Thursday, March 5, 2015

Carl Dranoff's Evolving Architectural Taste

One thing you can say about Carl Dranoff's taste in architecture is that it's getting better.

Carl Dranoff's Evolving Architectural Taste

One thing you can say about Carl Dranoff’s taste in architecture is that it’s getting better.

On Wednesday, he held a lavish ground-breaking extravaganza for his latest, and smallest, apartment building on South Broad Street, aka, the Avenue of the Arts. SouthStar Lofts isn’t great design, but it’s not pink, either, like his first foray, Symphony House, by BLT Architects.

His new, 85-unit project is a straightforward, loft-style building and was designed by JKRoller Architects, the same firm that did Dranoff’s 777 Broad Street project. They’ve dropped the frou-frou, art deco flourishes this time in favor of clean lines and big windows. Although we still need to see the materials and detailing, the design shown in the renderings has also improved since its original iteration in 2011, when it was called Casa Verde. (see my review below) The best thing about the project may be the 10,000 square feet of retail that strongly anchors the South Street corner. The entrance is on Broad Street, at the northern end of the building, and the retail wraps around to South Street. If Dranoff is able to secure a strong tenant, this project could help tie together the two rebounding ends of South Street.

 Read my 2011 column here.

Inga Saffron Inquirer Architecture Critic
About this blog

Inga Saffron believes there is architecture and there are places, and you can’t write about one without writing about the other.

Since becoming the Inquirer’s architecture critic in 1999, she has been just as likely to turn her eye toward Philadelphia’s waterfronts and sidewalks as to the latest glittering skyscraper. She is drawn to projects of all sizes and shapes, but especially those that form the backdrop of our daily lives.

Inga Saffron came to architecture criticism after five years as a foreign correspondent in Russia and Yugoslavia, where she covered two wars and was a witness to the destruction of two great cities, Sarajevo and Grozny. She was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism in 2004, 2008 and 2009.

Reach Inga at

Inga Saffron Inquirer Architecture Critic
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