Posts tagged with "Philadelphia":

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Amtrak reveals renderings for Philly’s 30th Street Station

In conjunction with designers FXFOWLE!melk, and Arup, Amtrak announced last week that it had chosen a final preferred concept for the plaza surrounding Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. In the 107-page proposal, Amtrak called the area around the station a “sea of driveways,” and laid out steps the company was taking to modernize the transportation hub. Following up on an earlier call for input that Amtrak had put out in July, the final proposal comes after months of town hall meetings with Philadelphia residents. The new 30th Street Station will anchor the $6.5 billion 30th Street Station District Plan, an 18-million-square-foot, 35-year redevelopment of University City, the riverfront neighborhood surrounding Drexel, the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Medicine, and several other higher education institutions. 30th Street Station itself is only one piece of the puzzle, with other teams planning concurrent schemes for separate parcels, including SHoP Architects' and Netherlands-based landscape architects West 8’s Schuylkill Yards project. With an estimated 11 million riders passing through every year, and with Amtrak expecting that number to double by the time the 30th Street Station District Plan wraps up, any tweaks to the current station have to accommodate that increase. Besides serving Amtrak trains, 30th Street Station is the heart of Philadelphia’s regional SEPTA rail, and the new proposal better integrates the two disparate systems. A new ground-level entryway to the West Underground Concourse on the plaza was revealed, creating an underground connection to the SEPTA subway and trolley station. One of the biggest concerns that Amtrak has tried to address is how isolated the station is from the street. While 40 percent of the surveyed area around the station was classified as pedestrian-friendly, not all of it is connected to anything else or intuitive to navigate. Creating several pedestrian-only zones, the new proposal calls for the installation of rounded benches, planters and fountains designed to subtly delineate between plaza and parking lot. The west portico and southwest section of the plaza will also be converted into car-free green spaces. One minor change that should make a huge difference in the traffic patterns around the station is the creation of a distinct taxi pick-up zone at the east portico near the train platforms, and a drop-off zone on the west side. A 220-unit bike station will also be coming to the site, complete with lockers and bicycle rentals. Amtrak is currently searching for a “master developer” to actualize their proposal, with construction slated to begin  in 2020 and finish sometime between 2025 and 2030. Read the full proposal here.
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Philadelphia airport announces five finalists in landscape redesign competition

Last week, the Philadelphia Horticultural Society, in partnership with the Philadelphia International Airport, announced the five finalists selected to compete in the redesign of the 130-acre landscape surrounding the airport. The competition, announced at the beginning of June, asked landscape architects to conceive of an "Image Maker" landscape that leaves a memorable and lasting impression on the city's visitors. The landscape design would offer a chance to showcase Philadelphia as "America's Garden Capital," as well as create a more sustainable landscape for the major transportation hub. The finalists are: James Corner Field Operations Of High Line (New York City) and Navy Yards (Philadelphia) acclaim, James Corner Field Operations wrote that they intended to create a design "environmentally and horticulturally extraordinary, reflective of the diverse identity of the city, feasible, phase-able and achievable." OLIN The only Philadelphia-based firm of the selection, OLIN has previously designed Bryant Park, revamped the plaza at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, landscaped Grace Farms in rural Connecticut, and participated in many other high-profile projects. Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects This New York-based firm is known for their work on Edward W. Kane Park at the University of Pennsylvania, and have done extensive work throughout the New York metropolitan region, including the Governors Island Park and public space. The firm was also collaborating with Heatherwick Studio on the recently killed Pier 55 project. West 8 A Dutch firm with offices in New York and Belgium, West 8 is familiar with airport design, having done a similar revamp for Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport in 1992. Phyto Studio A niche firm from Arlington, Virginia, Phyto Studio aims to honor Philadelphia's "gutsy, gritty, and revolutionary spirit" in their design. They have completed small-scale projects for botanical gardens, residential properties, and public infrastructure across the country.

