Headlines: Cecil Baker Tells It Like It Is at Civic Design Review

“This is not a place for broken-down architecture.”

Screenshot of 401 Race perspective rendering | Image via Phila.gov

Screenshot of 401 Race perspective rendering | Image via Phila.gov

Cecil Baker is on a roll (not purposely, but still) and we love it! Just days after finding out his Candy Factory Home in Queen Village was sold, PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey brings us this account of a recent Civic Design Review meeting during which the renowned architect, a member of the Committee, told it like it was to a developer looking to put a 216-unit residential complex in Old City.

According to Brey, Priderock Capital Partners’ Head of Real Estate Development Christopher Todd went before the committee to unveil the design of 401 Race. The development would fall right off the rejuvenated Independence Mall area, smack near some of Philadelphia’s treasured historical structures.

Failing to meet Baker’s standards, which Brey writes was caused by the “disrespectful” would-be building materials (“a mixture of metal and synthetic paneling and brick”), the architect had some choice words for Todd about the proposed project (emphasis ours):

“You are on the most historic acre in the United States,” said Cecil Baker, pounding his hand against the conference table. “This is not a place for broken-down architecture.

“This building has to look like an important, civic-minded building …” said Baker, who has designed the luxury condo tower rising at 500 Walnut Street, as well as Carl Dranoff’s One Riverside development on the Schuylkill. “Go back to the architecture and think about what it means to be on Independence Mall. It has got to be a great goddamn building.”

The Committee’s Anita Toby-Lager, a landscape architect, had similar feelings: “It’s sort of sad to me,” she was quoted as saying after likening the plan to a suburban complex.

Find out how Todd responded in the link below to Brey’s original story.

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