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Dominican Fortress     2356

Philadelphia Museum of Art


Philadelphia model
...spent all day bringing the Philadelphia model up to par with the Parkway axis fix. the various squares and the public green areas...

Ryerss Mansion Museum

Test Wacko House II as the new Barnes Foundation; see how the design fits (if at all); new/more drawings/dbs for Romaphilia.
The notion of reenacting the acropolis on the various building sites along the Benj. Franklin Parkway may be the new paradigm for "Parkway Interpolation"; the notions of towers and temples raised on a high plinth may be fecund, (at least virtually).
Test the House in Laguna as the new Calder Museum; see Calder sculptures raised on the grand staircase. Place all the Campo Marzio porticus within Romaphilia and juxtapose with immediate Philadelphia context.
A series of City Hall towers marching up the Parkway.
Superimpose the Gerusalemme model and the Cathedral wireframe.
Model Love Park; superimpose the Aedicule Intercourse.

Acropolis Q on the Parkway     2357

2005.02.22 11:21
[Rita Novel idea] for real
"In a Theater, Seeking Insights on Urban Planning"
Obviously, they don't know Le Corbusier is really staying at Cape May Point and busy writing "Promenade Architecturale" for the Horace Trumbauer Architecture Fan Club Convention.
Anyway, Happy Birthday Luis Buñuel and Happy Deathday Andy Warhol. They're still in Philadelphia since attending St. Catherine de Ricci's, Louis I. Kahn's and Albert C. Barnes' "The Bilocating Barnes Foundation" as presented on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway 13 February 2005. Besides, who can resist being around Dalí these daze?
Does anyone still remember "Acropolis" as presented early 1999 within schizophrenia + architectures? Well, it turns out that "Acropolis" (a group of experimental architectures poised on a hill) fits near perfectly on the future site of the Barnes Foundation along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Eutropia is presently getting a real kick out of reminding everyone that she is a Syrian!

2005.03.04 12:12
Versailles, sigh
"In the panic after Pearl Harbor, German planes were reported nearing the coast; the Boston Museum rushed its treasures out of sight. The National Gallery in Washington very intelligently secured the vast empty Vanderbilt chateau of Biltmore in the North Carolina mountains, to shelter the chief masterpieces of the Mellon Collection. The Metropolitan first thought, on the example of the National Gallery in London, of an abandoned mine or quarry, and was on the point of taking one up the Hudson. Fortunately, the prolonged drought during which they inspected it came to an end, and water began to seep in just before they were to occupy it. Various empty country houses were offered them. Soon they announced they had taken a country place, "a hundred miles inland." It was Whitemarsh Hall. Priorities on materials were somehow secured; steel racks for paintings were put up in the salon, steel shutters at the windows. Packing cases were piled in the billiard and other rooms.
Other institutions sent their treasures there also, so that if a single bomb had landed it would have destroyed them all. The hysterical rush to put things in Whitemarsh Hall inspired Hardinge Scholle of the Museum of the City of New York, who had at first participated in the movement, to call the house a 'monument hystérique'."
George and Mary Roberts, Triumph on Fairmount: Fiske Kimball and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1959).

2005.03.06 14:14
Versailles, sigh
Should Whitemarsh Hall hold a distinct place in 20th century architecture history? Does Vincent Scully even know of Whitemarsh Hall? You would hope (Philadelphian) Robert Venturi knows of Whitemarsh Hall--interesting how Venturi makes much of Lutyens, yet virtually nothing of about Trumbauer, who is Lutyen's almost exact contemporary. And let's not forget African-American architect Julian Abele, who is seen as near equal with Trumbauer when it comes to executing the design of Whitemarsh Hall.

2005.03.13 10:25
public/private culture
John asks:
Wasn't the vile practice of saving facades of historic structures originated in Philadelphia, Steve, the fountainhead of American preservation ever eager to get in bed with real estate vultures?
Steve replies:
Philadelphia doesn't originate anything. It just reenacts things.
For example, when Mitchell/Giurgola Architects saved the Egyptian Revival (or should that be Egyptian Reenactment) facade at the new Penn Mutual Tower (1975), I saw this design solution as a reenactment of the James Stirling with Leon Krier Derby Civic Center competition design (1970) where the facade of an historic Assembly Hall at the site was reused as the facing of a band shelter.
I wonder if the reconstruction of Munich, Germany after the bombing of World War II can also be seen as "the vile practice of saving facades?"
Giurgola reenacts Stirling in at least two other designs: the Adult Learning Research Laboratory (1972) at the American College of Life Underwriters reenacts the Florey Building for Queen's College (1966-71), and the Mission Park Residential Houses (1972) at Williams College reenacts the Student Residences for St. Andrews University (1964-68).
Giurgola didn't know what to do, however, after Stirling saved a crumbling historic facade within the Museum for Nordrhein Westfalen (1975) competition design.
It cracked me up when the new owners of the "historic" Schwarzwald Inn of Olney (in the early 1990s) decided to not change the outside of the beloved old restaurant despite the fact that inside was now a Japanese whore house. Vile is as vile does OR how Philadelphian can you get?

