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The Washington Post visits the Flower Show

The Washington Post's Adrian Higgins visited the Flower Show, PHS's big annual event, and came away impressed. (Check out Flying Kite's pics from the shindig here.)

Historically, big-city flower shows are like big cities themselves: They either change or decline but cannot stay the same. By all appearances, the Philadelphia show is in the midst of healthy change: Attendance climbed from 235,000 in 2010 to 270,000 last year and is on track to exceed 300,000 this year. The number of competitive entries in a feature called the horticultural court — the horticourt — is about 11,000, and the entrants’ enthusiasm has been rewarded with a new $1 million setting for the competitions that includes a fabric roof and new show benches and display backdrops.

Original source: The Washington Post
Read the full story here.

Olney's Bilenky Cycle Works profiled in short film

Bilenky Cycle Works, the legendary Olney custom bike builders headed up by Steve Bilenky (and his beard), is the subject of a wonderful short film by Bicycling magazine, directed by Andrew David Watson.

Long before the resurgence of "handmade everything" Stephen Bilenky started a career as a custom bicycle builder. 30 years later, Stephen is still creating works of art in his gritty north philadelphia workshop.

Original source: Bicycling magazine
Click here to watch the mini-documentary.


Eight-acre park to cover riverfront stretch of I-95?

An intriguing vision of a waterfront park obscuring I-95 has been unveiled, and could mean a major green space achievement for Philadelphia. The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation is currently seeking designers and engineers.

A preliminary rendering of Penn's Landing Park extracted from the Master Plan for the Central Delaware, shows a sloping lawn, roughly the size of Rittenhouse Square, through which people could walk from Front Street down to the water's edge, or where they could linger to watch fireworks or concerts. The park would sit on a structure that expands the existing partial cap of I-95, which covers the highway from Front to Columbus, and from Chestnut  Street just about half way to Walnut Street.

Original source: PlanPhilly
Read the full story here.
 

AIA's Honor Awards showcase sustainable design

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) might not have a specific category in its Honor Awards for sustainability, but the organization's Architect Magazine culled through the awardees to note the greenest efforts of the year. Standouts included the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.

Perhaps it's possible to read the lack of a sustainable design category for the Honor Awards a different way. Because sustainable design is the architectural obligation that Piano describes, then it's a given that sustainability will be a feature of prominent projects—or it should be a given, for architects and clients alike. Arguably, all of the Honor Award designs feature some green features. Nevertheless, sustainability helped some projects win out in their Honor Award categories more than others. So here is a list of the top projects in part because they emphasized sustainability.

Original source: Architect Magazine
Read the complete story here.
 

Wall Street Journal details Toll Brothers' foray into condo market

The Wall Street Journal notes Toll Brothers' increasing stake in the national condo market. The Horsham-based company, known locally for its suburban developments before forays into Naval Square and the Loft District, already has ten condo projects under way in New York City. They are scheduled to announce their first project in the Washington, D.C. area.

"Baby boomers are downsizing and getting tired of mowing the lawn, and many are looking for a place where they don't have to drive for everything," said Christopher Leinberger, a Washington urban land-use strategist and partner in developer Arcadia Land Co. "The home builders in this country have been slow in getting into this market, but once they do, they find that it is a large market with pent-up demand."

Original source: The Wall Street Journal
To read the complete story, click here.
 


PlanPhilly launches new website

PlanPhilly has launched a new website. They hope the fresh, innovative platform will help them better connect to the city's community of planners, designers, developers and residents.

"PlanPhilly gave us a chance to explore the relationships between organizations, issues, projects and people in a way that hasn't been done before," said Tom Boutell, lead developer, P'unk Avenue (punkave.com). "We also enjoyed pursuing responsive design, delivering a great experience across phones, tablets and desktops. Rich content is what we're all about, and finding the right way to showcase the depth and breadth of PlanPhilly's content challenged us in new and intriguing ways. We're also excited about the site's community-powered features, like professional profiles and the ability to submit new organizations for inclusion in the directory."
 
Original source: PlanPhilly
To visit their new site, click here.


Update: New Vision for South Broad announces a decision

As Flying Kite detailed back in late November, Avenue of the Arts, Inc. (AAI) partnered with the Pennsylvania Horicultural Society (PHS) to launch a "New Vision for South Broad Street" competition. The goal was to continue the thoroughfare's original purpose as an arts and entertainment district but with a modern take. Ten architectural and landscape firms submitted ideas, and four were chosen as finalists. Now the list has been narrowed once again.

A judging panel, overseen by Avenue of the Arts, Inc. (AAI) Chairman Dianne Semingson, has chosen Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and Jonathan Alderson Landscape Architects, Inc., to participate in Phase II of the “New Vision for South Broad Street” Request for Proposal (RFP) project. The two teams, selected from four finalists (the other two were LRSLA Studio and Cairone & Kaupp, Inc.) are charged with pushing forward a program to reinvigorate South Broad Street from City Hall to Washington Avenue.

The two firms will present refined proposals in early 2013 and one winner will be selected.

Original Source: PlanPhilly
Read the full story here.

Built to Last: Architect Frank Furness gets his due

A century after his death, Philadelphia's Frank Furness is remembered in a series of events, including this exhibition at The Athenaeum. The architect continues to earn praise for his ambitious, idiosyncratic style.

