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  #281  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2009, 9:41 PM
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Actually, the vast majority of films that are filmed here also take place here, big budget and small budget. Hell, there's even some episodes of the soap opera "As the World Turns" airing this week that were shot and take place here. The fact that some films are shot here, even if they don't take place here, shows how big the film industry has become here. Films are shot here even though they don't have to be, like in LA and NYC and Canada.

Back to the Barnes Foundation, the groundbreaking for the museum is scheduled for Nov. 13.
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  #282  
Old Posted Nov 11, 2009, 8:31 PM
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They're not even freaking approved yet!
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  #283  
Old Posted Nov 13, 2009, 9:32 AM
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November 13, 2009 10:00am
Barnes on the Parkway Groundbreaking
Ben Franklin Parkway at 20th Street
Rain or shine
RSVP and inquiries: apoplawski@barnesfoundation.org 215.640.0171 x17

www.barnesfoundation.org
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  #284  
Old Posted Nov 15, 2009, 6:25 PM
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  #285  
Old Posted Nov 16, 2009, 12:19 PM
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Even if they do add a green roof later, that's no guarantee people will be allowed to use it. But still, greening the roof of the Convention Center would yield a humongous swath of green in Center City.
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  #286  
Old Posted Nov 16, 2009, 8:27 PM
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she likes it.

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20...that_good.html

New Barnes design is ...that good

By Inga Saffron

Inquirer Architecture Critic
As that most eccentric of art museums, the Barnes Foundation, prepares to move its peerless collection of Impressionist art from the cozy comfort of suburban Merion to the big city, there are two essential questions worth asking about the plan for its future home on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway: What's lost? What's gained?

The architectural design that the Barnes will submit today for the Philadelphia Art Commission's conceptual approval can't be evaluated on the usual terms because it is so much more than the latest contender for the title of the world's most glamorous art palace. The architecture also must succeed as an exoneration of the foundation's alleged crimes against the memory of its founder, the mercurial, vengeful Albert C. Barnes.

What's astonishing is just how far the design by New York's Tod Williams and Billie Tsien goes toward fulfilling that mission impossible. Even critics who feel the Barnes is wrenching the collection from its historic womb will have to work to find reasons to hate this building. The architecture is that good.

That doesn't mean that something ineffable won't be lost by relocating Barnes' trove of Matisses and Cezannes to a more institutional building in an urban setting. By today's museum standards, the cluttered, perennially shabby, cafe-less Merion galleries have a funky, eccentric charm, and there is too little eccentricity in our modern world.

So, sadly, yes, the weirdness will be lost when the Barnes occupies its parkway building in 2012. What has happened to the Barnes is a tragedy, and as with all tragedies, many deserve blame: the neighbors, Lower Merion Township, Lincoln University, the Barnes' management under Richard Glanton. Together this unlikely cabal drove the Barnes into insolvency, necessitating a rescue from Philadelphia's philanthropists.

Is it any wonder that, when those donors agreed to bail out the Barnes, for the better part of $200 million, they demanded to call the shots?

Shipping the entire collection to Philadelphia wasn't the only way to save the Barnes. But it was the way chosen by the people paying the freight. The public pay-off is that four times as many people - some 250,000 visitors a year are projected - will see the art because the gallery's hours will no longer be restricted.

To their credit, the donors - the Pew, Annenberg and Lenfest foundations - recognize that the Barnes is greater than the sum of its paintings. The collection derives its power from the unusual, some might say nutty, system that Barnes devised for hanging paintings in the '20s. That arrangement will be replicated exactly in the Philadelphia galleries, with the notable exception of Matisse's "Joy of Life," which will be hung in its own alcove.

After the foundation won permission in 2004 to break Barnes' will, some voices suggested that the foundation should recreate Paul Phillipe Cret's neo-classical gallery in Philadelphia. At the time, the proposal seemed naive.

Yet, that is exactly what Williams and Tsien have done, with a subtle modernist twist. Formally, the building can be seen as three planes, sliding against one another, in an eternal quest for architectural nirvana.

Rather than embalm the replicated Merion building in the center of a larger structure, the architects place the long container front and center, facing the parkway as a free-standing structure. They abstract and flatten Cret's Beaux-Art facade, which will be clad in a Negev limestone called Ramon Gray Gold, arranged in an asymmetrical pattern inspired by African Kente cloth.

The side facing the parkway, however, isn't the Merion front; it's the back wall, with the gorgeous, now abstracted, French windows opening onto a lawn. Set 100 feet from the sidewalk, and cocooned by greenery, the Barnes will again be a gallery in a garden, albeit one that sits on 4.5 acres instead of 12.

What? How dare the architects turn the Barnes' back to Philly's great cultural alle?

