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 »

University City Preservation Tragedy: When Density Begets Dullness

Dull density vs. handsome history. If this is the price of progress, can we get a refund? | Photo courtesy Naked Philly

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 »

First-Time Find: Urbane Renewal in Fishtown

1515 E. Montgomery Ave., Philadelphia, Pa. 19125 | Photos courtesy Custom Philly Homes

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 »

Main Line Monday: A Woodsy Midcentury Modern Retreat in Penn Valley

326 Sprague Rd., Penn Valley, Pa. 19072 | TREND images via Coldwell Banker Preferred

326 Sprague Rd., Penn Valley, Pa. 19072 | TREND images via Coldwell Banker Preferred

Midcentury Modern homes come in two basic varieties: homes that stand in defiance of their environment and homes that embrace their environment. This home is firmly in the latter camp — so much so, in fact, that it looks like it grew out of its hillside lot in Penn Valley instead of being built on it.

Designed by architect Robert McElroy in 1965, this home features several trademarks of his signature style: gently peaked roofs that form vaulted ceilings inside, exposed beams, a wraparound deck, and walls of glass that let in abundant natural light.

What’s so mesmerizing about this particular home is its easy flow from room to room. The main living spaces extend naturally from the skylit living room just behind the main entrance. The open floor plan contributes to this sense of an airy home and makes effective use of every square foot of space. Read more »

A Celebration of the Woodwards, The Family That Made Chestnut Hill

The Chestnut Hill Community Centre in 1918, | Photo courtesy PhillyHistory.org, a project of the Philadelphia Department of Records

The Chestnut Hill Community Centre in 1918. | Photo courtesy PhillyHistory.org, a project of the Philadelphia Department of Records

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Chestnut Hill’s “town hall,” the Chestnut Hill Community Centre. To mark the occasion, ensure the building lasts another century, and honor the family that gave it to the community, Chestnut Hillers gathered at Chestnut Hill College the evening of June 9 to honor the role the Woodward family has played in the shaping of Chestnut Hill.

And Charleston.

Elizabeth Woodward, who married George Woodward’s son Charles, hailed from the South Carolina port city and got the family involved in the preservation of its history and improvement of its public realm. The attendees at last night’s gala dinner for the Woodward Celebration heard ten-term Charleston Mayor Joe Riley describe the “scheme” by which the family enabled the city to build a prize-winning waterfront park two years ago.

But that’s a tangent to this story. The legacy being celebrated in Chestnut Hill is one of stewardship and social conscience, construction and charity, and above all concern for the qualities that made Chestnut Hill a standout neighborhood. Read more »

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