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OLIN's work on Lenfest Plaza creates more than a campus for PAFA

The Lenfest Plaza designed by David A. Rubin of local firm OLIN created a true campus for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, reports Metropolis Magazine and Dexigner:

(from Dexigner)
In creating an institutional plaza for public enjoyment, performance and exhibition within the dense historic and cultural district of Center City Philadelphia, Rubin has designed an environment that many people can now experience: the administration, faculty and students of the Academy; guests of the new restaurant to be situated within the plaza; museum goers and art lovers; Philadelphians, and visitors to the City. In order to accommodate all of these potential visitors within a former narrow streetscape a design that allowed for social gathering but is also reflective of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts' prominence within our nation's art history and the cultural corridor of Museum Mile was required.

Original source; Dexigner
Read the full story in Metropolis Magazine and in Dexigner.

Cipher Prime's Pulse makes list of 2011's top iPad games

Philly based game designer Cipher Prime is cited by Gamezebo as building a reputation as one of the top developers in the world of music games.

The studio previously responsible for Fractal and Auditorium released their first iPad-exclusive project back in May, and much to our delight, it seemed to be the kind of game that could only work on a big touch screen like the iPad’s. Players tapped circles as they came into contact with a “pulse” from a set of concentric rings – and we found ourselves tapping up a frenzy.

And the music? Wow. If you’re the kind of audiophile who relishes in finding great new tunes, you’ll only last minutes in Pulse before you head to iTunes and by the soundtrack.

Original source: Gamezebo
Read the full story here.

Vacant lots study: Philly green spaces reduce crime rates, stress and cholesterol

A University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine study found that converting vacant lots into small parks or community green spaces can reduce crime in distressed neighborhoods, reports The Atlantic.

Vacant lot greening was associated with significant reductions in gun assaults across all four sections of Philadelphia in the study and with significant reductions in vandalism in one section. Greening was also associated with the reporting of significantly less stress in one of the sections of the city and with more exercise in another. Cholesterol numbers were lower to a statistically significant degree for the greened areas across all four city sections.

Original source: The Atlantic
Read the full story here.

Free Library of Philadelphia among 12 grant winners to establish teen learning labs

The Free Library of Philadelphia and Allentown's DaVinci Discovery Center of Science and Technology are among 12 winners of a combined $1.2 million in grant funding to establish teen learning labs, reports The Digital Shift.

The 12 winners-four museums and eight libraries-selected from a pool of 98 applicants from 32 states, will receive a total of $1.2 million in grants. They include the New York Hall of Science and the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL), which are among a growing number of schools and libraries that are slowly embracing the idea of learning labs and the self-directed style of instruction they add to support the curriculum. The labs will connect teens to mentors and peers, as well as offer them 24/7 access to information through online social networks so they can pursue their interests more deeply There are usually no tests. They’re often after-school. And students are often encouraged to play, in a sense, with the materials and technology around them in an informal way, acting as co-teachers in their own education.

Original source: The Digital Shift
Read the full story here.

Meet the guy whose dream is to have a sheep farm in Philly

Metropolis Magazine tells the story of industrial designer Andrew Dahlgren, his Philadelphia company ADMK and how he is helping revolutionize textile manufacturing and labor.

"Ultimately, what we are talking about is a new way of living," says Dahlgren. Pattern files can be digitally conveyed to satellite knitters in their homes who may, in turn, use the knitting machines to provide for themselves beyond their contracted production.

Dahlgren takes the long view, pointing out that "Stradivarius was still innovating violin making in his 80s, can we as a culture accept, as a way of living, making things?" Dignity, pride, and identity in workmanship seem like quaint yet timeless building blocks for reviving an industry that once boasted some 60,000 employees in Philadelphia and competed globally long before “globalization” was ever coined.

Original source: Metropolis
Read the full story here.

