Letter to the Editor> Golden Age of Rail

Denver's expanded Union Station. (Robert Polidori)

Denver’s expanded Union Station. (Robert Polidori)

[Editor's Note: The following comment was left at archpaper.com in reference to John Gendall’s feature article on multi-modal transit hubs (“The Golden Ticket” AN 07_08.06.2914_MW). Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com]

The original design of all grand U.S. railroad stations fit the architectural design foundation “form follows function.” Unfortunately the years have not been kind to these railroad stations. Real estate developers have coveted the rail yard property for non-transportation development. In some cases these rail yards have yielded to interstates, highways, and streets. This has transformed the depot (waiting room, ticket offices, etc.) into just “a nice old building that used to serve the traveling public.”

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New report predicts huge spike in tidal flooding for coastal communities

East, Sustainability
Monday, October 13, 2014
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Overflow at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. (Flickr / thisisbossi)

Overflow at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. (Flickr / thisisbossi)

It had been a few days—maybe even weeks—since we’d seen a new report about the devastating impacts of climate change, but, as expected, that short streak has ended. The latest end-of-the-world-type report comes from the Union of Concerned Scientists, and let’s just say there’s a reason these scientists are so concerned.

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DesignPhiladelphia celebrates its first decade with city-wide design festival

Architecture, Art, Design, East
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
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Design Philadelphia

(Design Philadelphia)

DesignPhiladelphia is hosting its annual fundraiser, PopUp Place, tonight in celebration of its first ten years and to kick off a nine-day, design-focused festival in the city. The fundraiser will include a silent auction that includes work from artists and architects including KieranTimberlake. PopUp Place is being hosted by digital agency Bluecadet in its new, 8,400-square-foot office and studio in Philly’s Fishtown neighborhood. And starting tomorrow is DesignPhiladelphia’s “A Decade of Design” festival which will feature 120 events at museums, galleries, boutiques, public spaces, and warehouses across the city. The PopUp Place fundraiser is tonight from 6:00–8:00p.m. at Bluecadet at 1526 Frankford Avenue. For more information on the fundraiser and festival visit DesignPhiladelphia’s website.

New round of TIGER Grants goes out to cities and states

The Brooklyn Greenway. (Courtesy NYC DOT)

The Brooklyn Greenway. (Courtesy NYC DOT)

The federal Department of Transportation has issued its latest round of its Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants for cities and states around the country. The grant program was created in 2009 through President Obama’s economic stimulus package and has since provided $3.5 billion to 270 projects. While the DOT has not officially announced the recipients of these new grants, which total $600 million, multiple politicians have been touting the money heading to their districts. Here are some of the projects we know about so far.

Continue reading after the jump.

Ribbon cut at Philadelphia’s revamped Dilworth Park

Architecture, East, Transportation, Urbanism
Thursday, September 4, 2014
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The ribbon cutting at Dilworth Park. (© OLIN / Sahar Coston-Hardy)

The ribbon cutting at Dilworth Park. (OLIN / Sahar Coston-Hardy)

Earlier today, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter cut the ribbon on Dilworth Park—a new 120,000-square-foot public space next to City Hall. OLIN led the $55 million renovation of the site which now includes an expansive lawn, a café, new trees and seating, and a nearly 12,000-square-foot fountain that converts into an ice skating rink in the winter.

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Refined Peter Gluck–designed tower to break ground in Philly early next year

205 Race Street. (Courtesy Gluck+)

205 Race Street. (Courtesy Gluck+)

Plans for a 17-story tower at 205 Race Street in Philadelphia are back on track, but what will rise at the vacant site appears to be significantly more restrained than what was first envisioned. In 2012, Peter Gluck, then of Peter Gluck and Partners, unveiled dramatic renderings for a tower that had a facade clad in panels that seemed to disappear as they rose up an increasingly glassy exterior skin. The building, which sits adjacent to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, had ground-floor retail and was separated into two distinct volumes by a two-story cutout that opened up about fifty feet above the street. That plan was almost unanimously rejected by the Old City Civic Association.