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Each team will receive a stipend of $20,000 to develop a plan and budget for the challenge. The final designs will be showcased at the Philadelphia Horticultural Society's annual Flower Show from March 3 – 11, 2018, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center at 12th and Arch Streets in Philadelphia.  The winning design will then help to raise funds and take further steps in implementing the project.
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Two Philadelphia architects discuss projects beyond Center City

As Philadelphia expands, architects and designers find themselves increasingly working on projects outside of Center City. This is both good and bad news for those in Philly's periphery, which has seen rising rents but also a growth in architectural variation as well. Two architects at Philadelphia-based firms: Scott Erdy, Principal of Erdy McHenry Architecture, and Eric Oskey, a Partner at Moto Designshop, are contributing projects outside of Center City at various scales.   Speaking to The Architect's Newspaper (AN), Scott Erdy spoke of Millennium Hall, a student residence and retail project that was completed in 2009. Here, the end walls of the building are glazed, while the other facades are highly textured, comprised of an array of curved panels which form a composite aluminum rain screen. [intersitial] Such facade projections are seldom seen on student halls where cost limits intricacy. However, Erdy explained that eliminating material waste persuaded the fabricator to go ahead with it. "The folds and side edges are directly related to the size of the raw material fabricated," he said. "We were able to convince NovingerGroup [the fabricators] that it would cost them no more to create than eight inches of relief in the facade as it would be it flat—so long as wasn't wasting any material." "It was a great learning experience for us," he added. "Engaging with the people doing the work for us results in high quality and good price." The relationship with the fabricator was aided by the fact that Erdy McHenry Architecture had worked with them before on another project, Race Street Residence Hall, which was built three years prior. Erdy also spoke about another facade project. At The Piazza at Schmidt’s, a housing complex between Poplar and Fishtown, the facade operates on numerous levels to facilitate views in and out of the building, as well as, according to Erdy, to engage outdoor space as a "social exercise." Erdy elaborated on how the facade came to be. "The skin is basically a window system that was modified with the sub-contractor (GMI)  to make it cost-effective," he said. "The gridded element of that building is a direct expression of the underlying structure." Also speaking to AN, Eric Oskey explained how Moto Designshop has been using layered screens at a residential scale. At the Walnut Estates, a residential complex finished last year, Oskey used a perforated brick wall to form a facade that is offset from the main structure. The white brickwork provided light and privacy to the luxury apartments behind the facade, but was also parted to allow substantial views to a swath of floor-to-ceiling windows. Oskey will be discussing this project and others in further detail at the upcoming Facades+ Conference in Philadelphia. Scott Erdy will also be present to elaborate on the two projects mentioned here, as well as EVO Tower (completed in 2014) and The Radian (completed in 2009). At their panel, "Philadelphia’s Design Trajectories: Growing Beyond Center City," Erdy and Oskey will be joined by Danielle DiLeo Kim, who will discuss how buildings can come together and activate the street level and how facades, as she describes, can act as "identity makers for cities." Facades+AM Philadelphia is being held at the National Museum of American Jewish History on September 25. More information on the conference can be found at am.facadesplus.com. Seating is limited.
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Louis Kahn’s architecture comes home to Philadelphia with major exhibition

Last Friday, an exhibition on the late U.S. architect Louis Isadore Kahn opened in Philadelphia, the city where he practiced during the majority of his life. Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture details the architect's career as well as his journey to the U.S. from the former U.S.S.R. and his early forays into the design world. Kahn was born in 1901 in Pärnu, now in Estonia (formerly under the Governorate of Livonia in the Russian Empire) and left for the U.S. with his family in 1906. His family endured a tough start to life in America. Such was the state of the Schmuilowsky's finances (the surname was later changed to Kahn by his father in 1915) that Kahn could only use charcoal sticks made from burnt sticks to draw; these drawings contributed to a meager income. Kahn continued to use charcoal later in life and these drawings can be found in Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture, along with further artwork created using watercolors and pastels. The exhibition's introduction provides in-depth biographical insight into Kahn's early life, followed by six thematic sections. One section, titled "City," looks at Kahn's time in Philadelphia, a place where he developed as an architect and where he taught architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. "Science," meanwhile, shows examples of how Kahn used structural systems found in nature as a precedent for his work. "Landscape" touches on a similar note, demonstrating the importance Kahn placed on the site and context of his architecture. Likewise, "House" examines how the architect bridged nature and the built environment with the design of dwellings. "Community," on the other hand, details how Kahn used and believed in architecture as a social device, especially for public buildings. Finally, "Eternal Present," exhibits Kahn's study of architectural history, showing this mostly through drawings from his travels to Greece, Italy, and Egypt. Famous quotes from Kahn are interspersed throughout the exhibition's multiple levels. Models also abound, one notable highlight being a twelve-foot-high model of the City Tower Project. Planned for Philly and designed in 1952, the tower was never realized. The exhibit also features interviews with the likes of Renzo Piano, Sou Fujimoto, Peter Zumthor, and Frank Gehry. Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture will be on show at The Fabric Workshop and Museum for three months, closing on November 5, 2017. After previously being exhibited in Weil am Rhein, Germany and Fort Worth, Texas, this will be the only time it comes to the East Coast. More details on events such as lectures and family-orientated programs surrounding the exhibition can be found here.
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A James Turrell “Skyspace” pavilion will land at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

