The heyday of the starchitect pretty much ended with the last recession, but there remains one rock-star designer who still commands the attention of people who normally pay little attention to the way buildings look: Bjarke Ingels. Just 41, the Danish-born architect has already been the subject of a New Yorker profile and a Charlie Rose interview. Ingels is a regular on the TED-talk circuit, and was in Philadelphia last month to give the prestigious Louis Kahn lecture.
A top Philadelphia zoning official said Monday that tenants will not be allowed to move into a luxurious new Delaware waterfront apartment building unless the developer includes 25 affordable units as promised - or offers a suitable alternative, such as ground-floor retail, public art, or a contribution to the city's Housing Trust Fund.
One side benefit of the construction of the massive retail-and-residential East Market project is that it has opened up views (temporarily, anyway) of the tightly packed commercial blocks between 11th and 12th Streets. For the first time in decades, you can clearly make out the colorful terra-cotta details on 15 S. 11th St., once a flagship location for the Horn & Hardart restaurant chain.
Before middle-class Americans started dropping wads of money on cars, they used their disposable income to buy pianos. A sign of status and culture, a piano was often a family's most expensive and prized possession. By 1890, the United States was the world's largest manufacturer of the instruments, exporting them far and wide.
At the north end of Corinthian Avenue stands the most Parthenonlike of Philadelphia's many Parthenon-inspired buildings: Girard College's Founder's Hall. The Greek Revival temple, designed by Thomas U. Walter, is actually bigger than the Athens original, with massive fluted columns that rise 65 feet and that are topped with tiers of vines and flowers that form the architectural capitals (Corinthian, of course).
You don't need to visit France to enjoy a good château. Just wander over to Chestnut Street, where the nine-story Crozer Building lords over the 1400 block. Unlike the aristocratic French homes, this is a vertical château, and it was created for a burgeoning American commercial district.
Inga Saffron, The Inquirer's architecture critic, writes about architecture, design and planning issues. She was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Criticism. Her popular column, "Changing Skyline", has been appearing on Fridays in the paper’s Home & Design section since 1999. In 2012, she completed a Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.