Next Steps for 30th Street Area Revealed

A rendering of what the 30th Street Station area should look like by 2050 from the draft district plan

A rendering of what the 30th Street Station area should look like by 2050 from the draft district plan

On the heels of Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust announcing their joint plan to redevelop the area just west of 30th Street Station comes a draft plan for the larger area surrounding the station.

The 30th Street Station District Plan is the product of a coalition that includes not only Drexel and Brandywine but also Amtrak, PennDOT and SEPTA. Like Schuylkill Yards, the larger plan envisions a totally new urban core district emerging around Amtrak’s third-busiest intercity railroad station over the next 35 years. Read more »

From Playgrounds to Play Spaces

Co-Play at Haverford Bright Futures

One possible future for the Haverford Bright Futures Center playground is this proposal, “Co-Play at Haverford Bright Futures,” one of three finalists for the Mill Creek site. Photos | Courtesy Community Design Collaborative

The last time the Community Design Collaborative ran its Infill Philadelphia design competition, they asked the entrants to get wet. This time, they want them to go out and play.

“Play is a really important component the city of Philadelphia should have in its public spaces for people who raise children,” said Alexa Bosse, program associate at the Collaborative and manager of its Play Space program. “It’s also a way to activate public spaces so people develop community ties.”

The mother of 3-year-old twins knows whereof she speaks. “Even though I lived in my community for a decade before I had kids, the connections I made at the playground were valuable.” Read more »

Students Re-Imagine New Comcast Tower

The members of ACE Team 6 at George Washington Carver High. Photos, drawings and graphics | Courtesy KSS Architects

The members of ACE Team 6 at George Washington Carver High. Photos, drawings and graphics | Courtesy KSS Architects

What happens when you turn a bunch of bright high school students with an interest in architecture loose on the tallest building in Philadelphia?

You get some creative answers to questions the building’s original designers probably never even asked. You get active engagement with professional architects who serve as mentors to the students. And ultimately, you get a trip to the White House as part of a national STEM mentoring competition.
Read more »

Drexel, Brandywine Take Wraps Off Schuylkill Yards

One Drexel Plaza and Drexel Square

The first phase of the Schuylkill Yards project will include a public square and a redesigned One Drexel Plaza. Image | SHoP Architects and West8

The next big step in the evolution of University City into Philadelphia’s “second downtown” began this afternoon inside a tent next to One Drexel Plaza, where Drexel University President John Fry and Brandywine Realty Trust CEO Gerard Sweeney unveiled the master plan for the new mixed-use “innovation neighborhood” they will create together. They also announced its name: Schuylkill Yards. Read more »

Hawthorne Residents Blast Blatstein Proposal Again

West elevation

The west elevation of the revised Blatstein mixed-use project. Rendering | Cope Linder Architects

When the revised plans for Bart Blatstein’s mixed-use residential/retail development at the northeast corner of Broad and Washington were made public in a Civic Design Review submission, we predicted that the residents of Hawthorne would be no happier with one 32-story tower than they were with two.

We called that accurately: at the February 25 Hawthorne Empowerment Coalition zoning meeting, just about every near and not-so-near neighbor beat up on Blatstein for insisting on a tall apartment tower still. But that wasn’t the only thing they didn’t like about the project. In fact, just about every aspect of the proposal came in for criticism, and the criticism also revealed areas in which the residents, many of whom have lived in the neighborhood for years, share the concerns of newer urban advocates regarding this site and areas where they part company.

Read more »

From Perth to Penn’s Landing?

Elizabeth Quay

What’s been proposed for Penn’s Landing isn’t quite as dramatic as what Elizabeth Quay should look like once the development around it is complete, as in this rendering from Ashton Raggatt McDougall and the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority of Perth. But the city and the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation pin similar hopes for spinoff development on the proposed enlarged park.

