Soapbox

Does Historic Preservation Matter?

Does Historic Preservation Matter?

December 2, 2014  |  Soapbox

Where do mayoral candidates stand on preservation? Can City Council expand the Historical Commission's budget? Why isn't the system working? Hidden City wants to be your voice for preservation, but we need your help to do so > more

Hot Or Not, Part II: A Drive-By Critique

Hot Or Not, Part II: A Drive-By Critique

September 17, 2014  |  Soapbox

New construction in Philadelphia is on fire right now. Perfect timing to feature another episode of "Hot or Not," courtesy of our indespensible drive-by architecture critic Jason Lempieri > more

Dilworth Park, On Balance

Dilworth Park, On Balance

September 16, 2014  |  Soapbox

The new Dilworth Park at City Hall has drawn a considerable amount of criticism since opening last week. Despite a few misgivings, Michael Bixler thinks that there may be a silver lining: inclusive, public appeal > more

Ruminating On Lost Columbia Avenue

Ruminating On Lost Columbia Avenue

August 29, 2014  |  Soapbox

In this third installment in our series, Ethan Wallace examines the long term effects the Columbia Avenue riot has had on this weary section of North Philadelphia. Dubbed an "extinction event", Wallace sifts through the ruins of the once vibrant neighborhood while considering the encroaching development of Temple University's campus and the social unrest happening in Ferguson, Missouri > more

Incident On Wissahickon White Trail, Or, An Open Letter To Dog People

Incident On Wissahickon White Trail, Or, An Open Letter To Dog People

April 10, 2014  |  Soapbox

While hiking alone yesterday in the Wissahickon, Brad Maule encountered two dogs running off-leash, and they didn't respond well to his trash grabbing apparatus > more

Boyd Ruling:

Boyd Ruling: “Clear Appearance of Bias”

March 28, 2014  |  Soapbox

The Historical Commission's hearing that led to its ruling March 14 to condemn the Boyd Theater were deeply flawed. Architect Katherine Dowdell wants the Commission to account for ignoring key findings, procedural problems, irrelevant evidence, and the "clear appearance of bias" > more

We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident

We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident

March 11, 2014  |  Soapbox

Think a museum about revolution should be bold? Read and sign Nathaniel Popkin's "Declaration of Architectural Independence" > more

Expanded Convention Center: Economic Failure, Urbanist's Nightmare

Expanded Convention Center: Economic Failure, Urbanist’s Nightmare

March 10, 2014  |  Soapbox

After a visit to the Flower Show, Brad Maule reflects on the frustratingly poor urban design of the $780M Pennsylvania Convention Center expansion, including the many missteps and missed opportunities > more

City Shouldn't Sell Visitor's Center Short

City Shouldn’t Sell Visitor’s Center Short

February 14, 2014  |  Soapbox

This week, Mayor Michael Nutter and City Council President Darrell Clarke agreed on J.F.K. Plaza redevelopment guidelines that left the fate of the flying saucer-shaped Visitor's Center up in the air. Preservation Alliance Advocacy Director Ben Leech argues that this flamboyant modernist structure is worth keeping > more

Let's Fly a Better Flag for Philadelphia

Let’s Fly a Better Flag for Philadelphia

October 11, 2013  |  Soapbox

Flags can be a powerful way of strengthening civic pride, but Philly's flag needs a new design in order to capture the public's imagination, argues Michael Burlando > more

As The Zoning Code Turns One, A Reminder That Planning Is Political

As The Zoning Code Turns One, A Reminder That Planning Is Political

August 8, 2013  |  Soapbox

The first in our assessment of the new zoning code on its first anniversary, Sandy Smith explores the rewards and dangers of an inherently political process > more

In The Mind's Eye, At Least, Engine 46 Looms Large

In The Mind’s Eye, At Least, Engine 46 Looms Large

June 19, 2013  |  Soapbox

Is Engine 46, the circa-1894 Flemish Revival Firehouse in South Philadelphia slated for demolition a "vigorous, lively, spirited" part of our neighborhood fabric or actually rather plain? And should it matter? Jacob Hellman explores the issues > more

A Monument To Ignorance

A Monument To Ignorance

January 31, 2013  |  Soapbox

What's that Plains Indian doing in our woods? Ethan Wallace reveals the wrong identity of the statue of the Lenape chief Tedyuscung on the Wissahickon's "Council Rock" > more

The Other Parking Problem

The Other Parking Problem

January 3, 2013  |  Soapbox

Bike to your neighborhood grocery store? Good luck finding parking, says Sandy Smith > more

O'Neill's Attempt To Repeal New Commercial Zoning In NE Advances; Here's Why It Matters

O’Neill’s Attempt To Repeal New Commercial Zoning In NE Advances; Here’s Why It Matters

