Jaw-Droppingly Beautiful Renderings

A detail of one of OLIN's renderings for the New Presidio Parklands Project.

A detail from a screenshot of one of OLIN’s renderings for the New Presidio Parklands Project.

Philadelphia/L.A.-based landscape design firm OLIN not only opened Dilworth Park last week but also unveiled its proposed plans for San Francisco’s New Presidio Parklands project. OLIN is on the shortlist for that project, but here’s hoping these renderings — featured in an A/N blog pictorial — seal the deal.

They’re luminous and beautiful and, well, we simply want to live inside of them. And look at the maps — don’t they have a native Pacific design echo? Brilliant. We had to grab a few screen shots to show you (gallery below), but to see all the renderings for the project, from OLIN as well as the other shortlisted firms, go to the A/N blog for the full pictorial.

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Morning Headlines: Redevelopment Plans for the Royal Theater


It took about a year, but developer Carl Dranoff and JDavis Architects unveiled plans for the vacant Royal Theater at a South of South Neighborhood Association meeting last week. PlanPhilly has the details this morning.

Kenny Gamble’s Universal Companies purchased the historic building in 2000 but it has been mightily neglected since then. Dranoff partnered with Universal last year when the group announced plans for a mixed-use building to replace the theater. Details on the proposed building were fuzzy until last week’s meeting. Thanks to PlanPhilly, we now know the proposal includes the following provisions.

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The Lovely Bones: East Kensington Fixer-Upper

A 2009 Google Street View image shows skater hooligans perpetrating their monkeyshines at the corner of Trenton Avenue and Cumberland. These days they're probably building kinetic sculptures.

A 2009 Google Street View image shows skater hooligans perpetrating their monkeyshines at the corner of Trenton Avenue and Cumberland. These days they’re probably building kinetic sculptures.

If there can be said to be a ground zero for Kensington redevelopment and renaissance, it might be cobblestone Trenton Avenue, which anchors the East Kensington neighborhood and whose Trenton Ave Arts Festival gave rise to the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby, that most beloved of creativity competitions.

This home is basically at Cumberland and Trenton, and as such, is in a pretty nice spot to appreciate. It also appears to have rather good bones, as well as a large backyard and a “clean” basement. Sold as-is, of course (hence the price), but if you’re looking for a blank canvas and a project, this might be a good place to start.

Gallery of poor-quality photos below.

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Road Trip: Cat-Oriented Estate Sale in Northern NJ

The man himself, in a painting by Roy Anderson. Also for sale.

The man himself, in a painting by Roy Anderson. Also for sale.

The internationally know former president of the Cat Fanciers Association Richard Gebhardt has, according to the listing on EstateSales.net, “decided to part with many of his lifelong treasures.” Seems a shame, but I suppose there comes a time in every life, feline-focused or no, when our possessions get the better of us. In Gebhardt’s case, given that he’s spent much of his years devoted to breeding, judging and advocating on behalf of cats and dogs (he is also a fan of the Japanese Chin, seems like), many of those treasures are animal themed: For instance:

- Hand-painted screen presented by the Japanese Cat Society
- Original photographs by world-renowned animal photographer Creszentia Allen
- Pair of Kutani Siamese cats
- Contents of Richard’s pet grooming parlor
- Chick Bragg “Cat Family” lithograph

Gebhardt also has celebrity autographs from Paul Lynde and Muhammed Ali, a bronze medallion/medal/currency proof set made for Benito Mussolini, and perhaps the oldest working juicer I’ve ever seen. And that’s just for starters. I mean, do you not want to drive to Denville, NJ tomorrow to check this out? I know I do. Gallery below, and 135 more photos at the sale’s website.

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Must-See Open House: 1021 Meetinghouse Road

The property's original well is under glass now, behind the sofa. TREND photo via Realtor.com.

The property’s original well is under glass now, behind the sofa. TREND photo via Realtor.com.

This rather unique 4 bedroom has fireplaces in every room, hardwood floors and an addition with stone walls and exposed beams built around the property’s original well, which is featured like a great archeological remnant.

In the backyard, which is more than an acre and a half, there are black walnut and Kentucky coffee trees, which are apparently quite rare. The listing also notes that the kitchen has an Aga stove worth $10,000, which likely contributes to the stated $1,000,000 of upgrades. Plenty of other perks, too, in this highly livable home for a family looking for a place in the close-in Philly suburbs. Giant bulldog tapestry not included.

Gallery below.

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Morning Headlines: City Council Proposes Bills on Housing Affordability and Rezoning

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

City Council was back in session yesterday, and Jared Brey at PlanPhilly has the details on bills introduced by Kenyatta Johnson, Mark Squilla and Darrell Clarke.