Visitors will have to wend their way through the gardens, designed by Philadelphia's Laurie C. Olin, to enter through a second, L-shaped structure that houses the museum extras the Barnes has always craved: special exhibition galleries, offices, a conservation laboratory, cafe.

My heart sank when I first heard of this back-door scheme, which seems reminiscent of the National Jewish Museum's refusal to look Independence Mall in the eye. But I realized that it follows a disciplined logic.

By requiring a long processional walk through the gardens, the architects position visitors so that the first thing they see as they walk through the main portal is the front of the Merion galleries, also abstracted from Cret’s original.

After purchasing a ticket, they will pass through an atrium, roofed with an elongated lantern. They proceed to an entrance that corresponds exactly to the one in Merion, setting them up for an identical gallery experience. The parkway's 75-foot London Plane trees will screen at least some urban cacophony.

What makes the design so intelligent is that every architectural move serves multiple purposes. The creation of a separate container for the Merion galleries preserves the Barnes' integrity. It enables natural light to filter into the galleries through the similarly placed clerestory windows.

Meanwhile, keeping the new functions in the L-shaped pavilion prevents the Barnes experience from being diluted. The architects drive home the separation symbolically by placing a four-foot glass slot where the two structures meet. They were so concerned about turning the Barnes into a typical museum, they hid the bookstore in the basement and the cafe behind the ticket counter.

The building's organization has a rigorous clarity, but the rich, artisanal texturing of the facade should raise the Barnes to a quality rarely seen in Philadelphia. The limestone panels will be laid over a stainless steel undershirt, so the surface sparkles. Vertical fins will add dimension and shadow. The reference to the Kente cloth, incidentally, evokes the influence of African art on modernist painters, and Barnes' own love of African sculpture.

If the design were just a modern version of a classical building, it would be ho-hum indeed. But the designers, assisted by project architect Philip Ryan, sabotage their exercise in classicism with the rooftop lantern, which shoots 50 feet beyond the plane of the Merion gallery, towards the adjacent Rodin Museum.

This oversized diving board turns the Barnes into an asymmetrical building, salvaging the architects' modernist cred. It will be a parkway landmark at night and a thrilling hidden garden by day.

The diving board symbolically reaches out towards Cret's Rodin, the parkway, infinity, and the gorilla on the parkway, the art museum. In much the same way, the architects' other Philadelphia building, Penn's Skirkanich Hall, insouciantly breaks through the building plane on 33rd Street, to point its Ivy Tower occupants toward the real life of Center City.

Still, we can't help returning to the back-door issue. The architects placed an enchanting outdoor cafe along Pennsylvania Avenue, as well as a landscaped, 80-car parking lot. Another reason for the garden walk to the back entrance is that the architects feel the Merion experience is too "compressed." The journey allows visitors time to prepare themselves for one of the most intense art experiences of their lives.

The new pavilion acts as a giant vestibule. The architects have also played tricks with their pledge to replicate the gallery sequencing with two insertions: A tier of classrooms on the west side, and a three-story terrarium on the east.

What makes aesthetic sense doesn't always make urban sense. The fundamental rationale for moving the Barnes to the parkway is to create visible activity in the empty zones between cultural activities.

Olin has designed a lovely entry plaza at 20th Street, featuring a fountain decorated with water lilies. But no matter how perfect the execution, a plaza cannot provide the eyes-on-the-street of a cafe.

No doubt, some will look at the design's rectilinear composition and decry the arrival of another quiet Philadelphia building. They will fail to understand that this design is more than surface deep, that it must be studied in the same formal way that Albert C. Barnes insisted on for paintings and sculpture.

It is an ode to Philadelphia's 20th Century architectural triumverate: Cret, Kahn and Venturi. It aspires to Kahn's transcendent light, Venturi's flatness and Cret's mediation between classicism and modernism. If Philadelphia is lucky, the design could give Philadelphia a museum as enduring as the ons those three created.
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  #287  
Old Posted Nov 20, 2009, 10:26 PM
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In the future I would like to see them sell some of the air rights over this big roof and build skyscrapers!
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  #288  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2009, 1:47 AM
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In the future I would like to see them sell some of the air rights over this big roof and build skyscrapers!
Yes, that'd have been smart. Alot of well placed land will soon be tucked away under the biggest roof on the East Coast. A big, white, glaring, useless roof.
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  #289  
Old Posted Nov 27, 2009, 3:10 PM
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Trees to be Cut Down to Make Way for Barnes Museum
Posted: Friday, 27 November 2009 7:05AM

by KYW's Steve Tawa

Some of those enormous, mature "London plane" trees that are at the edge of the Ben Franklin Parkway, where the new Barnes museum is being located, will come down, beginning on Monday.

