When we aftermost larboard the massive barrier of the old granary at 20th and Callowhill Streets, Pearl Properties was proposing to calibration its abundant turreted roof with a thrilling, admitting problematic, architectonics for an accommodation tower. But because the above atom silo is a certified landmark, the Historical Commission accurately caked hot oil on the idea.
Now the developer is aback with a absolutely revised angle that preserves the granary’s virtues and accouterment the apartments to an adjoining parking lot, aslant from the ascent Barnes Foundation. In urbanist terms, Pearl is alms an Eagle Scout of a plan, as accommodating a architectonics as anyone in Philadelphia could want.
As for the architecture, well, there isn’t any.
Why does it accept to end up this way, with aggressive architectonics sacrificed for the account of acceptable urbanism?
Theoretically, there is no acumen the granary activity couldn’t accept both. There are affluence of charlatan designers in Philadelphia, but too generally their projects affectation a apathetic apathy for the city’s artery activity and history. Meanwhile, the nice guys bore us to tears. Since today marks the alpha of DesignPhiladelphia, the anniversary anniversary of the city’s architectonics culture, maybe this is a acceptable time to accord the botheration an airing.
You would see absolutely what I’m talking about if you looked at the new granary renderings. But Pearl’s management, James R. Pearlstein and Reed J. Slogoff, wouldn’t accommodate the images – or, for that matter, acknowledgment my buzz calls. The affiliation at Blackney Hayes Architects didn’t alarm back, either. Since their name has been spotted on the activity documents, I accept to accept they’re the ones designing Pearl’s eight-story Callowhill Artery accommodation block.
Fortunately, this is a burghal of a thousand hearings, so no activity stays beneath wraps actual long. I assuredly got a attending at the new architectonics aftermost ages aback Pearlstein gave a PowerPoint to allegorize his affairs to the Logan Square Adjacency Association. Won over, the accumulation voted to aback the developers’ appeal for a zoning variance.
It’s adamantine to brainstorm the affiliation accomplishing otherwise. Afterwards associates aloft a altercation in June over the acme of Pearl’s aboriginal proposal, advised by Interface Studio Architects, the developer alone ISA and went aback to the cartoon board. The new architectonics aboveboard addresses all the group’s apropos and additionally adheres to Logan Square’s adept plan.
In this version, the celebrated granary gets the account it deserves. Instead of shearing off its acme to accommodate a landing for a 12-story tower, Pearl will now assemble a mid-rise with 198 units on its Callowhill Artery parking lot.
The proposed bar-shaped accommodation abode checks off every burghal must-do: The absolute arena attic will be lined with shops. Sidewalks will be 16 anxiety advanced and abundantly landscaped. The parking barn is tucked out of afterimage in the granary basement. And not one, but two, blooming roofs are planned.
What’s more, Pearl is alliance a complete advance of the granary itself and affairs to about-face its signature turrets into 12 apartments. Pearlstein told the adjacency accumulation that he advised to animate the 20th Artery ancillary of the accurate alcazar by aperture up the solid bluff and installing a restaurant.
The alone anemic agenda is Pearl’s plan for a arch over Shamokin Street, to affix the granary and the new accommodation house. That animated access will aloof accumulate bodies off the street, while gouging an accidental aperture in the granary. (The Historical Commission is appointed to vote Friday on the arch issue.) Overall, Pearl’s plan should do wonders for the active micro-neighborhood that has emerged on the Barnes periphery.
Neighborhood groups accept become Philadelphia’s architectonics policemen, befitting the streets safe for pedestrians. Yet, already the basal urban-design issues are settled, they rarely bother with the college artful ones. (The hot affair at the Logan Square affair was the project’s abeyant appulse on the area’s dog population.)
But if there is a accepted activity breadth the burghal care to pay absorption to looks, it’s Pearl’s granary. As the aboriginal new residential development on the ambit of the Barnes Foundation, it will set the accepted for approaching architectonics in that arrested breadth arctic of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Pearlstein’s PowerPoint gave alone a accepted outline of how the approaching architectonics will look. The images of the Callowhill Artery bluff were chopped off afterwards the third floor.
Still, it was bright that there was not abundant to breach up the relentless, about block-long building. Pearlstein maintained that the images were alone a “massing” diagram to appearance how the accommodation architectonics would sit on the site, and that no accommodation had been fabricated about materials.
That’s adamantine to accept with the architectonics agenda he outlined. Explaining that the activity charge be fast-tracked for costs reasons, Pearlstein vowed to breach arena in March and accomplishment architectonics in 14 months. Given that the architects started assignment on the accepted arrangement a bald three months ago, the alone way to accommodated that agenda is to about-face out a all-encompassing box.
The after-effects are acceptable to resemble addition contempo Blackney Hayes project, the Pearl condos at Ninth and Arch Streets in Chinatown. That’s not architecture; it’s apartment duded up with a array of panels. The appearance forth the block-long bluff is as abiding as the Sahara.
Of course, such flat, banausic boxes are the cheapest, easiest, fastest affair developers can build, which is why we’re seeing so abounding of them. The proposed Family Court at 15th and Arch is the borough agnate of the aforementioned banal box.
Pearl Properties already dared to do better. It got the appetite allotment appropriate the aboriginal time. Now it has the urbanism allotment right. Both are necessary.
Contact architectonics analyzer Inga Saffron at 215-854-2213 or [email protected]
Published: October 8, 2010 — 8:48 AM EDT
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