Posts tagged with "Pennsylvania":

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National Register of Historic Places-listed Pennsylvania church gutted by fire

Last night, the 124-year-old Third Presbyterian Church in Chester, Pennsylvania, was decimated by a five-alarm fire that reportedly kept raging into this morning. The National Register of Historic Places-listed church, designed by Philadelphia’s Isaac Pursell, lost its interiors and windows and suffered a roof collapse, leaving only the ashlar masonry walls still standing. According to the nonprofit Chester Historical Preservation Committee (CHPC), the church was undergoing renovations and was set to become the new home for CHPC as well as a performing arts venues. Prior to the CHPC purchasing the building, the church had sat empty for three years. Pursell, according to the CHPC, broke with tradition at the time and modeled the church more on Brunelleschi’s Dome in Florence than the Pantheon in Rome. Instead of using self-supporting red brick for the roof, however, Pursell chose to frame the building with timber and clad the roof in terra-cotta shingles from Alfred, New York, that was paired with comparatively lower-slung stone walls. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2019. At the time of writing, no cause for the fire has yet been determined.
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David Hartt brings the tropics to Frank Lloyd Wright's Beth Sholom Synagogue

Orchids sprout their spindly stems skywards in search of water on rainy days. Leaves bunch in boxes, fighting one another for space in the light, vibrant pink. Not so distantly, a piano can be heard. This is the scene at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Beth Sholom Synagogue in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. It is a scene reminiscent of the lush floral paintings of Martin Johnson Heade, a citation noted by David Hartt, the artist behind this installation, The Histories (Le Mancenillier), on view at the synagogue through December 19. (Other references include the classical historian Herodotus, the Creole-Jewish composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk, and the Canadian experimental filmmaker Michael Snow). Heade was born not 25 miles from where the synagogue stands today, however, he traveled widely, visiting Jamaica, Brazil, Colombia, and other locales to create sensitive paintings of misty miniature worlds, all orchids and bugs and hummingbirds—a migratory creature with symbolic “affinity to abolitionist movement,” according to Hartt. Heade was himself a prominent abolitionist. Hartt too traveled for this work, filming scenes of waving foliage in Haiti and Louisiana for videos on display on two 98-inch monitors. The orchids, however, were filmed in his Philadelphia studio; a seed can travel far, after all. Movement, displacement, diaspora, and homebuilding figure and reconfigure themselves in The Histories. Hartt was inspired by discovering that the Beth Sholom congregation’s original home in Philadelphia’s Logan neighborhood now serves as the home of a Black evangelical congregation. During the mass suburbanization that took hold of America after the Second World War, which coincided with the so-called “Synagogue Boom,” the congregation moved, enlisting Wright to build their new home, which would be completed just after his death in 1959. With its shocking pyramid form, designed to be in Wright’s words “luminous Mount Sinai,” it’s the only synagogue Wright ever built. Curated by the Glass House’s Cole Akers, The Histories (Le Mancenillier), overtakes the Wright’s bold structure without overwhelming it. Entering through the back, as most people do, you’ll encounter a large flat screen on black scaffolding, about human height, though much larger than any human being. On it, plants move and flow, including orchids and fronds. An occasional white X flashes across the screen, a reference to Snow, whose structuralist films considered the presence of the camera and materiality of that more analog medium. Video is not as tangible a thing as celluloid film, and so here the X seems to index the physicality of the screens (another monitor be found, oriented vertically, across the synagogue). These TVs are more sculptures than frames. While at times the view in the videos is fixed, trained watchfully on fronds swaying in brackish water, other times they float and flutter with videos taken by choreographed drones and flipped upside-down. In planters where artificial plants once sat, Hartt has inserted live tropical flora lit with pink grow lights to keep them alive in the subterranean settings. In the main sanctuary, a jaw-dropping theatrical space with a glass roof soaring 110 feet above, orchids have been placed throughout: on the floor, over chairs, and on large tables straddling whole swaths of seats. The roof, impressive as it might be, leaks. When Hartt first encountered the synagogue, there were buckets and kiddie pools placed throughout to collect rainwater and snowmelt. The orchids serve as a more expressive and a no less functional replacement.  What is the medium of a building, of architectural experience? In conversations with Hartt, he said that he had been thinking about Wright’s notion of “total design”—of not just creating the architecture of a building, but the architecture of living, down to the smallest details. The exhibition's two tapestries perhaps evince the clearest example of this. Classic design objects and textiles make physical the most immaterial of things. Light hitting a camera sensor, the semiconductors revealing the facts of themselves as pixels, become most obvious in the fabric forest and lens flare hanging in one room. The Histories is not just objects. Music is central to the exhibition, with renditions of Gottschalk’s music, as recorded by Ethiopian pianist Girma Yifrashewa, playing in the main sanctuary, not only creating a new sonic texture, but building on the exhibition’s story of hybridization, travel, and transmission. Gottschalk had a mixed-race and mixed-faith background and synthesized European and African-American musical traditions, spending much of his life outside the United States. As Gottschalk serves as a “cipher” for Hartt, music serves as an anchor for the exhibition. Hartt invited Yifrashewa, who trained in Bulgaria, to score the exhibition with Gottschalk’s music. In addition, performers were invited in throughout the exhibition’s run and a piano and mixer on display serve as a sort of sculptural intervention that constantly hint at latent performative possibilities. Hartt describes his artistic process as “peripatetic,” both intellectually and formally, but also spatially. At home in transit, Hartt traces shifting vectors of time and space that despite their motion, become the stabilizing forces that create communities. But these flights are fraught. Drone footage and landscape travel paintings can show new sights and celebrate the richness of life, but they can also serve to surveil or as colonial capture. The conditions that create diaspora are often stories of painful displacement, which might serve in some ways as unifying forces for this primarily white Jewish congregation and the Black church that replaced their former home, but the synagogue also stands as an index to the white flight suburbanization that took place in the 20th century. History, this exhibition's subject, is a story of entanglements and estrangements that echo into the hybrid present. The installation’s parenthetical title, Le Mancenillier, wryly acknowledges this messiness. It refers to both a song by Gottschalk, and to the Caribbean manchineel tree, which produces a fruit that the Christopher Columbus referred to as the death apple: it is enticingly sweet, and deadly. David Hartt: The Histories (Le Mancenillier) Through December 19 Beth Sholom Synagogue Elkins Park, Pennsylvania
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Frank Lloyd Wright's Beth Sholom synagogue to be activated with new exhibition

Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1959 Beth Sholom synagogue in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, is poised for an artistic "activation," as artist David Hartt prepares to debut an exhibition blending sculpture, painting, film, tapestry, plants, and sound to bring a narrative of diaspora to life within the iconic structure.  Opening on September 11 and running through December 19, David Hartt: The Histories (Le Mancenillier) uses Hartt’s various artistic mediums to comment on the shared connection between the stories of both the Jewish and black diasporas. Wright’s synagogue will remain active throughout the show, however, and a challenge for Hartt is to create artwork that will complement, rather than overwhelm, the space and its essential function.  The parenthesized portion of the exhibition title refers to the Manchineel tree, a highly poisonous tree native to the Mediterranean basin, but also the title of a 19th-century piano composition by Louis Moreau Gottschalk. Gottschalk came from a family of mixed German Jewish and Creole descent, and he became known for his melanges of Afro-Caribbean melodies with the classical European tradition. This discovery became a spark of inspiration for Hartt, inciting a trio of works, currently in production by the artist, with the Wright show coming as the first. “I was very interested in the idea of the black and Jewish diasporas as being intertwined,” Hartt told the Art Newspaper, “and I was really interested in the space itself simultaneously hosting two different cultural identities.” The infused nature of the narrative is informed both my Hartt’s professional artistic practice, as well as his professorship in the University of Pennsylvania’s fine arts department. The space will largely be filled with sound, as inspired by the Gottschalk discovery. Acting as an immersive element for viewers of the show, Hartt commissioned new recordings of Gottschalk’s work to accompany the artworks, as well as live performances that feature Jewish, Carribean, and African-American music.  The connections between these two seemingly disparate histories will continue to reveal themselves through Hartt’s other mediums as well. Large monitors will display video taken by the artist on journeys through New Orleans and Haiti, and planters will be filled with tropical plant species, with growth (and ambiance) aided by fuchsia-tinted grow lamps.  The curator of the exhibition, Cole Akers, said that the result is a “convivial atmosphere that audiences will be able to linger in and explore.” Akers, the curator and special projects manager for Philip Johnson’s Glass House, is no stranger to designing within big-name architect’s spaces. “To think about the ways that communities come together and sort of hold each other is a really powerful and poetic statement to make.”
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Deborah Berke Partners splits this dormitory with a zinc-and-stone facade