DesignPhiladelphia's Gray Area explores different views on modern preservation

HiddenCity Philadelphia takes a look at DesignPhiladelphia's Gray Area symposium, led by Flying Kite contributor Elise Vider and intended to explode the conversation around historic preservation in the 21st century in Greater Philadelphia and beyond.

True to the event’s goals, the panel discussion itself resulted in a thoroughly open conversation where differences of opinion were aired in a productive fashion. Moderated by Mark Alan Hughes, a distinguished senior fellow at Penn’s School of Design and founding director of Philadelphia’s Greenworks, the panel consisted of Lloyd Alter, the Toronto-based editor of Architecture and Design for TREEHUGGER.COM; Randall Mason, chair of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the Penn School of Design; Susan Szenasy, editor-in-chief of New York-based Metropolis magazine; and Tod Williams of Billie Tsien Architects in New York, designers of the Barnes Foundation.

A proposal for the Free Library on Ben Franklin Parkway was a favorite amongst panelists. Of the three categories that organize the catalogue -- shells, platforms, and voids -- the library proposal is considered a "platform" because it proffers "less polite" interventions into the extant structure. This proposal is one of the more provocative of the provocations, testing the flexibility of the gray area by radically juxtaposing the future with the past.

Original source: HiddenCity Philadelphia
Read the full story here

Franklin Institute's largest gift, $10M, pulls it within striking distance of expansion goal

The Franklin Institute has received the largest gift in its 187 year history, according to Philanthropy Today.

Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute has received the largest pledge in its history, $10-million from the businessman Nicholas Karabots, The Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

The donation puts the science center within $6-million of its $64.7-million campaign goal to fund an addition and other upgrades.

The new wing will be named for Mr. Karabots and his wife, Athena, and house exhibits on the brain and neuroscience as well as conference and classroom facilities.

Mr. Karabots, a South Bronx native who made a fortune in printing supplies and property development, said he was inspired to make the gift when he visited the institute "and saw what they were doing with all these kids. I went up to the observatory and there were four inner-city kids who were spending a year learning astronomy. I was impressed."

Source: Philanthropy Today
Read the full story here.

'Simple' app takes top prize at SEPTA hackathon

An application called "Simple SEPTA" was the top prize winner among a dozen projects at the SEPTA Hackathon, reports Technically Philly.

All told, more than 30 participants took place on at least eight teams, though other side projects and deviations were shared as is often the case. At least six officials from the SEPTA emerging technologies team were on hand throughout the two-day event. In addition to a half dozen small projects to make SEPTA more rider friendly, the transit agency announced it had opened up a dozen new data sources, as documented on a SEPTA URL including the word ‘hackathon,’ an innovation itself.

“I have never seen a city agency be this supportive and this present at a hackathon,” said Mark Headd, the Voxeo Labs developer who organized the event with web development firm Jarvus, which operates Devnuts and Technically Philly recently profiled.

Original source: Technically Philly
Read the full story here.

Mural Arts Month, of course, means rooftop dancing

October is Mural Arts Month, with 31 days of art activities and celebrations, as told by the Los Angeles Times.

Art is in the air in October as Philadelphia celebrates many of its more than 3,500 murals during Mural Arts Month.

What began in 1984 as part of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network has blossomed into the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.  Muralist and founder Jane Golden redirected the energy and creativity of graffiti artists from marring neighborhood walls into murals, and the program now gives birth to about 150 murals a year. 

Highlights of "31 Days, 31 Ways: Art Ignites Change" include mural dedications, outdoor celebrations and free tours.

Source: Los Angeles Times
Read the full story here.

PMN news tablets "performing well within expectations"

Consumers initially seem to be taking to Philadelphia Media Network's $99 bundled tablet and digital subscription offer , according to News & Tech.

Just weeks after Philadelphia Media Network put its faith in an Android tablet device to help it flex its digital marketing muscle, the publisher said the initiative is gaining traction.

"It's performing well within our expectations," Yoni Greenbaum, PMN's vice president and general manager, digital, told News & Tech.