Continue reading after the jump.

Letter to the Editor> Motor City Mouthful

Detroit's Michigan Central Station. (Juan N Only / Flickr)

Detroit’s Michigan Central Station. (Juan N Only / Flickr)

[Editor's Note: The following comment was left on archpaper.com in response to the editorial “Motoring Toward Destruction?” (AN 08_06.05.2014), which parsed the wisdom of Detroit’s blight removal program.Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com. ]

I’m failing to find a thesis in here, other than wholesale demolition = bad, which is something we’re well aware of. Other considerations that weren’t even mentioned in this are aspects of public safety (arson and the use of dilapidated structures in which to commit crimes, peddle drugs, etc.) and the question of revenue (clearing blighted structures for redevelopment). The article even mentions that of the 80,000 blighted structures, we’re attempting to save more than half.

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Gehry on his Philadelphia Museum of Art commission and his future nautical plans

New space in the museum. (Courtesy Gehry Partners)

New space in the museum. (Courtesy Gehry Partners)

When Frank Gehry’s renovation of the Philadelphia Museum of Art is complete, the iconic institution won’t necessarily look like one of his signature works—at least from the outside. The architect isn’t touching the icon’s Beaux-Arts exterior, but is, instead, transforming the museum’s interior to improve circulation and boost gallery space. But even then, Gehry’s work won’t be all that “Gehry.” AN recently toured the museum’s exhibit on Gehry’s masterplan and got a chance to hear from the man himself about the museum renovations.

Continue reading after the jump.

Philadelphia Expected to Launch Bikeshare System Next Spring

A painted bike lane in Philadelphia. (Flickr / karmacamilleeon)

A painted bike lane in Philadelphia. (Flickr / karmacamilleeon)

With a recent vote in the Philadelphia City Council, bikeshare moves closer to becoming a reality in the City of Brotherly Love. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the council’s Transportation and Public Utilities Committee advanced a bill to bring bikeshare to the city by next spring. The bill is expected to be approved by the full city council on June 19.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Pictorial> Art Installation Transforms Philly’s Amtrak Corridor With Vibrant Color

The Drama Wall. (Courtesy Mural Arts Program)

The Drama Wall. (Courtesy Mural Arts Program)

An art installation along Philadelphia’s Northeast Amtrak corridor is adding some color to the travel experience for 34,000 daily riders. Berlin-based artist Katharina Grosse has been commissioned by the city’s Mural Arts Program to transform seven sites alongside the tracks with vibrant (and environmentally friendly) coats of paint: Orange and white streak across a warehouse, green and white do the same on an abandoned brick structure, and hot pink cover brush and boulders.

Continue reading after the jump.

Exclusive> Take a Look Inside Philadelphia’s Divine Lorraine Hotel

(Henry Melcher / AN)

(Henry Melcher / AN)

For the past 15 years, the Divine Lorraine Hotel in Philadelphia has been sitting vacant at the corner of Broad and Fairmount. The 10-story building, which opened in 1894 as luxury apartments, was once a towering symbol of wealth. Today, it is a graffiti-covered shell of its former self—but that could soon change. A local developer is finalizing plans to bring the building back to life. Before that happens, AN was allowed insideand on top of—the Divine Lorraine to see the space in all its tagged and gutted glory.

Continue reading after the jump.

Philly’s Divine Lorraine Hotel Coming Back to Life

The decaying Divine Lorraine. (Flickr / Vandalog)

The decaying Divine Lorraine. (Flickr / Vandalog)

One of Philadelphia’s most impressive old ruins might be coming back to life. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that a New Jersey real estate lender is providing  $31.5 million to convert the decaying Divine Lorraine hotel into luxury apartments and commercial space. This is not the first attempt to transform the Lorraine, but it just might be its best.

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