A permanent James Turrell pavilion will be coming to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, although critics initially raised questions of its appropriateness, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The City of Philadelphia's Historical Commission approved the installation of the modern pavilion last month, paving a spot for the artist to build on an iconic rocky outcrop behind the museum. The pavilion is being built with Philadelphia-based KSK Architects and is a part of Turrell’s Skyspace series. Every Skyspace varies, but they all feature a proportioned chamber with an aperture in the ceiling and computerized light installations that are meant to evoke meditation and contemplation.

This new pavilion will be a free-standing structure with an opening in the canopy for a framed view of the sky. A twice-daily show at sunrise and sunset with colored lights will be projected onto the underside of the canopy. There are already two other pavilions on the outcrop, and Turrell’s will be the third—a modern, 21st-century piece. It is being paid for by an anonymous donor and is only the second commission the museum has installed (the first being Sol Lewitt’s garden composition).

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the pavilion was initially denounced as an “alien spaceship” by one Historical Commission member; a National Park Service official also warned that it could ruin the iconic landscape. (The site overlooks the historic Fairmount Water Works.) After several changes, including blending the canopy more into its environment and obscuring the lights, the pavilion gained approval from both commissions.

Despite initial objections, Dan McCoubrey, head of the commission’s Architectural Committee, said that “it’s a very logical place for a pavilion,” as reported in Plan Philly. “It’s a pavilion that’s contemporary in style. We have a rustic pavilion, a neoclassical pavilion, and now a wonderful contemporary pavilion.”

Inga Saffron's article in the Inquirer pointed out that while the museum did get approval from the Art and Historical Commissions, there was little public engagement process for the pavilion. 

There are more than 80 Skyspace installations across the world, including Turrell's first Philadelphian one in the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting House. There is no set timeline for the project yet.

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Philadelphians: How should architects revamp 30th Street Station?

As part of Philadelphia’s massive downtown redevelopment efforts, new plans were released on Tuesday for an integrated civic space surrounding 30th Street Station—the third-busiest Amtrak station in the country—by a design team including FXFOWLE, !melk, and ARUP. Over the next three decades, the station’s traffic is expected to double, according to a marketing brochure for the overall project, bringing renewed interest to the surrounding business district dubbed University City. This 30th Street Station Plaza revamp is part of a wider, $6.5 billion 30th Street Station District Plan being led by Amtrak in partnership with Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University, PennDOT and SEPTA. Back in 2016, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), in association with WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, OLIN, and HR&A Advisors, completed the initial design of the District Plan. In parallel, SHoP and West 8 have been working with Drexel and Brandywine on the Schuylkill Yards project, a 14-acre redevelopment which makes way for a 627,000-square-foot office tower as well as the redesign of public commons and arterials that tie together the district’s core: Market Street, J.F.K. Boulevard, and Drexel Square. Station Plaza, with its team of FXFOWLE, !melk, and ARUP, is one of several other early-phase District Plan projects advancing simultaneously. While 30th Street Station is currently surrounded by a closed ring of parking lots and concrete infrastructure, FXFOWLE and partners are looking to install a public plaza encircling the building. Their plan incorporates raised planters, pedestrian byways, seating areas, a public pavilion, and a food truck area. Pavers in the shape of concentric dots correspond to below-ground train routes and mirror the circular fountains and skylights incorporated into surrounding green space. According to the plan, the taxi and automotive area—which utilizes about 50% of the space at present—will be relocated to a transportation zone at one side of the station, opening up the decongested space to foot circulation and flexible programming. In addition to increased pedestrian traffic, this move will also allow room for a new underground entrance at the West Portico; the entrance is an unbuilt feature of the station’s original 1934 plans. The plan, in its entirety, is designed to decongest the area around the station and reinvigorate a historic railway, connecting it to other developments in the comprehensive plan and the adjacent Schuylkill River. Amtrak and the project’s team have opened up the renderings (viewable here) for public comment via an online survey (accessible here). Garnering opinions from commuters, visitors and locals alike, the survey will be open until 8 pm on Wednesday, July 26, 2017.
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SteelStacks wins Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence Gold Medal