December 13, 2012  |  Soapbox

Castor Avenue is poised to become the Northeast's "downtown"--the kind of a walkable and engaging shopping district the growing Northeast deserves. Maneuvers in City Council today may mean another wasted opportunity, argues writer--and Oxford Circle resident--Sandy Smith > more

Rethinking The Hazardous Waterfront

Rethinking The Hazardous Waterfront

December 3, 2012  |  Soapbox

What's the most unhealthy part of Philadelphia? A new study says anywhere along the Delaware River. In a Soapbox column today, Chris Mizes argues that while planners are taking into account public health by promoting mixed uses and walkability, when it comes to the waterfront especially, we're missing the bigger issue > more

If The Parkway Were A Pizza, It'd Be Awfully Plain

If The Parkway Were A Pizza, It’d Be Awfully Plain

November 29, 2012  |  Soapbox

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the city's most prominent "institutional ghetto," is at a key juncture says urban designer Greg Meckstroth. An "action plan" being crafted by the City will create some liveliness, but more transformational investment is ultimately needed > more

Memo To SEPTA: Why Not “LevelUp” For Fare Collection?

Memo To SEPTA: Why Not “LevelUp” For Fare Collection?

November 13, 2012  |  Soapbox

As SEPTA struggles to come up with a new payment solution for Regional Rail, Sandy Smith says the technology exists already to avoid turnstiles and confusion--and to make transit riding rewarding > more

A Case For An Urban Expressway

A Case For An Urban Expressway

October 19, 2012  |  Soapbox

Turn Roosevelt Boulevard into a submerged expressway with a subway in the middle, argues veteran journalist and new resident of the Lower Northeast Sandy Smith > more

SEPTA Buses Not As Green As They'd Like You To Think

SEPTA Buses Not As Green As They’d Like You To Think

August 23, 2012  |  Soapbox

SEPTA's recent sustainability award and it's advertising claims belie a bias against clean electric trolleys and electric trolleybuses, says writer Mike Szilagyi. Even hybrid diesel buses, he says, are hardly green > more

Still Learning From Venturi: An Appreciation

Still Learning From Venturi: An Appreciation

July 25, 2012  |  Soapbox

With this week's announced retirement of the seminal postmodern architect Robert Venturi, we're still learning from his (and Denise Scott Brown's) Learning From Las Vegas, writes designer Jason Lempieri > more

What To Do With The City Branch: Return It To Transit As Light Rail

What To Do With The City Branch: Return It To Transit As Light Rail

June 8, 2012  |  Soapbox

With planning to begin on the underground City Branch railroad connecting to the Reading Viaduct, we asked our contributor Stephen Stofka to provide an alternate vision for light rail extending from the heart of Center City to Fairmount Park and beyond. He says it could cost a fraction of the cost of green space and is practically "shovel ready" > more

What To Do With The City Branch: Make It Part Of A 3 Mile Linear Park and Non-Motorized Transitway

What To Do With The City Branch: Make It Part Of A 3 Mile Linear Park and Non-Motorized Transitway

June 8, 2012  |  Soapbox

With planning to begin on the underground City Branch railroad connecting to the Reading Viaduct, we asked Paul vanMeter of ViaductGreene to present his vision for turning the railbed into a linear park--a search for authenticity and connectivity in the changing city > more

In Defense Of Zoe And Her City

In Defense Of Zoe And Her City

April 20, 2012  |  Soapbox

PhillySkyline.com's Brad Maule returns to Philadelphia to catch Zoe Strauss' Ten Years at the PMA. He entered, and left the exhibition, which closes on Sunday, beaming with Philly pride > more

Louis, We Hardly Knew Ye

Louis, We Hardly Knew Ye

April 17, 2012  |  Soapbox

Ben Leech traces the undeveloped connection between Philadelphia and the great architect Louis Sullivan to forgotten plans for Island City, an amusement park that was to be built on Petty's Island > more

Heartache And Violence

Heartache And Violence

April 10, 2012  |  Soapbox

"It really could be something," said the former owner of the Buck Hosiery building that burned Monday. Now, four years on, the neighborhood is burning up piece by piece. Nathaniel Popkin condemns our failure to protect neighborhood and industrial architecture > more

Think Neighborhood Park

Think Neighborhood Park

April 8, 2012  |  Soapbox

With construction on a first phase of the Reading Viaduct park planned to begin next year, we invited the Center City District's Paul Levy to give readers insight into the planning process, scope and costs. Don't think of the project as a connector or trail, but instead as public space for a neighborhood without it--space with awesome views > more

Hoist Up Your Azure and Maize

Hoist Up Your Azure and Maize

March 27, 2012  |  Soapbox

Today, on Philly Flag Day, architect and Hidden City Daily contributor Michael Burlando wonders if it isn't time to reconsider the design of the city flag > more

