April 5, 2016 |
SIXTEEN YEARS AGO, I was a design intern climbing three stories of interior scaffolding in Philadelphia to get a closer look at a project I was working on, the restoration of an original Frank Furness building constructed in 1876 for the nation's centennial. Each year the value of that experience grows stronger for me, as I see more historic buildings destroyed for the sake of development. One particular visit stands out in my memory. A crew of restorative painters was on site that day working on the elaborate Furness ceiling we found hiding behind a mid-century renovation.
November 17, 2013 |
David Lynch, best known for his often-enigmatic and quirky films - think Eraserhead (1977), Blue Velvet (1986), and Inland Empire (2006) - and television shows ( Twin Peaks ), launched his career as a visual artist in the late 1960s at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Though he was not from Philadelphia, Lynch fell in love with the city during his years here as a student artist. "There was violence and hate and filth," he once said. "But the biggest influence in my whole life was that city.
March 19, 2013 |
Not so long ago, Harry Philbrick was climbing the grand staircase at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts when he looked up and noticed senior curator Robert Cozzolino toiling away on his computer in a small suite of offices off the broad first landing. "To tell you the truth, that was what gave me the idea," Philbrick, museum director, said the other day. "I thought, 'Why do we have our curators on display?' " No more. Curators have vacated the old three-room suite in the Frank Furness-designed National Historic Landmark building at Broad and Cherry Streets.
December 14, 2012 |
ONCE DISMISSED FOR his eccentric designs, Philadelphia architect Frank Furness has been celebrated around the city this year to mark the 100-year anniversary of his death. Furness created some of Philadelphia's most iconic buildings, including the Fisher Fine Art Library at the University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts on Broad Street, which is hosting a retrospective about him through Dec. 30. The centennial celebration series is called "Revolutionary Philly: Making Buildings Out of his Head," referencing a comment his contemporary, architect Louis Sullivan, made about Furness - that his designs seemed to spring straight from his imagination, not the architectural trends or conventions of the time.
September 15, 2012 |
Philadelphia architect Frank Furness died in 1912, broken and out of fashion, and things only went downhill from there. His hometown soon came to revile his work. By the time historians and architects began to rediscover his genius in the 1960s, many of his finest buildings were already reduced to dust. The long climb back to a place of honor will culminate today when his admirers dedicate a historic marker in front of the house where he was born, at 1426 Pine St. The event, which kicks off celebrations for the centenary of his death, promises to be an unusually festive one. Furness, like his buildings, has a reputation as a brooding figure, a Dark Knight of architecture.
July 27, 2007 |
Bob and Aggie Kennedy traded their 1,500-square-foot rowhouse at bustling Third and Bainbridge Streets for a rambling 1851 Victorian in tranquil Riverton. "We wanted something a little bigger," Bob Kennedy says as he studies the house from the sidewalk on a hot July morning. (Actually, it's about four times larger than the Philadelphia abode the couple left more than eight years ago.) "We wanted a Victorian with a garage, and a nice, big kitchen, and air conditioning - you know, something that was finished," says Bob, a consulting engineer.
August 26, 2005 |
In just a decade or so, two commercial towers on Cherry Street have evolved into a miniature fine-arts version of Jewelers' Row, a community of about 40 artists, galleries, co-ops, and related merchants. Anchoring the community a half-block west, on the other side of Broad Street, is the past: the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and its landmark Victorian Gothic home, designed by Frank Furness and George W. Hewitt. Yet across 13th Street to the east is the encroaching future: the stylish, modern Convention Center, whose expansion to Broad in 2008 seals the fate of the 104-year-old Gilbert Building and the galleries and studios inside.
April 10, 2005 |
Tucked away off busy Ardmore Avenue is St. Mary's Episcopal Church, a quiet, small, stone church with hidden treasures. The church, built in 1895, was designed by noted Philadelphia architect Frank Furness, and some of its stained-glass windows, including three depicting the Annunciation, were created by the famed Tiffany studios in 1904. Over the decades, though, cracked drainage pipes in the roof have caused crumbling mortar and rotting wood. Determined to protect its treasures, the congregation has embarked on a $600,000 capital campaign to fix the roof and do other updating.
December 3, 2003 |
To the dismay of some of the city's most prominent architects, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts intends to punch a hole in the entrance-hall floor of its landmark 1876 building to accommodate stairs from a proposed tunnel. The tunnel would connect the academy's Hamilton Building on the northwest corner of Broad and Cherry Streets with the historic Frank Furness-designed building directly across the street. Plans by architect Peter M. Saylor call for a tunnel under Cherry, with stairs coming up beneath the grand entry staircase that takes visitors to the second floor of the Furness building.
August 26, 2001 |
Many people know where East Gowen Avenue is, if you mention the beer distributorship at its intersection with Germantown Avenue. But there is a new way to identify East Gowen, which stretches a half mile between Germantown and Stenton Avenues in East Mount Airy: The prettiest street in Philadelphia. Or so says Victorian Homes magazine, whose editor, Erika Kotite, visited this year and gave it that designation in an article in the magazine's August issue. Alex Humes, who owns a house on the street and is a member of the Victorian Society of America, sent photographs of East Gowen Avenue to Kotite to get her interested.