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College dormitories are sometimes drab affairs, utilitarian in their design and timid in their expression. But Deborah Berke Partners’s (DBP) Dickinson College High Street Residence, completed in September 2018, uses a limestone masonry and paneled-zinc facade to create a bright and confident presence on campus.
  • Facade Manufacturer Rheinzink Knight Wall Rolling Rock Building Stone Duratherm
  • Architects Deborah Berke Partners
  • Facade Installer Novinger's Inc. Caretti, Inc, Hershocks, Inc.
  • Location Carlisle, PA
  • Date of Completion September 2018
  • System Block-and-plank
As the building's name suggests, the 42,000-square-foot dormitory is located on High Street, which runs through Carlisle, Pennsylvania's historic core. Wanting to blend the dorm into its context of limestone Federal-style residential and institutional buildings, the design team created a four-story, roughly-cut limestone elevation whose three-dimensional surface creates a play of shadows. Alverson Limestone cladding supplied by Rolling Rock Building Stone is fastened to the north elevation with a block-and-plank structural system using masonry anchors. “The public-facing limestone mass of the new residence hall bookends the central campus on its western edge,” said project manager Aaron Plewke at DBP, “echoing the facades of its historic neighbors, but with a modern and minimal sensibility." Many secondary structures within the town and region, such as warehouses and sheds, as well as other buildings on Dickinson College's campus, are roofed with weathered zinc. The three campus-facing elevations wear this material strapped in a vertical orientation by thermally-broken brackets and horizontal rails. The building's restrained rectilinear massing is enlivened by moments of spontaneity in the facade. Irregular window openings are punched through all of the elevations, with those to the north deeply recessed within the limestone cladding. According to Plewke, "the pattern of the openings obscures the building's efficient, repetitive layouts, avoiding the undifferentiated facade that would have resulted from strict adherence to the plan." While most of the dorm's skin is made of stone and zinc, vertical bands of Sapele mahogany wood line entrances and principal community areas. Each of the three facade materials will patina into different hues while they are exposed to the elements over the coming years; the sun will bleach the dark-grey limestone ashlar, oxidization will darken the zinc paneling, and general exposure will darken the mahogany strips to a leaden complexion.
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You can buy a rare Robert Venturi-designed house in Pennsylvania for $1.1 million

Heads up for those house-hunting in Pennsylvania: A house in Shadyside is up for grabs. But it’s not just any house; it’s a house designed by famed architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. Built in 1983, the Abrams house is a two-bed, two-and-a-half bath house on sale for $1.1 million. It’s located near Chatham University’s campus and is featured by Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation for being one of the select few in the world. Venturi, who won the Pritzker Prize in 1991, and his associated firm Venturi Scott Brown and Associates, is known for breaking away from the stark modernist style of the 1960s. His buildings often feature a playful element, such as the Vanna Venturi house with its broken gable roof. While the Abrams house doesn't have the same name recognition as the "Mother's House," the design is still classically Venturi. As in his other Postmodern buildings, this house juxtaposes classical forms—both inside and out. The roof has a sweeping, curved side that allows for an unorthodox, 20-foot-high vaulted ceiling wall of windows patterned like a ship’s wheel. The interior features bold primary colors, and graphic art that complements Venturi’s style. Other highlights include ribbon windows that bring in plenty of natural light, a lap pool, and an idyllic setting that places the house beside a century-old stone bridge. The house is located at 118 Woodland Road and is in the Squirrel Hill North neighborhood of Shadyside. Woodload Road was developed as an elite residential neighborhood in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, according to Pittsburgh Art Places. Houses were designed by other prominent architects, including the Frank House by Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer and the Giovannitti house by Richard Meier.
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Science center with giant Vitruvian Man coming to Pennsylvania

West Coast readers may be familiar with EHDD through its work on the Exploratorium, a science museum in San Francisco. Its latest project has many similar elements: In addition to its whiz-bang features, the Da Vinci Science Center in Easton, Pennsylvania will have exhibits on plants and animals native to the Lehigh Valley. There will also be a permanent exhibit on da Vinci that explores how the Renaissance polymath's work influences the mission of the namesake museum.

A 400-seat theater, an observatory on the roof, a weather station, a indoor skydiving simulation, and a zoo component round out the program.

Outside in the garden, The Morning Call reported that visitors will be able to lounge near a 12-foot-tall replica of Leonardo’s Horse, the sculpture da Vinci completed for the Duke of Milan in 1482.

While the project timeline is still being finalized, construction on the $130 million is slated to begin in 2019 or 2020.

