When Good Urbanism Meets Bad Architecture


Rendering of the Mormon temple, meeting house and apartment tower | Via philly.com

Rendering of the Mormon temple, meeting house and apartment tower | Via philly.com

Inga Saffron confronts “a difficult conundrum” in her consideration of the Mormon Church’s plan to construct two stylistically anachronistic buildings at 16th & Vine, all while exhibiting high-urbanism and a respectable degree of civic mindedness and pride in its work.”The collection of architectural pastiches [from Robert Stern] promises to be one of the weirder ensembles produced in 21st-century America outside of Las Vegas,” she says. Yet for all it’s sentimentality for the 1720s and 1920s, “these developments are evidence that Philadelphia is emerging, after years of struggle, as a dynamic, modern urban center.”

The Philadelphia Business Journal has additional detail on the residential tower Brickstone Realty Co. is proposing to build on top of the historic Lit Bros. building at 7th and Market, a story first reported Wednesday in the Hidden City Daily. Historical Commission staff is still reviewing the plans. “It’s a complicated,” Historical Commission Executive Director Jon Farnham told the Journal. “The staff here hasn’t come to a conclusion.”

According to NewsWorks, attendees of Tuesday’s meeting of the Blue Bell Civic Association
agreed to create a unified list of concerns related to PennDOT’s plan to close Mt. Airy’s Walnut Lane Bridge for six months in 2015 during an estimated $8-$10 million redesign. Many feel that bottlenecks on the bridge would be a constant problem.

From 11AM to 1PM tomorrow, GRAY AREA will host an open house at 2013 Hidden City Festival site Hawthorne Hall, “intended to reveal the interior of this vacant [West Philly] landmark and to launch a public dialogue about its role in the community and possible future, all with an eye to innovation and provocative thinking.”

The 9th street Business Association–having taken over the street vendors licensing in the Italian Market from the city on the first of the year–is promoting the the infill of stalls, hoping “to attract new vendors that will complement the existing mix of businesses already on South 9th Street,” reports Eyes on the Street.

About the author

Stephen Currall recently received his BA in history from Arcadia University. Before beginning doctoral studies, he is pursuing his interest in local history, specifically just how Philadelphians engage their vibrant past. Besides skimming through 18th century letters, Steve is also interested in music and travel.

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