The SteelStacks Arts and Cultural Campus in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania has been named as the winner of the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA) Gold Medal. Meanwhile, four other projects won silver medals as the RBA, in celebrating its 30th year, awarded the five winners in recognition of transformative places that positively impact the economic, environmental, and social make-up of American cities. The SteelStacks Arts and Cultural Campus was awarded the Gold Medal and $50,000. By 1995, the mill, which once supplied steel for WWII battleships, the Chrysler Building, and Golden Gate Bridge, was deserted. The $93.5 million adaptive re-use project was finished in 2016 and turned the abandoned facility into a 9.5-acre mixed-use cultural hub that makes a nod to its industrial past. This reference to history is achieved through a public plaza that features blast furnaces as a backdrop to more modern structures including the Levitt Pavilion outdoor amphitheater, Bethlehem Visitor Center, ArtsQuest Center, PBS39 public broadcasting center, and Hoover-Mason Trestle Park. A year after its completion, the site has attracted 1.5 million visitors, many of whom attend events taking place such as free outdoor concerts. "We are honored to be named the 2017 Rudy Bruner Award Gold Medalist for the SteelStacks Arts and Cultural Campus,” said Tony Hanna, executive director of the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Bethlehem. “It's fitting that the award coincides with the 275th anniversary of the founding of the City of Bethlehem, as the development of the campus embodies many of the same attributes that went into Bethlehem’s development—vision, collaboration, creativity, public engagement, perseverance, tenacity, and commitment. The Redevelopment Authority and its campus partners have provided our community with a public gift, a place that is helping to reinvent and redefine our city while embracing and celebrating its cherished industrial past." The four other finalists who were awarded the Silver Medal (along with $10,000 each) are as follows: Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building Boston, MA A complex integrating public school headquarters, community meeting space, retail, and transit. (Submitted by City of Boston). Chicago Riverwalk Phases 2 and 3 Chicago, IL A pedestrian park providing access to the river and new waterfront amenities. (Submitted by Sasaki). Iberville Offsite Rehabs 1 & 2 New Orleans, LA The rehabilitation of 46 scattered site historic homes for homeless women and children. (Submitted by Kronberg Wall Architects/Planners). La Kretz Innovation Campus + Arts District Park Los Angeles, CA A demonstration facility promoting clean technologies and the city’s green economy. (Submitted by Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects). The 2017 selection committee comprised:
  • Knox White – Mayor, Greenville, SC
  • Kimberly Driggins – Director of Strategic Planning, City of Detroit Planning and Development Department, Detroit, MI
  • David Lee, FAIA – President, Stull and Lee Incorporated, Architects, Boston, MA
  • Willett Moss – Principal, CMG Landscape Architecture, San Francisco, CA
  • Deidre Schmidt – President & CEO, CommonBond Communities, Minneapolis, MN
  • Scot Spencer – Associate Director for Advocacy and Influence, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD
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Major landscape design competition announced for Philadelphia International Airport

An airport is the gateway to any city: It’s the first—and last—thing a visitor sees. In a push to establish Philadelphia as America’s ‘Garden Capital,’ the Philadelphia International Airport is launching a landscape design competition to transform the airport into an icon of the city. The airport is collaborating with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) for the competition. With 130 acres of natural and planted lands that surround the airport as a canvas, it’s an opportunity to re-image the transportation hub. “The experience of any city’s airport sets the tone for the traveler; the landscape around the airport plays a vital role in setting that tone,” according to the PHS website. The goal of the competition is to place Philadelphia’s airport at the forefront, creating an iconic, “Image Maker” airport that will leave lasting impressions on travelers arriving and departing the city. The design should also consider sustainability and resiliency as an objective. The competition will launch on June 8, when the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) will be distributed. Responses for the RFQ are due by July 21, 2017. From there, four finalists will be selected by a jury. Each finalist will receive a $20,000 stipend to develop a budget and a “thoughtful, creative, environmentally appropriate concept plan,” according to PHS. The concept plan should also provide details for the airport to seek funding for design development and phased construction implementation. Further details and the full application can be found over at PHS’s website.
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New renderings and info unveiled for Philly’s 14-acre Schuylkill Yards project

