Friday, January 20, 2006

Ka-Building-Boom Exhibit and Discussion

If you're one of those people who can't stop talking about Philadelphia's sudden, unexpected building boom, then you'll want to stop by the University of Pennsylvania next week for an exhibit and panel discussion devoted to the city's latest architectural arrivals.

The exhibit opens Monday, Jan. 23, with a free-for-all discussion by a panel of developers, architects, historians, and critics (that would be me) about the new additions to the city's skyline. The discussion begins at 6:00 pm in Meyerson Hall, at 34th and Walnut, next to Frank Furness' Fine Arts Library.

The panel will include Tim McDonald, the radical architect-developer of Rag Flats in Fishtown; Greg Hill and Tony Goldman, two developers who have made quality their signature; architects Stephen Kieran and Winka Dubbeldam; architectural historian David Brownlee; Omar Blaik, the Penn vp who has pushed the university toward more sophisticated design; and John Claypool, director of the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The panel is being moderated by Detlef Mertins, chairman of Penn's architecture school. I'll be there to throw in my two cents about residential architecture.

Even if you can't make it for Monday's night discussion, you can stop by Meyerson Hall all week, through Jan. 29 to view the exhibit, featuring designs for such projects as Rag Flats, NoLi Square, Avenue North, Mandeville Place, the Cira Center, Free Library addition, Old City 108 and 205, Comcast Center, Levine Hall, and Skirkanich Hall.


Blogger brand ave said...

I'd be interested to know what the view of the building boom is from Penn, seeing as the prevailing sentiment while I was a student there was to ignore Philadelphia and its architecture more or less completely.

11:03 AM  
Blogger Gabriella said...

After an extended walk in Center City last week, particularly on 12th and 13th Streets, I think Philadelphia owes a huge debt of gratitude to Tony Goldman for his foresight. I can't remember 13th Street EVER looking so nice in my lifetime. I used to be afraid to walk there at certain times of the day, but no longer. Even the the Sansom Street Cinema is getting a much need facelift. Thank you Tony! Pass along my comments to him at the forum.

11:14 AM  
Blogger amusing said...

Loved your slide show.

A good discussion, I thought. The consensus seems to be that we need to shake up the brick fans; give them a little education that just because something is new doesn't make it awful.

I'm hoping the Cira Center may grow on them and they may come to embrace tall and glass. But, sadly, more likely they will complain about the light show at night....sigh.

Query: Do you know? Can you explain? How something like the McNeil Center for Early American Studies gets built? Does Penn just find it too hard to say no to some donated money and does that money come with the selection of architect and all the bad decisions that went into that building? Why is it sited that way?

(One might also ask why the school of design is jammed into a former museum space that simply does not lend itself to the purposes being demanded of it... On behalf of the school, apologies for that horrible location selection. Upper gallery was a terrible choice for the panel discussion.)

Thanks to you and David for your overviews.

10:07 PM  
Blogger mark said...

I live in South Jersey, it took me a good 45 minute ride over to Penn for the architecture series. I arrived at Myerson Hall at 5:55 P.M. only to find a mass of humanity spilling down the hallways.

I didn't even get a chance to see the inside of the meeting room let alone actual slides or presentations.

Extremely disappointed that the Penn School of Design asked people to attend the series but failed to provide adequate accomodations.

11:36 PM  

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