The rescue of the Divine Lorraine Hotel on North Broad Street has snagged all the attention, but there is another Willis G. Hale confection whose restoration we should be celebrating: The eccentric half-castle at the corner of Chestnut and Juniper. Designed by Hale in 1887 for the Keystone National Bank, it is nowadays known simply as the Hale Building.
Jim Kenney's famous temper was on full view the day we strolled around Center City, looking at construction sites. More specifically, we were looking at construction sites where the sidewalks had been blocked. There aren't many things that make the Democratic mayoral candidate madder than having to cross the street because of a sidewalk closure - except when contractors treat the cordoned-off space as free parking.
How do you turn the two-dimensional facade of a rowhouse into a three-dimensional work of architecture? If money is no object, you can break up the inherent flatness of the exterior by lavishing it with fine materials and adding bays and interesting openings. But when you're working on a tight budget, you really need to use your wits.
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.