Tuesday, November 06, 2007

See Broad Street in a New Light

The Center City District is determined that you see Philadelphia's great buildings in a new light. Having previously turned City Hall into a Victorian tart (see post here) for Christmas in 2004, the downtown business improvement district now plans to give some other landmarks an extreme, if temporary, make-over for this holiday season. The CCD will draw its light sabers at precisely 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 7, (speeches start at 5:30 p.m. at the Bellevue) with Beethoven's Fifth Symphony blasting down the Avenue of the Arts in accompaniment.

First to get to bathed in light will be the Terra Building, a University of the Arts tower on the southeast corner of Walnut Street. I saw a test lighting in red, white and blue the other night that looked fairly understated in comparison with the heavy duty Victorian gilding planned for McKim Mead and White's marble columned temple at Chestnut Street (above), now the entrance to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The Merriam Theater and two University of the Arts' buildings at Pine Street, John Haviland's austere Greek Revival hall and Anderson Hall, will also be colorized for the rest of the year. Being a holiday promotion, there will be food and some free goodies. The son et Lumiere show is designed jointly by the Lighting Practice, Artlumiere, Philips Lighting, and Vitetta.

Their intent was to find a clever and fun alternative to the usual Christmas lights, and to make us look afresh at buildings we pass all the time. It's unclear if the five custom-designed light costumes will work together as an ensemble, but it's a good bet that they will be anything but serene. But it's nice to know that if the lights turn out to be a little gaudy, at least they won't color Broad Street forever.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is great news! I thought city hall looked fantastic -- and hoped it would be an annual thing. Really helped me see the details of the building in a whole new way.

8:46 PM  
Blogger Anthony said...

It's the Christmas season... it's almost gaudy by definition. That being said, this is totally awesome! I can't wait to get down there and take pictures! The lighting of City Hall was great in 2004 and I've been wanting them to do it again ever since.

8:17 AM  
Blogger Markus said...

I think this lighting project is spectacular. Frankly I think it would be nice to see more of our buildings lit in colorful and creative ways. Heck, I think more colorful and creative building materials would do the skyline some justice. I love glass but come on!!!

5:19 PM  

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