New images of the Schuylkill Yards project penned for Philadelphia have been released, along with a fancy fly-through film and a new website that details new information. In addition to this, an interactive map outlines 12 of the 14 proposed new buildings for the 14-acre site which lies off the Schuylkill River. The master plan incorporates Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, the third-busiest Amtrak station in the country. 30th Street will see an influx in usage if New York-based SHoP Architects and Netherlands-based landscape architects West 8 are as successful as the project intends to be. "It is estimated that over the next three decades, renewed interest in rail travel will bring twice as many people into this already bustling transportation hub," read a line from a marketing brochure on the project. SHoP and West 8's plans work around the station seem to place priority on public space (of which there will be 6.5 million square feet, denoted as "greenspace and improved streetscape") in the vicinity. Four public spaces were outlined in the brochure:
  1. Drexel Square will feature an elliptical lawn and supposedly represent the "continuation of William Penn’s original vision for the city’s 'public room.'" The area will be active during the day and night and is set to "serve as the gateway into University City from Center City and 30th Street Station."
  2. JFK Boulevard is due to be transformed into a "shared esplanade" linking 30th Street Station with the Armory building. This space will act as an overspill area for commuters and visitors leaving the station, safely integrating pedestrians, bikes, and cars in the same space, "while providing a rich new greenway for the public."
  3. Market Street, a well-known thoroughfare in Philly, will receive new bicycle and pedestrian lanes, as well as trees that will line the street to counteract noise and pollution.
  4. The Wintergarden. Renders for the space show an elevated, balustrade-encased area overlooking the streets filled with greenery and families. The surrounding area appears to be laboratories, so it is unclear if this is a specific public space. The Architect's Newspaper (AN) reached out to the developers (Brandywine Realty Trust and Drexel University) for clarification and is waiting to hear back.
Meanwhile, a 627,000-square-foot office tower, "3101 Market East," is in line to be built, as is a hotel covering 247,000 square feet. The $6.5 billion scheme is part of the "University City" development which will be home for many Philly-based universities and institutions, including: Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Medicine, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the University of the Sciences, Lincoln University, the Science Center, and the Wistar Institute. According to a press release, the Schuylkill Yards project "has the potential to add 25,000 new jobs and create millions of dollars in new tax revenue." Part of it overlaps the Keystone Innovation Zone, a program started by the state of Pennsylvania to encourage start-up companies to come to Philadelphia. It will give residents and businesses tax benefits (up to $100,000 annually) and "further stimulate investment and growth in the community." This hopes to draw science and research-based companies to University City, which offers a Science Center which is undergoing major changes itself. The center recently expanded its 17-acre physical campus, which has been rebranded as uCity Square, to encompass a total of 27 acres. It houses 15 existing buildings, a 16th  is under construction, and nine additional buildings are planned over the next 10 years. In past coverage of the Schuylkill Yards, AN's Will Barlow noted that in a report from last year, firms that were incubated at the Science Center bring $12.9 billion to the Greater Philadelphia economy each year.
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With Kahn, Venturi, and others, a new exhibition explores the Philadelphia School

A new exhibition at the University of Pennsylvania highlights the work of the Philadelphia architects whose work resisted modernism. The school is hosting a monthlong exhibition on the work of Louis Kahn, Robert Venturi, Romaldo Giurgola, and others who were affiliated with Penn's architecture program. In considering its subjects, "What was the Philadelphia School?" uses a 1961 Progressive Architecture article that called Louis Kahn the "spiritual leader" of the Philadelphia School as its point of critical departure. “There are some architectural historians who have the view that the term ‘Philadelphia School’ isn’t really a school—it’s just a bunch of people who were at Penn at one time. We’re pushing back against that,” exhibition co-organizer Izzy Kornblatt told Curbed. The school claims that "What was the Philadelphia School?" is one of the first to consider the affiliated architects' work "as a bona fide movement reflecting a distinctive culture and set of ideas, rather than just a collection of architects united by affiliation with the university and physical proximity." The exhibition features more than 50 models and drawings, including a rare Kahn drawing from his early years and Venturi model of a concert hall that could have been built on the lot the Kimmel Center now occupies. What was the Philadelphia School? runs through April 17 at the University of Pennsylvania in College Hall.
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$100 million pledged for Philadelphia’s Penn’s Landing interstate cap and waterfront park