Link
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  #290  
Old Posted Dec 1, 2009, 3:14 PM
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skyskrapers

Even if they wanted to build towers in the vacinity they would have to deal with the unholy wrath of chinatown. Chinatown has proven time and time again to be a thorn in the side of developers. Even though most of the time they don't win, al la vine street expressway, convention center. They still prove to have some swagger. I guess the developments i suggested are government based though.

If there is any tall development in the area which may increase rent prices don't be shocked when there is a chinatown protest. Look at what they are trying to do to the few people trying to create a High Line remake at the Reading Viaduct.
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  #291  
Old Posted Dec 1, 2009, 5:03 PM
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Even if they wanted to build towers in the vacinity they would have to deal with the unholy wrath of chinatown. Chinatown has proven time and time again to be a thorn in the side of developers. Even though most of the time they don't win, al la vine street expressway, convention center. They still prove to have some swagger. I guess the developments i suggested are government based though.

If there is any tall development in the area which may increase rent prices don't be shocked when there is a chinatown protest. Look at what they are trying to do to the few people trying to create a High Line remake at the Reading Viaduct.
There are plenty of vacant lots in Chinatown I don't think most residents would be opposed to developing as apartments, condos, or offices. The Pearl was developed without opposition. In fact, the Chinatown residents opposing the preservation of the Reading Viaduct actually want to demolish it in order to develop the real estate. What Chinatown residents are opposed to is sprawling development catering to non-residents which have in the past really taken a bite out of Chinatown's urban fabric. Market East Station and 676 required the demolition of a number of adjacent properties leaving 9th Street and Vine Street lined with surface parking lots. And the Convention Center - generating a need for parking from conventioneers used to the conveniences of the suburbs and beyond - created a gaping hole of uninspired parking lots north of Race Street.

The problem with the type of development attracted by things like Convention Centers, is that they don't cater to a single local, or attract a single local business, therefore no one involved really cares what it looks like.
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  #292  
Old Posted Dec 1, 2009, 7:30 PM
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The problem with the type of development attracted by things like Convention Centers, is that they don't cater to a single local, or attract a single local business, therefore no one involved really cares what it looks like.
I think you are right about the lack of local connection with the Conv. Ctr. By definition, it is the 'Pennsylvania' Convention Center. It is geared toward state level economic activity first, and just happens to be located in the heart of a dense, close-knit, walkable old city. I guess the city realizes net economic gain from it on the whole. But a gagantuan facility like that is going to cause some collateral damage to the immediate surrounding neighborhoods. Look at some of the classic vintage old buildings torn down to make way for that airport hanger of a structure. It isn't even 'green' by design. It's basically just the biggest building in the city.
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  #293  
Old Posted Dec 1, 2009, 9:48 PM
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I think you are right about the lack of local connection with the Conv. Ctr. By definition, it is the 'Pennsylvania' Convention Center. It is geared toward state level economic activity first, and just happens to be located in the heart of a dense, close-knit, walkable old city. I guess the city realizes net economic gain from it on the whole. But a gagantuan facility like that is going to cause some collateral damage to the immediate surrounding neighborhoods. Look at some of the classic vintage old buildings torn down to make way for that airport hanger of a structure. It isn't even 'green' by design. It's basically just the biggest building in the city.
Not to mention the collateral damage already caused during the first phase of construction in the 80's and 90's. Granted the neighborhood was pretty undesirable back then, but there were some architectural gems on 12th street that very few people even have pictures of. It's hard to imagine what the Reading Terminal area might look like today if its buildings had been allowed to enjoy the same real estate boom Old City saw in the 90's and 00's, and closer to so much more transportation.

I'm not opposed to the convention center, but I can sympathize with Chinatown's concern over what kind of growth this expansion will encourage, particularly considering what similar developments in the same neighborhood have brought with them in the past two decades. I think the city has to be a lot smarter this time about what kind of development it encourages, and be mindful of allowing any more of the kind of parasitic surface parking lots that tend to eat up adjacent properties - particularly mine.

Unfortunately I don't think the city has even considered these factors, which is evident in a design that completely caters to the Arch and Broad street audiences, leaving Race Street with three blocks of monotonous, one story garage space.
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  #294  
Old Posted Dec 1, 2009, 11:28 PM
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It's also a huge, huge bet on successful, continuous convention bookings in the future. Is there a hedge for the down cycles, the recessions, soaring transportation costs, business travel cutbacks, etc etc ? I mean, the bigger the bet, the bigger the potential for gains, but also the potential for enormous losses. Also, it's not unique as an economic model. They're everywhere. The unique attribute is that it's located in a terrific, historic ,walkable city with lots of good restaurants and bars. But tearing down the very things that are unique don't enhance the center.
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  #295  
Old Posted Dec 7, 2009, 5:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Swinefeld View Post
Trees to be Cut Down to Make Way for Barnes Museum
Posted: Friday, 27 November 2009 7:05AM

by KYW's Steve Tawa

Some of those enormous, mature "London plane" trees that are at the edge of the Ben Franklin Parkway, where the new Barnes museum is being located, will come down, beginning on Monday.

