Posts tagged with "Philadelphia":

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Philly Gearing Up For Bike-Share: Toole Design Group Selected To Create Business Plan

A bike-share program is on the horizon for Philadelphia. In the last few months, the city has taken a number of steps to move the initiative forward. After setting aside $3 million in funding for the program, a selection committee—made up of the Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council—released a Request For a Proposals (RFP) for a strategic business plan, consulting, and cost estimate services. Now, a winner has been announced. The selection committee received a total of six submissions from urban planning firms across the country, later inviting three finalists to come in for an interview, including Bike Nation, Nelson Nygaard and E3 Think, and the Toole Design Group. And, the Toole Design Group has just been named the winner of the RFP. Spencer Finch, Director of Sustainable Infrastructure at the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, said the Washington DC-based Toole Design Group submitted the winning proposal because they “brought the experience” and the “financial analysis to do to the work.” RJ Eldridge, Director of Planning at Toole, will lead this project and collaborate with Foursquare Integrated Transportation Planning, a regional transportation planning firm in Rockville, MD. The Toole Design Group appears to be a logical choice. The firm just completed a manual,  “Bike Sharing in The United States: State of the Practice and Guide to Implementation,”  for the Federal Highway Administration on all existing bike-sharing programs across the country. The business plan will explore different options for financing the program from purely private or purely public funding to a “hybrid model” of state and federal funding, along with non-profit and private sponsorship. The selection committee plans to make a formal announcement later this week and expects the business plan to be completed by this May. The program is scheduled to launch by 2014, and make over 1,000 bikes available at about 100 stations across the city by the following year.
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Philadelphia’s West Market Street To Get a Mixed-Use Facelift

West Market Street, a once seedy part of Philadelphia, is set to undergo a transformation in the near future. PlanPhilly reported that the Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC) released a new report that recommends creating mixed-use developments centered around transit stops. A few of the projects slated for the West Market Corridor include a transit-related development called New West, a building for police administration and other city services, and a redevelopment of a large parking lot. While the plans call for mixed-use, housing will play a lesser part in the development since population is decreasing, which “makes demand for housing pretty tough” said Planning Commission Chairman and Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger. To move this plan forward, PCPC will need to revise zoning maps, work with property owners in the area, and look into a tax credit program.
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Philly’s KieranTimberlake Finds New Home in an Old Bottling Plant

  KieranTimberlake has been looking to buy a building for over a decade now, and after a long search, the Philadelphia firm is putting down roots in the Northern Liberties neighborhood with the recent purchase of the 1948 Henry F. Ortlieb Company Bottling House. The firm’s substantial growth first prompted the partners, James Timberlake and Stephen Kieran, to search for a new home, and this two-story, 63,000 sq foot building located on the Ortlieb campus will provide more than enough space to accommodate the firm’s 90 plus employees. Timberlake and Kieran have drafted a preliminary plan for all three levels of the building, designed by architect Richard Koelle of William F. Koelle & Co. and a protégé of Paul Cret, and will begin renovations in 2013. The exterior will remain the same, but the ground floor will house a workshop and the second floor will be transformed into studio, office, and conference space. Timberlake says the building features the hallmark details of contemporary post-war era design such as stripped windows, industrial sashes, and linear light on the top floor. “What appealed to us about it is that it is a piece of modern industrial architecture from the late 1940s still intact in Philadelphia. And from the outside it is a contributing piece to the neighborhood,” says Timberlake. “It affords a column free space that suits our culture very nicely.” KieranTimberlake will begin to make improvements to the envelope within the next six to nine weeks and the firm is currently moving ahead with a sustainability study to devise a strategy to make the project environmentally ethical. They’re exploring the possibility of ventilating the building naturally and implementing day lighting with the help of lighting designer Charles Stone from Fisher Marantz Stone. KieranTimberlake has been the architect for projects such as the US Embassy in London and the Sculpture and Gallery Building at Yale University, and will be working on a series of buildings and a 1700-acre site design for the Foreign Affairs Security Training Center.
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Philly says Yes: Planning Commission Approves Major Projects

Philadelphia Planning Commissioners have approved several major projects for development on or near the Central Delaware Waterfront. 205 Race Street, designed by Peter Gluck, was granted several zoning variances despite mixed reactions from Old City community members. Plans to develop mixed-use residential buildings and new public space on Piers 34 and 35 were also approved.
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Race Street Rising

