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Inga Saffron is the Architecture critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
University City, that artificially created place on the west bank of the Schuylkill, has suddenly become Philadelphia's most vital neighborhood. You can see it in the luxury high-rises, office towers, and dorms now coalescing into a glittering second skyline. Just last week, Penn and Drexel held a party to celebrate their economic contribution to the city, which is indeed substantial. Today, Penn reigns supreme as Philadelphia's largest private employer, with nearly 16,000 full-timers on its payroll.
H. H. Richardson so dominated American architecture in the late 19th century that we often refer to Victorian buildings with layers of rough, chocolate-colored stone and thick, rounded arches as "Richardsonian," even when they were designed by imitators. Authentic Richardson buildings can be found in cities around the country, especially the Northeast. But not in Philadelphia.