By the time he died in 1912, at age 72, structural exhibitionism was passé, even vulgar, and Furness was something of a laughingstock. Only in the 1960s was he rediscovered by young architects disgruntled with modernism, for whom he was a guilty pleasure, a kind of joyous architectural Falstaff to fling against the solemnity of the Bauhaus. Robert Venturi did much to make Furness respectable again, praising the "array of violent forces within a rigid frame" that characterized his work.

Face & Form: The Art and Caricature of Frank Furness runs Nov. 30 through Jan. 11 at The Athenaeum of Philadelphia. Click here for details and a complete calendar of Furness 2012 events.

Original source: The Wall Street Journal
Read the full story here.

Young Visionaries: United By Blue's organic apparel and accessories

Entrepeneur's Young Visionaries series pays a visit to Philadelphia's United By Blue, an organic apparel and accessories company with a heavy social mission.
 
His vision provides for the removal of one pound of garbage from the nation's waterways through the sale of each item on the site. Each cleanup involves thousands of volunteers and has resulted in the removal of many thousands of pounds of garbage.
 
Original source: Entrepreneur
Read the full story here.
 

Barnes becomes first major art institution to go LEED-Platinum

The New York Times writes about the Barnes Foundation's recent LEED-Platinum rating, making it the first institution of its kind to earn such a designation.
 
“From diverting 95 percent of construction waste from landfills as it redeveloped this brownfield site to a building with anticipated energy savings of 44 percent over a traditionally designed equivalent, it’s a marquee project not only for Philadelphia but the country,” the council’s president and chief executive, Rick Fedrizzi, said.
 
Original source: The New York Times
Read the full story here.
 

Historic jab: Joe Frazier's gym, legacy to be honored in Philly

Late heavyweight great Joe Frazier is getting some posthumous love in his adopted hometown of Philadelphia, reports The New York Times.
 
Mr. Frazier’s relationship with the city was complicated. People flocked to him for autographs, especially in North Philadelphia, a neighborhood of boarded-up row houses, drug markets and littered streets. But even there, he labored in the shadow of his rival Muhammad Ali, who ridiculed him as an “Uncle Tom” and the “Great White Hope.”
 
Original source: The New York Times
Read the full story here.

Embracing Philadelphia's 'front porch' at 30th St. Station

The National Defense Resources Council likes what's happenin gin Philly, citing The Porch, a placemaking creation of the University City District,  as a welcoming entryway to the city.
 
What a great idea.  The space is adjacent to the country’s third busiest train station and within easy walking distance of over 16,000 jobs.  UCD’s executive director, Matt Bergheiser, says that 1,800 pedestrians on average stroll along the sidewalk every hour on weekdays.  With some nine acres of developable land now covered only by surface parking lots, the area also has the potential for further walkable development linking Center City, the station, and University City. 
 
Original source: National Resources Defense Council  blog
Read the full story here.
 

Haas & Hahn's Philly Painting bolstered by Village of Arts & Humanities

The Atlantic Cities catches up with Philly Painting, which we wrote about in May.
 
Urhahn credits El Sawyer at the Village of Arts & Humanities, a community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to neighborhood revitalization through the arts, with orchestrating the duo's introduction to the neighborhood. “We didn’t just show up and start painting. We showed up and started making friends, talked to people, tried to get to know the neighborhood," says Urhahn. "Basically the first half-year we talked to everybody form the police officers to the guys on the corner and everyone in between. Especially the store owners."
 
Original source: The Atlantic Cities
Read the full story here.

Society Hill's Fame House helps DJ Shadow break new ground with BitTorrent

We reported on Philadelphia-based Fame House's groundbreaking work with DJ Shadow in February. Now CEO Mike Feibach is receiving a heap of attention for helping Shadow become the first artist to make money through BitTorrent, reports GigaOm.
 
BitTorrent has been partnering with indie musicians and filmmakers for some time to distribute authorized content bundles through its popular uTorrent client. However, this is the first time that the company has struck a revenue sharing agreement with one of those artists. “It’s a really important moment in the history of content distribution,” said Mason.
 
That sentiment was echoed by Fiebach, who told me that he doesn’t see BitTorrent as a piracy tool. “That’s the wrong way to look at it,” he argued, adding that the technology itself couldn’t be blamed if people use it to pirate content. Instead, it’s a way to get to an audience of millions, he said, adding: “(Shadow) and I just see this as a great opportunity to make history.”
 
Original source: GigaOm
Read the full story here.
 

Philadelphia leaders take to Toronto to share and 'steal'

Greater Philadelphia Economy League Executive Director Steve Wray talkes to Flying Kite sister publication Yonge Street about his organization's Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange, which visits Toronto this week.
 
One the focuses of the Economy League is what it means to be a world-class region and what it would take for Greater Philadelphia to attain status as a world-class region. As we select places to go, we look for regions that are world class or striving to be world class. Clearly Toronto has attained the status in the global community as a city and region on the rise, as a global financial capital and as an international city. We thought there were a lot of lessons we could bring back to Philadelphia from Toronto that would serve us well.
 
Original source: Yonge Street
Read the full story here.
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