimagine” Petty Island, a vacant island between Camden and Philly. Rodin is the former president of the University of Penn and current president of the Rockefeller Foundation. During her time at Penn, Rodin encouraged revitalization in University City.

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This Might Be the Prettiest Philadelphia House with Vintage Decor

Photo credit: Joe St. Pierre via Instagram.

Photo credit: Joe St. Pierre via Instagram.

Design*Sponge recently provided a sneak peek into the gorgeous home of Mary and Will Spears who designed the interior of their apartment to match its period details.

Design*Sponge’s Grace Bonney reports that instead of trying to get their home to meet today’s standards, they opted to “mix in contemporary pieces along with a wide range of vintage finds collected from thrift shops and Craigslist.” The couple rent the apartment, which means they had to find creative ways to “make it their own,” a challenge which brought about their decision to use contact paper and hang wallpaper to create the home they wanted.

Below, a link to the gallery of the lovely home:


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