The waterfront park at Penn's Landing in Philly has edged closer to realization as Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) pledged $100 million to the project which has been on the books for a decade. Despite this news, however, a timeline for the project has not been confirmed. Sited between Walnut Street and Chestnut Street, an 11-acre park will cross the I-95 and Columbus Boulevard, becoming a cap-cum-esplanade on the banks of the Delaware River. In charge of the park's design is planning and landscape architecture firm Hargreaves Associates. Senior principal of the firm's New York office (the arm covering the project) Mary Margaret Jones told The Architect's Newspaper that PennDOT would be "taking over" the scheme and Hargreaves Associates will begin working with fellow New York engineering practice Pennoni. Jones explained that the news follows a "rigorous and comprehensive" feasibility study which was carried out by her firm and estimated costs to come to $250 million. The park is set to connect Center City to the river and activate the water's edge as well as pave the way for establishing future development sites. The 12-acre site will include 11 acres of public space, a 50-foot-wide pedestrian esplanade along the river, and opportunities for 1,500 new residences, 500 new hotel rooms, and 75,000 feet of retail space. In doing so, the project will replace the current Great Plaza with an angled park that slopes down to the river and frames views over the water. Additionally, the South Street Pedestrian Bridge across Columbus Boulevard will be extended to the southern edge of the Penn’s Landing marina basin. According to the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, Hargreave's study "concluded such an investment would yield nearly $1.6 billion in returns to the City, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the School District of Philadelphia."
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1100 Architect combines an 1851 cottage with a modern research center on University of Pennsylvania’s campus

In 1865, “hat and cap merchant” Robert D. Work purchased a Gothic Revival cottage at 3803 Locust Walk in West Philadelphia, riding the wave of the migration to the suburbs. This cottage, designed by prolific architect and author Samuel Sloan, was built in 1851. It now forms part of the Perry World House—a new destination on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus courtesy of New York studio 1100 Architect.

Work’s cottage 165 years ago featured fake limestone—stucco scored to look like a French stone chateau in suburban Philadelphia. Today, the new structure, which officially opened September 20, employs a closed facade featuring real limestone blocks hanging from a steel, barn-like perimeter cage.

“The project presented the challenge of putting history adjacent to modernity in the most blunt and direct way,” said cofounder of 1100 Architect David Piscuskas. Though limestone carries connotations of weight, the facade respectfully resists falling flush to the cottage’s shingles, following this sight-line down the rest of the front elevation.

In addition, a cage structure facilitates a more or less column-free interior. This provided freedom when mapping out areas of circulation and spaces for interactivity. (The building has a capacity of 554.)

“Any structural columns that are there are hidden very well,” said Piscuskas, the soon-to-be AIA president of the New York chapter. Despite the closed facade, the building maintains a sense of transparency from both outside and within. “The way that you move through this building is celebrated and is on view at all times,” Piscuskas added. From the outside, wide, metal-framed oriel windows facing the street allow passerby to see inside: Bridges, staircases, and open social spaces are all on display.

Elements of the original structure can be found inside, too. An original wall from the cottage is near the foyer. On the second floor, a meeting room translates the language of the facade as an extrusion through the space. A pitched ceiling creates a sense of verticality resulting from combining the cottage’s original second floor and attic and restructuring the roof.

On South 38th Street, the Wharton School’s imposing building once jarred with the quaint stylings of this 19th-century cottage six lanes of traffic away. Now, its impact is less severe, thanks to the new massing that still manages to mirror and echo the former suburban vernacular. Made up almost entirely of glass fenestration, the double-height venue gets a generous dose of daylight, making it an attractive place to meet. The roof comprises a series of pitches, all varying in height, which creates a contemporary expression of the original gables.

Form was also guided by inconveniences, such as a manhole encroaching on the building’s footprint. “We saw this as an opportunity to have more fun,” said Piscuskas, who described how a chunk carved from a corner was a workaround that aligned with the rest of the building’s similar geometry. The site’s topography, too, falls in line with the angular aesthetic as open space in the rear slopes down to the street.