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2017 Best of Design Awards for Lighting – Outdoor

2017 Best of Design Award for Lighting - Outdoor: Longwood Gardens Renovation Lighting Designer: L'Observatoire International Location: Kennett Square, Pennsylvania Longwood Gardens is one of the premier horticultural display gardens in the United States, comprising 1,077 acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows. The firm’s goal was to subtly enhance and shape the visitor’s experience by concealing light fixtures and using small LED light sources when possible. The lighting reveals the garden architecture and fountains at night, leading the eye toward the spectacle of the grand fountains and strategically spotlit garden features without drawing attention to itself. The firm created a varied lighting scheme that gives an overview of the fountain garden as a tableau, while simultaneously creating an intimate space within the garden to reveal pathways, lawns, and fountain areas up close. The system ties the garden to natural cycles, lunar and seasonal, so that the lighting schemes evolve in parallel with the seasons—offering a rich experience for visitors. “The lighting design illuminates the formal garden, creating an evocative ambience and a wonderful medium for enhancing the nighttime experience.” —Emily Bauer, Landscape Architect, Bjarke Ingels Group (juror) Architect: Beyer Blinder Belle Landscape Architect: West 8 Water Feature Designer: Fluidity Design Consultants Water Feature design-build contractor: Crystal Fountains Light fixtures: Winona Lighting   Honorable Mention Project name: University of Iowa, Hancher Auditorium Lighting Designer: Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design Location: Iowa City, Iowa University of Iowa campus regulations prohibited exterior floodlighting on the auditorium. The firm addressed this challenge with custom downlights with dropped glass lenses illuminating the wood ceiling and defining the building’s form. The arrangement of these fixtures resembles a magical, modern marquee. Honorable Mention Project name: City Point Mall Lighting Designer: Focus Lighting Location: Brooklyn, New York A balance of cool and warm tones on City Point’s exterior creates an elegant beacon of light that pulls Brooklyn shoppers off the street and into the building. This lighting scheme was specifically designed to highlight and offset the building’s wood and terra-cotta façade.
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Fallingwater gets new neighbors with Bohlin Cywinski Jackson’s High Meadow dwellings

Even architects enjoy going to camp, particularly when it involves sleeping in thoughtfully-designed cabins. Such is the case for students of the Fallingwater Institute summer residency programs at High Meadow, the historic farm neighboring Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Fallingwater house. Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania–based firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson recently completed four new residences at High Meadow, adding to an existing 1960s cabin on the site and doubling the capacity of the summer programs. The Fallingwater Institute summer residency programs allow students and educators of architecture, art, and design to study Frank Lloyd Wright at one of his most recognized works, learning about the relationship between architecture and nature in the process. The new dwellings differ greatly from the design originally proposed by competition-winners Patkau Architects in 2010; that scheme would've burrowed the residences into the hillside. Instead, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson chose to expand the footprint of the existing cabin and perch the new dwellings on steel columns atop the hillside. The Norway Spruce used for the horizontal screen running along the complex’s exterior hallways was also harvested and milled on site. "The building's main entry welcomes visitors into a central screened porch, which joins the new architecture to an existing cabin and serves as the outdoor gathering and dining space," said Bill James, project architect from the firm's Pittsburgh office, in a press release. On the interior, the finishes of the residences are durable but minimal to add “a sparse elegance to the space,” the firm stated. Each dwelling features a desk and two twin beds with a full bathroom and closet storage. The project has been recognized by the AIA Pennsylvania chapter, receiving its highest honor, the 2016 AIA Pennsylvania Silver Medal. The jury stated that the building’s contrast to its surroundings made it a “graceful addition to the existing structure.” Bohlin Cywinski Jackson was also responsible for the adaptive reuse of the Barn at Fallingwater in 2006, a project that turned the 1870s barn into educational and event space for the Fallingwater property. For more information about the Fallingwater Institute and their residency programs, visit their website here.
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2016 Best of Design Award in Architectural Lighting > Outdoor: SteelStacks Campus by L'Observatoire International

The Architect’s Newspaper (AN)’s inaugural 2013 Best of Design Awards featured six categories. Since then, it's grown to 26 exciting categoriesAs in years past, jury members (Erik Verboon, Claire Weisz, Karen Stonely, Christopher Leong, Adrianne Weremchuk, and AN’s Matt Shaw) were picked for their expertise and high regard in the design community. They based their judgments on evidence of innovation, creative use of new technology, sustainability, strength of presentation, and, most importantly, great design. We want to thank everyone for their continued support and eagerness to submit their work to the Best of Design Awards. We are already looking forward to growing next year’s coverage for you.

