Crises of Legitimacy

Our department recently held a preservation law and policy symposium, with guests from Georgetown, the National Trust, and various local advocacy groups. Check out PlanPhilly’s summary with Ashley Hahn’s five takeaways.


Solitary Rowhouses

In one of my electives this semester, John Kromer’s The Politics of Housing and Urban Development, we have been discussing past community development policies, like the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, that have left those homeowners in areas of disinvestment who were unwilling to be bought-out by the city or private developers surrounded by vacant lots. This timely article in The Atlantic Cities features a photographer who has focused on such properties in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Camden. How beautiful and tragic.

Plight of Churches

A different class last semester focused on the adaptive reuse of vacant or highly deteriorated spaces. This article in Hidden City Philadelphia has great coverage about the work of my fellow classmates on a church at 40th and Sansom St.

This term, a seminar and studio will focus on the 19th Street Baptist Church in South Philadelphia. Additionally, as part of this year’s IDEA Days festival, there will be a one-day workshop and a day of public service seeking the potential of these once sacred places. I will be sure to include an update about these projects at the end of September!

A rendering of the potential iChurch at 40th and Sansom.

Welcome Back!

Classes officially started, and the halls of Meyerson are once again full! But before writing about exciting things to come, I thought I’d take a look back at the final product for the Site Analysis class I mentioned previously. My team recorded the Crescent Iron Works and completed numerous drawings of both the building and, more abstractly, the factory process. Here are some photos I took of the site:






Each year the course focuses on projects of different scales and periods of significance. I look forward to seeing the selections next spring!

Bailout or Recovery?

First, congratulations to everyone accepted yesterday into the program! Jumping a year ahead, be sure to register for Donovan Rypkema‘s course, Preservation Economics, next spring to learn how to win debates against the Ron Swanson’s of the world.

In this week’s Parks and Recreation episode, Leslie Knope advocates for designating the local movie-rental shop in order for it to gain tax credits and enough financial support to remain open. Though she presented a persuasive argument and garnered enough community support to consider the shop culturally valuable, Ron Swanson attacked her plan as a government bailout. Rypkema will arm you with information that would convince such Swanson’s of the tangible and intangible values associated with preservation efforts and how preservation directly benefits downtown economic revitalization.

For now, we look forward to seeing you at the Open House in April!

Photography Friday

In addition to drawing, part of the Recording and Site Analysis class includes photo documentation. Over the last month we have documented buildings all over campus. Here are two of my details of the Fisher Fine Arts Library:

Fisher Lobby Stairscase

Fisher Lobby Staircase

Fisher Lobby

Fisher Lobby

This past week we met with Joe Elliott for a demonstration on rectified photography. Time to go back to Kingsessing!

Class with Joe Elliott

Class with Joe Elliott