Morning Headlines: Saffron On the New Family Court Building

"The results could be worse."

Photo credit: Google Street View

Photo credit: Google Street View

It’s been a long time coming, but last week, the Philadelphia Family Court finally moved its headquarters to a recently completed, nine-story, glass and metal building at 15th and Arch. And like all new additions to the city’s skyline, the building was the focus of Inga Saffron’s appraising eye.

According to the Inquirer, the new Court location offers 544,000 square feet and includes 29 courtrooms, administrative offices, judges’ chambers, and a staff training facility. But unlike its former site, which had all of the former features, the latest has extras like a playroom and computer room. Saffron says that its amenities like these that save the building from being straight-out bad:

Sure, Philadelphia’s first new courthouse in a generation is a dispiriting example of bland, office-park architecture plunked in the civic heart of the city. The exterior has all the charm of a cardboard box – and the proportions to match. Its failings, I submit, are evidence that this town, for all its gains in population and sophistication, still tolerates the mediocrity bred by cozy insider politics.

But considering how the $222 million project at 15th and Arch Streets was mismanaged by Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille, the woman on the escalator is right: The results could be worse.

Saffron adds the city’s Art Commission had a hand in saving the building from its otherwise “spec office” feel by demanding design changes, specifically for the blank 15th street facade, which now serves as another entrance.

The structure, designed by EwingCole, is set to start hearing cases November 17th.

Family Court: It’s not all bad [Changing Skyline]

In other news…

• Is Camden on the Cusp of Revival? [Philly Mag]

Mixed-use apartment complex proposed for historic Old City building [PlanPhilly]

The Tombstone Wall Of Society Hill [Hidden City]

Cricket Lot construction in Ardmore won’t begin until after holidays [Main Line Times]

Builder of Warminster ‘Station’ proposes more apartments [Courier Times]