Last week Philadelphia’s new zoning code went into effect, but projects nurtured under the old code may still be rising. Just yesterday, architect Peter Gluck presented a tower proposal to the Old City Civic Association for a 16-story building adjacent to the Ben Franklin Bridge. Because the zoning permits were filed last month the building is subject to old code. Gluck’s presentation of 205 Race Street soured when new renderings revealed that an early proposal by SHoP Architects, initially approved at a 100-foot height, had morphed into a 197-foot tower that sets back from Race Street, PlanPhilly reported. The group voted 11 to 1 to oppose the project. In a phone interview on his way back to New York from the presentation, Gluck said that the timing was coincidental. He added that the design phase of the project began more than a year ago, when political wrangling surrounding zoning legislation made the outcome of the code anything but certain. Gluck and the developer Jeffery Brown decided to move forward while the zoning debates played out. “We knew what was going on,” Gluck said. “We designed it not for the zoning strictures, but what made sense urbanistically and what was doable from an economic standpoint.” Gluck would not comment on curtain wall materials or engineering while the building is in the midst of the permitting process. But he did say that the taller height was a shift in massing intended to respond to the neighborhood context, adding that volume remains much the same. The initially approved building was 100 feet high all the way around its perimeter. The architect said the new design creates a lower parapet at 56 feet along Race Street, before setting back 14 feet and allowing the 197-foot high tower to rise. The setback would make way for a green roof and a two-story cutout into tower along the Race Street side. The design’s new Race Street height is intended to offer clear views of the bridge, while emphasizing the corridor leading to the recently completed Race Street Pier. The tower is intended to respond to the height of the bridge, though detractors point out that the new code addresses nearby building height and not the bridge. Copious amounts of space would be set aside for a ground floor retailer with a glass storefront wrapping around Second Street. The glazing would give way to service docks along Florist Street, which runs just under the bridge. In an area known for its narrow colonial streets, Gluck said that the bridge allows the Florist Street service docks to be uniquely qualified to accommodate large trucks needed to service a supermarket. It’s an amenity that Gluck said the area needs, along with the people to use it. “Old city desperately needs population and retail, the kind of things that make a city work,” said Gluck. “Right now there’s a very long derelict area and our project is meant to enhance that movement toward the pier.”  
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Furness Finale: A Tribute After 100 Years

The Friends of Frank Furness Facebook page is lit with tributes to the Philadelphia architect who died 100 years ago today. Furness diehards made the trek to his grave last Sunday. The remains of the civil war veteran and architect were lost until a group seeking to pay tribute to Medal of Honor recipients got in touch with Laurel Hill Cemetery to find him fifteen years ago. A modest military headstone marks the final resting place, but far more impressive monuments, in the form of his masterworks, dot the streetscape of Center City, Philadelphia. But given the choice, what building by Furness would be his greatest monument? Is it the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts? The Venturi-restored Fisher Fine Arts Library at Penn? Or, perhaps one his multi gabled-grand homes, like Dolobran? Or would it be one of the dozens of small, but fanciful homes that animate downtown, or a modest church in South Philly? In one online video, Venturi pantomimes the prayerful bow he makes each time he passes the Academy. Amen.
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On View> Craft Spoken Here at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Craft Spoken Here Philadelphia Museum of Art 26th St. and Benjamin Franklin Pkwy. Philadelphia, PA Through August 12 Since it was founded in 1876, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has collected and exhibited crafts; the collection today includes 20th- and 21st-century works from across the globe. With Craft Spoken Here, the Museum presents the medium of crafting as a common language of technique, material, and form that defies cultural boundaries and historical categorization. Drawing from the museum’s collection as well as works on loan from artists and private collections, the exhibition will include some 40 works by acclaimed and lesser-known craftsman alike, with contemporary pieces from 1960 to the present, including The One, 1985 by Rebecca Medel (above). Representing the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe with works in ceramic, glass, metal, wood, lacquer, paper, and fiber, the works on display show the breadth of the medium and highlight the qualities of craft that transcend culture and time.
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Spur to Action: Philly Brings Elevated Park Plans into Focus