While the planned Penn’s Landing makeover currently lives in suspended animation, perhaps we should not fret too much over the lack of visible progress. Sometimes it takes a while to get things right. Read more »

LEED Platinum Rehab Sells in Fairmount

The sunken garden in the rear of the home is one of many delightful green features built into the home. Photo | Laura Kivey via Marion Dinofa, BHHS Fox & Roach - Bryn Mawr

The sunken garden in the rear of the home is one of many delightful green features built into the home. Photos | Laura Kivey via Marion Dinofa, BHHS Fox & Roach – Bryn Mawr

The Slusher residence at 818 N. 27th St. in Fairmount is now the former Slusher residence, as the first LEED Platinum-certified rehabbed house in Pennsylvania has been sold.

It did take a while, though. The house first went on the market in November 2014, a few years after its owner concluded a three-year-long renovation project that earned it that first-in-the-state LEED Platinum certification for a rehab. Read more »

Doggy Daycare Facility Opens In Rittenhouse Hill Apartments

The Just4Paws facility at the Rittenhouse Hill Apartments.

The Just4Paws facility at the Rittenhouse Hill Apartments.

High-end luxury real estate is a competitive business. Amidst all the top-notch facilities springing up around the city, developers have to look for creative ways to stand out. It is with this in mind that the Rittenhouse Hill apartment community in Germantown has recently opened Just4Paws, a doggy daycare spot for residents of the building and those in the surrounding area.

“We just want to create the best living environment for our residents, with everything they would need,” said Mike Pestronk of Post Brothers, the developers of the complex. “Pets are members of the family, so we wanted to accommodate that.” Read more »

The Beacon to Bring 100 Apartments, Roof Deck and an Under Armour to Walnut Street

The Beacon at 16th and Walnut | Rendering via Pearl Properties and DAS Architects

The Beacon at 16th and Walnut | Rendering via Pearl Properties and DAS Architects

Work is well underway on a major mixed-use project at the corner of 16th and Walnut. As you might recall, Pearl Properties is bringing a 10,000-square-foot Under Armour location to the bustling corner, and we now know what will top the store best known for exuberantly decorated uniforms and athletic gear.

Over the weekend, crews shut down the 1500 block of Walnut Street to install a tall tower crane on the slender site at 1527 Walnut Street, which formerly housed a Lululemon store.

The design from DAS Architects shows a 12-story apartment building–which Pearl has dubbed “The Beacon”– built over top of the Brown Brothers Harriman Co. building at 1529-33 Walnut Street.

James Pearlstein, of Pearl Properties, called the new building “our most ambitious project to date,” and said the it should be completed in 2017.

“The Beacon is designed to highlight Philadelphia’s “old and new,” combining the modern finishes of a newly constructed high-rise while preserving and incorporating the timeless architecture of the six story corner masonry building,” added Pearlstein.

Read more »

Hale Yeah! Renderings Show Hale Building in All of Its Glory

The Hale Building | Renderings via JKRP Architects

The Hale Building | Renderings via JKRP Architects

After years of sitting vacant, it looks like Brickstone’s restoration of the iconic Hale Building could move quickly. Knock on wood, of course.

The updated designs, which now call for a roof deck for use with the planned creative office space, were given the green light last week from the Historical Commission, according to Deidre DeAscanis, an associate principal with JKRP Architects. Only construction permits are needed for work to begin in earnest.

Earlier plans, which called for hotel at the site, had been approved, and DeAscanis said that they had been working closely with the Commission to ensure the new plans were within that same realm. As such, the intricate masonry, brick, and iron detailing will all be restored. Theose gorgeous copper bays on Juniper Street will be cleaned with the patina replaced in a more “controlled manner.”

A new addition–a grand two-story restaurant entrance that replaces the garish Valu-Plus facade–will seek to bring some life to the Chestnut Street side of the building.

Jonathan Broh, principal with JKRP Architects, said that the Chestnut Street entrance has always been a “litmus test” of the architectural style of the moment (see gallery for timeline). “Hale modified his own building within the first ten years,” added Broh. “That move kind of made it easy to remove the entrance piece and replace it with the styles of the time. We found a modification that Hale did to the original building from 1909, which gave us the massing for our addition.”

The tight confines of the building made for a tough residential or hotel project, as the hallways would have eaten up a lot of valuable space. The new use allows for the architects to take advantage of almost the entire floor plate. “Office is really the best utilization of that building,” said Broh. Each floor will have 7,400-square-feet of space (gross).

Read more »

« Older Posts  |  Newer Posts »