Mr. Mayor, Seal This Building

Mr. Mayor, Seal This Building

March 21, 2012  |  Soapbox

If the City doesn't start keeping a closer eye on the Divine Lorraine, a fire like the one that occurred there yesterday could happen again--with far more devastating consequences > more

Confessions of a

Confessions of a “Ruin Pornographer”

March 12, 2012  |  Soapbox

Call it "ruin porn" if you like, but for Abandoned America's Matthew Christopher, photographing lost places is an act of interrogation--there are no answers, he says, only questions > more

North Broad's Other Tower

North Broad’s Other Tower

February 23, 2012  |  Soapbox

The Divine Lorraine is getting a lot of attention from the city and the media (ourselves included) these days. But as Ethan Wallace points out, there is another magnificent apartment building rotting in relative anonymity a scant three miles up Broad Street > more

Second Time's the Charm?

Second Time’s the Charm?

January 31, 2012  |  Soapbox

As ground was broken on the new Dilworth Plaza, we look back at what went wrong the first time around > more

In Roxborough, Will Land Use Mistakes Follow Ethics Violations?

In Roxborough, Will Land Use Mistakes Follow Ethics Violations?

January 18, 2012  |  Soapbox

A developer's proposal for the former Ivy Ridge Personal Care facility, which closed in 2009 after massive criminal violations, falls short of our urban expectations > more

South Philly Crosstown Bus Is A Mistake

South Philly Crosstown Bus Is A Mistake

January 3, 2012  |  Soapbox

Here's a transit-minded counter-thesis--and a way forward to leverage the wonderfully dense, but also hidden, bus network > more

Make No Small Plans

Make No Small Plans

December 22, 2011  |  Soapbox

On the elusive potential of the Ben Franklin Parkway and the necessity of thinking big (while recognizing the value of small interventions and organic change) > more

When Caesar's Palace Meets Publisher's Clearing House

When Caesar’s Palace Meets Publisher’s Clearing House

December 19, 2011  |  Soapbox

Fishtown's near run-in with a casino den last week was a first, but by no means will it be the last. Here's how a "sweepstakes cafe" operates and why we should worry > more

Still Trashing Ourselves

Still Trashing Ourselves

December 13, 2011  |  Soapbox

A lament for the lost buildings of the year, and a reckoning for a city that isn't quite serious enough > more

City Controller's Plan to Demo Schools Short-Sighted and Uninformed

City Controller’s Plan to Demo Schools Short-Sighted and Uninformed

December 12, 2011  |  Soapbox

The vast majority of empty schools are anything but threats to the community--they're architectural assets waiting to be leveraged > more

At The Foot Of The Mountain

At The Foot Of The Mountain

November 25, 2011  |  Soapbox

Why "traditional architecture" isn't necessary at the Museum of the American Revolution and how the new Acropolis Museum in Athens can point us in another direction > more

Sign of the Times

Sign of the Times

November 21, 2011  |  Soapbox

Why is the city ignoring illegal bandit signs, which clutter vulnerable neighborhoods and prey on the poor and desperate? > more

Friends In High Places

Friends In High Places

November 8, 2011  |  Soapbox

Furness Week, day two: Frank Furness was architect to the post-Civil War stars, the super-rich who built the city we occupy today > more

Sexy-Ugly

Sexy-Ugly

November 7, 2011  |  Soapbox

First up for Furness Week here at Hidden City Daily we have Paul VanMeter of Viaduct Greene with his take on the Philadelphia architect's life and work: complex, powerful, and almost "deliberately perverse" > more

Not So Bad For An S.O.B.

Not So Bad For An S.O.B.

October 12, 2011  |  Soapbox

Development imminent, the writer reconsiders his long held impression that the building is a failure > more

Designing Together

Designing Together

October 6, 2011  |  Soapbox

With 500 projects in 20 years, the Community Design Collaborative shows us how to get it done > more

Opportunities Lost

Opportunities Lost

September 28, 2011  |  Soapbox

We've given away our power to wow, delight, and inform. Perhaps more than art or literature or even film, architecture is a barometer of the times. Post-Franco Spain exploded with ambitious, progressive-minded buildings; post-Reagan America fizzled into pastiche, cheap materials, and poor memory. > more

Rowhouse Revised

Rowhouse Revised

September 26, 2011  |  Soapbox

An innovative affordable housing project in North Philly transcends its suburban appearance > more

A Beer Garden, Philly-style

A Beer Garden, Philly-style

September 19, 2011  |  Soapbox

A look at the German restaurant's architecture, which blends 19th century industrial ruin with 21st century beer garden > more

Blunt Needle

Blunt Needle

September 14, 2011  |  Soapbox

The new Penn Park transforms the landscape on the western side of the Schuylkill River in central Philadelphia, but is it really more than a university athletic complex? > more