Philadelphia Museum of Art


Cedar Grove 1793
Shofuso 1957

2005.05.23 14:27
hotrod architecture
Anyone familiar with Venturi and Rauch's Renovation of St. Francis de Sales, Philadelphia 1968 (which is best illustrated in the original Learning From Las Vegas) will have to agree that it was a bone-fide "hot rod" design. Sadly, the design is no longer in place (but at least the white plastic lectern still exists, albeit in storage). The single tube of white neon that hovered over the church sanctuary apparently didn't last long at all. Like the ecumenical changes of Vatican II, the Renovation of St. Francis de Sales was indeed an "extreme makeover."

2005.05.23 15:41
nice urban housing in philadelphia
Perhaps Philadelphia's vast housing stock has always been quotidian bricolage.
bricolage: something made or put together using whatever materials happen to be available
quotidian: everyday; commonplace

2005.05.24 09:20
nice urban housing in philadelphia
I don't think Philadelphia has any kind of monopoly on quotidian bricolage housing, but it might just have the longest running tradition of quotidian bricolage housing in the USA.

2005.06.26 15:25
Re: NIST WTC Collapse Report
I have a 3D computer model of Center City Philadelphia, and it might be interesting to color code the "buildings" in the model as to degrees of danger (using new NIST standards). Display of such a model for Philadelphia and for other cities may at least be another way to "alert" the public.
Just maybe symbolism in contemporary architecture is not so much dead as much as knowing what to symbolize needs resuscitation.


Live 8 Concert

2005.08.06 12:53
Do you remember...
...when 10 year-old you and your 13 year-old brother took the subway by yourselves downtown to go to the movies. Then there wasn't enough money to see It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, so you went around the corner and saw From Russia with Love.
"And don't tell mom that we saw this movie instead!"
And then my copybook at school was never the same again, I mean, how many times can you draw
in it?
Next year I was drawing building sections.
But before all that, there was playing miniature golf along the Iron Curtain, dinner in Iceland twice (same waitress--"Otto, why is it always fish?" "Steve, it's an island!"), and still being driven around in a Mercedes-Benz 220S.

2005.08.08 15:58
"How Did This Happen Revisited"
Vanbrugh begins "How Did This Happen Revisited" by pointing out the dates of the gardens of Versailles (1661-1668) and the plan of Philadelphia (1683), and from there it's a enlightening chronological list of events.

2005.08.11 11:17
the agnostic design of spiritual space
The original Cedar Grove Church just up the street is now a gymnasium. Over on Rising Sun Avenue, the old Murianka Funeral Home used to be a Portuguese church, but is now the base of a Black congregation, Triumphal-something-something-something. Then up the road, the old Kolping House, a Catholic home for German immigrant men was knocked down to make way for the RiteAid. And directly across the street, the quondam Fleur's Funeral Home is now the Lutheran Family Community Center, whose neighbor, once a big single house, is now a Cambodian Buddhist Temple. Gosh, from where I'm at, architects, agnostic or otherwise, aren't needed at all when it comes to making a spiritual space.

2005.08.11 11:34
the agnostic design of spiritual space
The weirdest thing about all the "spiritual spaces" of my immediate neighborhood is that they are clustered around the intersection of Rising Sun Avenue and Tabor Road, which actually may have been a Lenni-Lenape (summer) solstice celebration site. (Hence my living in what used to be an ancient burial site.)
The Lenni-Lenape trail that is now Rising Sun Avenue culminated at the high-point where Tabor Road crosses Rising Sun Avenue. Tabor Road dates back to 1776, albeit still under George III. Its purpose was to give the Church of England faithful living in Germantown access to Trinity Episcopal Church (many miles east) on Oxford Avenue (which was another Native American trail).

2005.11.13 13:47
Amman [Jordan] is the site of the biblical Rabbath Ammon, though apart from some tombs excavated in the vicinity there are practically no remains of the ancient town. It was at the gate of Rabbath Ammon that Uriah the Hittite was placed in the forefront of the battle by order of David to meet his death. In Hellenistic times Ptolemy Philadelpus (283-246 B.C.) captured and rebuilt the city, renaming it Philadelphia, by which name it was known in Roman and Byzantine times. It was one of the cities of the Decopolis.
Encyclopedia Britannica

Philadelphia Museum of Art



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