Link
Does anyone have pictures of this landscape transformation? I'm curious to see how they did it.
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  #296  
Old Posted Dec 7, 2009, 5:16 AM
Urban Jungle Urban Jungle is offline
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Originally Posted by philatonian View Post
There are plenty of vacant lots in Chinatown I don't think most residents would be opposed to developing as apartments, condos, or offices. The Pearl was developed without opposition. In fact, the Chinatown residents opposing the preservation of the Reading Viaduct actually want to demolish it in order to develop the real estate. What Chinatown residents are opposed to is sprawling development catering to non-residents which have in the past really taken a bite out of Chinatown's urban fabric. Market East Station and 676 required the demolition of a number of adjacent properties leaving 9th Street and Vine Street lined with surface parking lots. And the Convention Center - generating a need for parking from conventioneers used to the conveniences of the suburbs and beyond - created a gaping hole of uninspired parking lots north of Race Street.

The problem with the type of development attracted by things like Convention Centers, is that they don't cater to a single local, or attract a single local business, therefore no one involved really cares what it looks like.
There is alot of development of structures that are not neighborhood based but what kind of development is chinatown exactly looking for? High end hotels/restaurants/bars? Maybe the casino would of brought some light to the neighborhood. The fact of the matter is they're too close to center city and expensive real estate to maintain a low income neighborhood, and thats what they are and are trying to maintain, have been for years.

The neighborhood associations have made it quite clear they don't want any gentrification taking place, example reading viaduct/example only section to exclude itself from the center city district. Yes they want it torn down for development. Development of low income(or affordable) housing for new immigrants. This is what chinatown has been about for generations, they don't want to be forced out. They want their own neighborhood with their own culture (which is respectable) just visit some of the bazaars...is this really retail, of course not. It literally reminds me of a chinese village. I gurantee if the viaduct is torn down due to people saying they want developed land, and indeed it is, that land sits there undeveloped for years. Chinatown is too close to center city to prevent its gentrification, thats why you are seeing these condos put in as you mentioned. Also notice that those condos are mostly located adjacent to Old City.

Here this should help get you started...A little quick over states how the projects that you discussed (and I agree) do no necessarily benefit chinatown but force them to move north away from rapidly growing center city and forcing real estate prices up.

"This background explains some of the controversy over the Reading Viaduct issue. Some in the Chinatown community see the land under the viaduct as dark, dirty and unsafe. At the same time, some see it as prime real estate for the public sector to gain control, demolish the viaduct, and redevelop the land as much needed affordable housing. Additionally, Chinatown has seen rapidly rising residential prices, creating a stated need for affordable housing in the community so that it can continue to serve as an ethnic and cultural gateway."

(Personally I think thats bullcrap, its not going to get developed, they just don't want an expensive looking park sitting next to a lower class neighborhood thats already in the process of gentrification) Chinatown residents are not stupid, that is a sure thing.

http://urbandirection.blogspot.com/2...future-of.html

Last edited by Urban Jungle; Dec 7, 2009 at 6:42 PM.
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  #297  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2009, 7:33 PM
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Rent Control

I know someone mentioned a thing or two about rent control but it really isn't that bad idea. The thing is neighborhoods with higher renters tend to be less valued over homeowners. Homeowners show stability in a neighborhood and promote new business to move in to meet their market. Renters come and go from all types of areas, I know this because I am a renter and I've lived in 3 different locations since I've moved to philadelphia.
High rents in are in higher class neighborhoods, normally apartments of higher stature are located on major through ways like on top of walnut street retails and restaurants. At least on East Walnut. Of course though there will be exceptions to what I am saying.

Anyway back to the rent control, In NY rent control in manhattan actually makes it affordable to young professionals to live in the city, a family member of mine being one of them. Its so damn expensive that even the rent controlled properties are expensive. I don't philadelphia is near that but it has proven to be somewhat successful in certain neighborhoods. Maybe it could be at helping poor residents in chinatown. Because fact of the matter is its location is too close to center city to prevent its rising real estate prices. Its going to be moved if it doesn't start attracting wealthier individuals that will maintain its culture.
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  #298  
Old Posted Dec 11, 2009, 3:09 AM
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Some progress photos from today. Not much to see but it's moving along.





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  #299  
Old Posted Dec 15, 2009, 1:21 AM
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Arch St update

The view from Arch Street, taken this afternoon.

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  #300  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2009, 3:02 AM
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Good to see that it's coming together.
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