Source: News & Tech
Read the full story here.

Kensington firm restoring 1930s steel house from Connecticut

A steel house built in the 1930s will be transported panel by panel from Connecticut to be restored by Milner + Carr, according to the Associated Press.

Shedding paint flakes the size of dinner plates, the rusty steel house huddled in a corner of Connecticut College's campus appeared for years to be more of an eyesore than a historic treasure.

As one of few 1930s steel houses of its type still standing nationwide, though, the prefabricated cottage holds a pedigree on par with many better-known architectural jewels — and now it's getting its chance to shine again.

A crew of restoration specialists spent much of the past week dismantling the boxy two-bedroom, 800-square-foot structure and meticulously marking each piece to be sent to a Philadelphia conservation firm.

Source: Associated Press
Read the full story here.

Shaping our city: Philly's open spaces becoming a model

Philadelphia's rich landscape heritage makes for a city painted in shades of green, according to The Huffington Post.

The transformation of the urban core, as I've written before, is hot, hot, hot. Currently, there's a great deal of attention focused (justifiably) on the much-talked-about opening of the second phase of the much-talked-about High Line in New York, which has put yet more vim into that city's vigor. But if you want to see some serious va-va-voom, set your sites on Philadelphia (and don't get all snarky quoting W. C. Fields now). Philadelphia's exceptional array of parks and open spaces, and the visionary, entrepreneurial and civic-minded people behind them, is where to really see a city center in high gear (and the BYOB restaurant scene is taste bud nirvana).

For more than three centuries, city planning, landscape architecture and a unique civic ambition that emphasizes horticulture as much as the pedestrian experience in its public spaces and streetscapes, have made Philadelphia a fascinating city. From the five squares that were at the core of William Penn's 1683 plan to Dan Kiley's mid-20th-century design for Independence Mall, which connected Franklin Square to the north and Washington Square to the south, the city has a landscape heritage that few others can boast.

Source: The Huffington Post
Read the full story here.

Claes Oldenburg paints Philly red

Art in America is enamored with Philadelphia's art scene and the latest Claes Oldenburg public sculpture, a 51-foot tall, turned over paintbrush recently installed and opening Oct. 1.

This tilted sculpture, with red bristles that will illuminate, is situated between the academy's museum and the art school, "so the idea was to have something that would mediate between the two," Oldenburg told A.i.A.. The form and subject of the work "comes from the museum, which is known for its paintings, and the school, which is one of the few institutions that encourages painting, or the use of a brush. The brush is also very much a sculpture so you have a form that is both sculptural and painterly. It suggests two approaches."

Oldenburg, whose work has grown in scale as his career has progressed, has three prior public sculptures in Philadelphia (his biggest presence in the world). Clothespin, a 45-foot-tall Cor-Ten rendering that alludes to Brancusi's Kiss, was the first, positioned in front of City Hall in 1976.

Original source: Art in America
Read the full story here.

Bucks County Community College converts cars to electric

The Community College Times writes about how the Green Jobs Academy at Bucks County Community College teaches students to convert gas cars to electric.

Imagine a car that can run for 44 miles on $1.20 worth of electricity.

That recently happened at the Green Jobs Academy at Bucks County Community College (Pennsylvania) when 10 participants converted a 1990 Mazda Miata into a fully electric battery-powered car.

Source: Community College Times
Read the full story here.

Marriott Downtown's skybridge also a front door

A skybridge is more than just a skybridge at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, according to USA Today.

But the skybridge that links the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown hotel to the Pennsylvania Convention Center had grown so busy in recent years that it received a major makeover during the hotel's just-completed $60 million overhaul.

"It's become the front door to the hotel," Tim Haggerty, the hotel's director of sales and marketing, told me.

The answer is linked to the fact that the hotel is the only one in downtown Philly that's connected to the convention center - and it's also connected to the train station. (The train station is below the convention center.)

Source: USA Today
Read the full story here.
146 Design Articles | Page: | Show All
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