The old Jacob Reed's Sons store on Chestnut Street, now a CVS, is justly admired for its palazzo-style facade and arts-and-craft mosaic, created by architect William L. Price in 1905. But this baby's got back, too. The rear facade on Sansom Street is a minor-key version of the front, featuring a monumental stained-glass window that would be at home in a grand church.
There is nothing like a dome. Especially when it's as soaring and serene as the one that spans the Chinese rotunda at the Renaissance-style Penn Museum. The tiled canopy rests as lightly as a soap bubble on the walls of the rotunda, 90 feet above our heads, and the spare, unadorned walls make us feel as if we were entering an ancient sanctuary.
It makes sense that the consumerist boom that followed World War II would produce some great retail architecture. If you travel Center City's shopping streets, you can still see a few of the exuberant storefronts that emerged in the '50s and '60s, before shopping migrated to the suburban malls.
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.