Philly is one step closer to creating an elevated park on an abandoned rail viaduct. Studio Bryan Hanes and Urban Engineers, two firms collaborating on the design of the SEPTA Spur phase of Philadelphia's Reading Viaduct, have released new images of the reclaimed railway that bring the proposal into focus. The Spur represents a significant step in realizing the vision of the elevated park with a primary entrance from Broad Street that rises from grade to the elevated rail line. The first phase stops just shy, however, of the wider, more programmable space on the main Viaduct. As a development teaser, the Spur will serve as a crucial component of fundraising efforts by park advocates, Viaduct Greene and the Reading Viaduct Project, and the design's reception could represent a make-or-break opportunity to complete the larger project. According to Bryan Hanes in an article from HiddenCity, "We have been working to maintain the industrial character of the space while finding the appropriate balance between program elements and the simple pleasure of being up off the ground in an awe-inspiring place." Funded primarily by the William Penn Foundation and the Poor Richards Charitable Trust, the Spur will make up just 9% of the total area of the proposed park. Although the dream of an elevated park so far remains a dream, construction of the SEPTA Spur would represent a huge accomplishment for the city of Philadelphia. As one local resident put it, "let's just do it!"
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Quick Clicks> Broken Houses, Tree Mapping, AIA Matchmaker, & Tiny Parks

Objects of Ruin. Israeli artist Ofra Lapid has taken society's obsession with ruin to a whole new level. Inspired by amateur photographs from North Dakota's urban and rural decay, Lapid's Broken Houses series consists of small models of the dilapidated buildings that are re-photographed without their original context. Her work produces an eerie sense of reality set against a stark grey background. Check out more images after the jump. Tree Time. A place for every tree, and every tree in its place. Two maps from New York and Philadelphia are pinpointing the exact location of trees in each city. The Dirt reported that Edward S. Bernard and Ken Chaya have produced an  illustrated map entitled Central Park Entire that seeks to honor the work of landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux by graphically representing all of the flora and fauna of Central Park. In Philadelphia, the PhillyTreeMap provides a similarly detailed online database that crowdsources each green public and private property. Making Connections. According to the Daily Joural of Commerce Oregon, the AIA will launch an online matchmaking service in September for stalled development projects and their potential real-estate investors in hopes of giving life to long-stalled projects while compiling data that helps identify problem developments. Parklet, PA. Philly is the latest city to jump off the bandwagon and set up a park, joining pavement-to-parks pioneers New York and San Francisco. The city will convert parking spots into miniature parks as a low-cost way to open up green space in University City. Additional parklets could be introduced the upcoming years pending the success of their pilot project.
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A Garden for Pondering in Philadelphia

OLIN has completed a renovation of the gardens at Philadelphia's Rodin Museum, which houses the largest collection of Auguste Rodin's sculptures and objects outside of Paris. The renovation is a piece of a larger refurbishment of Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which is also being overseen by OLIN, as a part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Master Plan.  The renovation restores the symmetry of the gardens, originally designed by architects Paul Cret and Jacques Gréber. The Robin space is a formal French garden within the more picturesque landscape of the Parkway. The landscape architects edited the plantings to increase the visual connection to the Parkway and added plants that would emphasize the "seasonality" of the garden, according to a statement from the firm. OLIN is also adding new outdoor furniture and lighting. Sculpture will be returned to the garden and the exterior of the building, including Eve and The Age of Bronze, which will be placed in niches on the facade. Adam and The Shade will also be placed in the garden, joining The Thinker, which currently sits at just beyond the gates at the Parkway entrance.  
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Quick Clicks> AOL’s New Offices, Philly Makeover, NYC vs. LA, & Brownwashing Republicans

AOL's New Offices Are Snazzy: Fast Company has a slideshow of interior shots of AOL's new offices in Palo Alto. The space was designed to be bright and collaborative. "This being a tech company, naturally, it’s got a game room, too," writes Suzanne LaBarre. The interiors are the work of Studio O+A, which has designed offices for other Internet companies like Yelp, Facebook and PayPal. Philly Set For a Makeover: Sometimes it seems like Philly is the East Coast city people love to hate on for its small size, poor public transit and high crime rates. That may change soon with a new comprehensive plan for the city that could include: "more open space, bike lanes and preservation efforts, as well as specific goals including an extension of the Broad Street subway to the Navy Yard, an east Market Street that can really be Philly's 'Main Street', a waterfront lined with parks." NYC's Lesson for LA: New York Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan blogs on how Los Angeles can learn from New York City's Plaza program. It's the quintessential showdown of cities: New York, a dense metropolis where most native-born teens don't even have their driver's licenses, and LA, a sprawling auto-centric city. There's even a book called "New York and Los Angeles" that says so. Sadik-Khan's piece is part of Streetsblog's new series on how the best transportation practices in other cities can be adapted for LA. Brownwashing Republicans: Grist has a list of 10 Republican politicians who are backtracking on pro-environment statements they've made in the past. The #1 offender is presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who called for climate action in a 2008 ad for Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection. Earlier this year, he said, ""I would not adopt massively expensive plans over a theory."