Main Street Modernism In Oxford Circle


The Ott Camera store at 6901 Castor Avenue, Oxford Circle | Photo: Ben Leech

The Ott Camera store at 6901 Castor Avenue, Oxford Circle | Photo: Ben Leech

  • Inga Saffron contemplates the playfully designed former Ott Camera shop building at 6901 Castor Avenue in Oxford Circle. Included in the docket for Wednesday’s Historic Commission meeting, Czech-American architect Allan A. Berkowitz’s 1955 building is a superb example of what the Preservation Alliance’s Benjamin Leech calls “Main Street Modernism,” yet is threatened with alterations from its new owner. “If you look carefully, you can see the form of the building mimics a traditional camera, with the exaggerated ‘O’ in Ott serving as the viewfinder and the strongly outlined ground-floor window performing the role of the lens.”
  • Also up for the Historical Commission’s consideration on Wednesday is the former PECO generator building just north of Fishtown’s Penn Treaty Park. Nominators Jill Betters and Stephanie Haller ask you to sign a petition in support of the designation being opposing by owner Tower Investments.
  • The Inquirer editorial board takes a strong line against PMC Property Group and its new-found hesitance to follow through with its commitment to provide 25 affordable units in its One Water Street development in exchange for five additional stories, arguing that any alternative public benefit that Licenses and Inspections’ David Perri might allow in its place could not be worth the price of hampering economic diversity in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods by giving developers undeserved proof that affordable housing is too costly in this market.
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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