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 »

Hard Hat Tour: East Market’s First Building

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

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 »

Scientists Discover a New Shade of Blue That Could Lower Your AC Bill

blue

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 »

An Idea Factory Adds a “Quiet Car” for Concentration

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

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 »

This One Paint Job Could Make Your House Sell for $1,400 More

paint

iStock/TinaFields.

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 »

That House Out There: Modern with a Classical Accent in Queen Village

617 S. American St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19147 | TREND Images from Keller Williams Center City

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 »

A Louis Kahn Icon in Chestnut Hill Wins National Preservation Award

Margaret Esherick House

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 »

These Are The Region’s 8 Best Developments

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 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 »

« Older Posts  |  Newer Posts »