Architectural Lighting > Outdoor: SteelStacks Campus

Lighting Design: L'Observatoire International Location: Bethlehem, PA

The SteelStacks campus turns the former Bethlehem Steel Plant into a dynamic arts and cultural campus with a community center. Highlighting the history of the area, L’Observatoire International worked within the 10-acre core of the site to create multiple performance venues, plazas, and parks. The campus is crowned by the Hoover-Mason Trestle, a walkway rehabilitated from a former elevated railway, and features Levitt Pavilion, an angular open-air stage with monumental blast furnaces as a backdrop. The thoughtful attention to detail and theatrical approach to lighting—which illuminates the structure from within and behind to better highlight its volumes—emphasizes the drama of Bethlehem’s industrial heritage.

Landscape Architecture Wallace Roberts & Todd

Horticultural Design Patrick Cullina LED Lighting Philips Color Kinetics Lighting Fixtures Winona Lighting General Contractor Boyle Construction

Honorable Mention: Architectural Lighting > Outdoor: Eventide

Design Studio: Sosolimited Location: San Diego, CA

Sosolimited conceived a dynamic, nature-inspired architectural lighting system that brings the Cedar Kettner Garage to life. Beyond responding to actual lighting conditions in real time, the lighting system includes a user-friendly interface that allows staff to easily change the animations for holidays and events.

Honorable Mention: Architectural Lighting > Outdoor: Daryl Roth Theatre Facade Renovation

Lighting Design: Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design Location: New York, NY

Charged with transforming a 1907 landmark bank building into a theater with a new lighting structure, Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design sought to turn the facade into its own marquis. The versatility and precision of the lighting fixture illuminates its architectural details while lending the theater a lustrous presence.

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A little library in Pennsylvania makes a big impression thanks to Front Studio’s colorful design

In the unassuming town of Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania, Front Studio created a vibrant community library that makes a major visual impact. “Our work is based on the importance of making architecture experiential and memorable so that it fosters a higher level of awareness in people who don’t normally interact with it,” said principal Art Lubetz, who spearheaded the project.

Historically, Sharpsburg is an industrial, blue-collar town—many of its citizens work for the local H.J. Heinz Company. To reflect this heritage and to help stay within the restrictive budget, Lubetz and his team picked industrial elements, like the exterior corrugated metal paneling, concrete flooring, and exposed trusses. Each of the “building blocks” is painted the exact same bright color inside and out so that the interior is clearly communicated to the street. The bold hues make the material palette feel airy and energetic, an appropriate atmosphere for the many children who frequent the space.

Due to its location—just across the way from the community center and near the community garden—the Sharpsburg Library is a major gathering center for the little town. “It’s flexible and adaptable,” said Lubetz. “There’s a dynamic overlap between the old building and the new, the interior and the exterior, and soft and hard surfaces.”

Despite its fragmented appearance on the outside, the volumes connect fluidly on the inside, even enveloping the site’s existing structure (an Indian restaurant) without breaking the flow, making wayfinding within the library simple. “The volumes intersect like a piece of sculpture,” said Lubetz. “I like to think that there is an element of art about this place.…I’ve been around long enough to believe that architecture can be art.”

Lubetz and his team also sourced the furniture, which turned out to be a challenge. “It was tricky to find relatively inexpensive stuff that was durable and colorful—like the children’s [Verner] Panton chairs,” Lubetz explained. Front Studio designed a few pieces as well, such as the library’s main desk.

Other playful touches, like the garage door out to the courtyard and the large exterior circular cutouts, not only “bond the site to its environment,”but are meant to evoke positive emotions: “Kids love this place because it’s so vibrant,” said Lubetz. “And people still call me because they saw it driving down the street and it made them smile.”

