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Archive: April, 2013

POSTED: Friday, April 26, 2013, 1:39 PM

The James Corner-designed Race Street Pier has hogged the most attention of any Delaware Waterfront improvement, but it is not the only pier on the river that has been turned into a public park.

Two years ago, the rotting timbers of Pier 53 were converted into a beta version of a park, one that would that become more lush and interesting as it naturalized. Located at the foot of Washington Avenue, it was rechristianed Washington Avenue Green. The idea was to make it a destination for migrating birds as well as neighborhood residents.

With the help of Conshocken's Applied Ecological Services, which received a $1.5 million contract from the Delaware River Waterfront Commission, the city has been steadily making improvements. On Saturday, you can see what they've accomplished so far and enjoy a day on the river. The waterfront agency is sponsoring "Eco-Fest" a morning-long series of events that includes a guided bird-watch and craft-making.

POSTED: Thursday, April 25, 2013, 2:13 PM

Barely a month after two Harvard architecture students started an online petition to force the vaunted Pritzker Prize to recognize one of America's most famous female architects, Denise Scott Brown, their campaign has become an international steamroller. Scott Brown, you may recall, spent decades working alongside her celebrated husband, Philadelphia's Robert Venturi, but was not honored when he was awarded architecture's top prize in 1991. Since the students took up her cause, almost 11,000 people, including starchitects like Rem Koolhaas and Zaha Hadid, have signed the petition on change.org urging Pritzker to give her the award retroactively.

As part of the campaign, the Architects Newspaper's William Menking will conduct a public conversation with Scott Brown this Sunday (April 28) at UPenn's Architectural Archives, in the Furness Library. The conversation will start at 3 p.m., but get there early because seating is limited. After Menking interviews Scott Brown, now 82, she will take questions from the audience. The archive is located in the back of the library and can most easily reached from 34th Street, just south of Walnut Street. Advocates hope the Pritzker will relent and recognize Scott Brown in time for the May 29 ceremony in Boston to award this year's prize to Toyo Ito.

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 isaffron@phillynews.com.

Inga Saffron Inquirer Architecture Critic
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