Johnson’s bill is designed to extend the city’s Longtime Owner Occupants Program (LOOP) in order to provide access to owners who live in government-subsidized housing. As it stands now, LOOP only includes residents who have owned their homes for at least 10 years and whose income doesn’t exceed 150 percent of the Area Median Income.

LOOP prevents qualified residents’ tax bills from increasing by more than 300 percent (300 percent!) in a year. Residents who already benefit from a tax abatement are excluded from the program, meaning that under the current rules, homeowners in subsidized housing can’t qualify. Johnson explained the plan to amend LOOP to Brey:

“Right now, individuals who live in affordable housing—obviously, they don’t have a certain amount of income, their taxes may have tripled, and currently they don’t qualify for the tax relief under LOOP because they have had some type of abatement in the past. But also, they’re in some type of a catch 22, because they can’t sell their homes because of a deed restriction, so the legislation that we introduced today will allow them to have the opportunity to participate in LOOP.”

Squilla and Clarke introduced bills related to rezoning efforts, neither of which were entirely surprising. Squilla wants to rezone a tiny part of Society Hill to allow commercial mixed-use and Clarke’s bill rezones neighborhoods west of Temple in exactly the way the Planning Commission predicted months ago.

All of which might explain why Claudia Vargas called Council’s agenda “tepid” in yesterday’s Inquirer.

New bills focus on housing affordability, zoning remapping [PlanPhilly]
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The DesignPhiladelphia 2014 Schedule Is Out!

header-logoThe schedule is now online for the city’s incredibly fun and diverse design festival, which is back for its 10th year. Starting October 9th, there’ll be more than 120 parties, exhibits, talks, happenings, what-have-yous at venues ranging from studios to street corners, storefronts to schoolrooms, museums to modern homes. If you’ve never been in town during DesignPhiladelphia, be warned: THE CREATIVE PEOPLE ARE COMING, AND THEY ARE TAKING OVER. We’ll have picks before the fest begins, and every day as it’s going on.

Events include our own Property Presents: Tales from the Design World, which as you can see from the event info, features ME. It is described thusly:

From client horror stories to the challenges of reinventing public spaces, those on the front line of Philly’s design community have the most entertaining tales to tell. Join us for this storytelling event, where designers, writers, architects, urban planners and photographers will tell their most personal, funny, and profound five-minute anecdotes.

Info: Thurs., Oct 9th, 6:30-8:30pm, AIA Center, tickets

DesignPhiladelphia Event Schedule

Splendiferous Interiors: Chestnut Hill’s Rock House

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

With entertaining spaces that were designed by Peter Zimmerman and a plum corner lot in the St. Martins neighborhood in Chestnut Hill, Rock House is a dream. So it should come as no surprise that the home is being sold by local bold-faced names Joseph Dworetzky and Amy Banse. You may recognize him from his days as city solicitor under Ed Rendell’s mayorship or his more recent stint on the School Reform Commission. Banse is the managing director at Comcast Ventures as well as their head of funds.

The estate clocks more than 10,000 square feet of living space, spanning six bedrooms, six full baths and a fully finished basement. The Zimmerman-designed kitchen (plus pantry) and family room make stylish gathering spaces. The formal living and dining rooms are traditional and adjoin an enclosed sunporch. En-suite bedrooms take most of the additional two floors, along with several other offices. The basement features a media room, a workshop and a powder room.

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List: Most Overlooked Women in Architecture

Photo credit: Venturi, Scott Brown, and Associates via BLOUIN ARTINFO.

Photo credit: Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates via BLOUIN ARTINFO.

ArchDaily recently republished its post written last year in honor of International Women’s Day listing the 10 most overlooked women in architecture history. Among those included on Nicky Rackard’s list is Philadelphia’s own Anne Tyng (the first female to attend the Harvard Graduate School of Design) and Denise Scott Brown (who was a lot more than just Robert Venturi’s wife, though peers often saw her in that light).

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Morning Headlines: Free Library To Get $25 Million Grant For Branch Renovations

Photo credit: Kansas Sebastian via Flickr.

Photo credit: Kansas Sebastian via Flickr.

In news that is sure to quell left over fears from rumored library closings a fews years ago, the William Penn Foundation has promised to grant FLP $25 million over the course of three years. The donation will fund the redesign of outdated storage stacks at Central Library on Vine Street, a proposed community center addition to Lovett Memorial Library in Mount Airy, and renovations for branches on Broad Street and West Lehigh, Wagner, and Torresdale Avenues.

According to the Inquirer’s Peter Dobrin, Free Library president and director Siobahn Reardon sees the renovations as the “architectural manifestation of a recent shift in mission that concentrates on job-seekers, pre-K children, entrepreneurs and small-business owners, new Americans, people with disabilities, and consumers of medical and health-care information.”  This “shift” came after Reardon attended community forums and realized different neighborhoods needed access to different programs and information, NewsWorks’ Peter Crimmins reports.

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