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A new future for Old City: Vision2026 puts Philadelphians, not tourists, first

At first pass, Philadelphia's Elfreth's Alley looks like any other quaint, well-preserved historic street in a typical northeastern U.S. city. Look closer, though, and it'd apparent that the rowhouses are much older than the 19th-century homes found in New York's West Village or Boston's Beacon Hill. That's because Elfreth's Alley welcomed its first residents in 1702: the block-long lane is the oldest continually occupied residential street in the United States. Although the street is afforded protection by its National Historic Landmark status, escalatingultra-bland development in Philly's historic core means that it, and the surrounding urban fabric, must protect their assets by conceiving of a future that balances site-sensitive private development with public amenities that cater to Philadelphians.
Old City District, a city-sponsored historic preservation group, commissioned planning consultants RBA Group and Philly–based Atkin Olshin Schade Architects to stake out a future for Old City. Vision2026 is intended to complement the City Planning Commission's Philadelphia2035 plan and, in a nod to local heritage, will coincide with the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
To some, Old City is thought to be bound by the Delaware River to the east, 4th Street to the west, Vine Street to the north, and Walnut Street to the south. The Old City District's definition is narrower, encompassing a 22-block area bounded by Front Street to the east, 6th Street to the west, Florist Street to the north, and Walnut and Dock streets to the south. The genesis of Vision2026 was a community discussion on development goals that began in January 2015. Traffic studies and user surveys evinced a desire for standard-issue urban features: Quality public space, public transportation access, better bike infrastructure, stores that serve the community's needs (especially a grocery store), and a development vision that encourages new investment without overriding the neighborhood's charm. The suggestions take a deep dive into specifics. To reduce car traffic, Vision2026 suggests improving bike infrastructure (addressing a lack of bike lanes and inconsistent linkage to the waterfront, for example) concurrently with initiatives to consolidate commercial package delivery, privilege commercial loading access over private parking, and promote the use of car shares. The population of Old City has grown 16 percent since 2000, and the area needs Complete Streets (streets designed for safe use by pedestrians, cars, and bicycles alike) to enhance the neighborhood's vitality. A proposal for a 2nd Street Station plaza (the 200 block of Market Street) envisions 14-foot sidewalks flanked by an allée-meets-bike lane. The proposal suggests eliminating street lights—a counterintuitive but effective traffic-calming measure—on the 10-foot-wide stretch of road set aside for private cars.
Although the vacancy rate hovers at around ten percent, studies show that, if current trends continue, the area could support an additional 122,000 square feet of retail. More than 1,000 new residential buildings in the district are proposed or currently under construction. Vision2026 echoes Robert Venturi's 1976 master plan for Old City, calling for redevelopment of the area's Victorian commercial and industrial buildings erected between 1840 and 1890. Eight parks, including the Venturi–designed Welcome Park, are highlighted as spaces to improve and capitalize upon. Activating underused areas around the Benjamin Franklin Bridge is a priority: Proposals include an under-the-overpass market (like New York's Queensboro Bridge, but hopefully more successful) with restaurants and vendors, as well as wayfinding improvements, especially at night, to enhance connectivity between neighborhoods rent by the interstate. Next steps include beta-testing the ideas via tactical urbanism, temporary bike lanes, and legislative action, through zoning and permitting amendments, to pave the way for concrete improvements.
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The National Park Service releases guide to the cultural landscapes of Philadelphia

To most, the words "National Park" provokes images of Yellowstone and Yosemite. The National Park Service (NPS) would like to broaden that image to include historic sites and notable open spaces within U.S. cities. To celebrate its 100th anniversary, the NPS has partnered with the Washington, D.C.–based The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) to release a new guide to the historic and notable open spaces in Philadelphia. The project is spearheaded by the Urban Agenda, an initiative within the NPS to make parks accessible and relevant to city dwellers. In addition to highlighting parks, plazas, and gardens, the online What’s Out There Cultural Landscapes Guide has entries for the neighborhoods, museums, homes, schools, and houses of worship that make Philadelphia Philadelphia. The city's book features over 50 significant sites, which users can filter by type, theme, style, or designer. Each entry has images and a written description of the site design and history. Among many luminaries, the guide highlights the contributions of nineteenth century garden cemetery designer Philip M. Price, Thomas Holme, inventor of the Philadelphia Plan; and I.M. Pei, Louis Kahn, Robert Venturi, and Denise Scott Brown, 20th century architects who have contributed to Philadelphia's built environment. The guides build on TCLF's What's Out There database, which contains over 1,900 sites in the U.S. and Canada. Besides National Parks, the guide has information on National Historic Landmarks, National Natural Landmarks, National Heritage Areas, Land and Water Conservation Fund Sites, and National Register of Historic Places landscapes. TCLF already has non-NPS affiliated guides for Chicago, Denver, D.C., and Toronto, and over the next 18 months, the NPS and TCLF will release guides for Boston, New York, and Richmond, Virginia, Next City reports.