October 4, 2015 |
With its 2015 redesign, the Murano, Nissan's midsize crossover, continues a penchant for avant-garde styling that began with the model's birth a dozen years ago. The Murano is easily the most evocative exterior design exercise in its segment. The styling has a very original feel. The sculpting takes delightfully unexpected turns, and usually manages to be cohesive as well as courageous in the process. An exception would be that chrome spear astride the rocker panels. I understand it is intended as a continuation of the chrome strip under the front fascia, but to my mind it just sits there being an essentially isolated non sequitur.
April 22, 2015 |
IF YOU'RE AN EDUCATOR, researcher, parent or institution with a bold plan to transform a Philadelphia public school, today could be your lucky day. The school district announced yesterday that it is seeking applications for a second round of the School Redesign Initiative, with the goal of boosting student achievement at current neighborhood schools. It is also inviting education buffs to propose, design and help run new high schools. The district opened three new high schools in September, while the first four schools chosen for the Redesign Initiative will implement their plans next fall.
January 19, 2015 |
The Dodge Challenger with the 707-horsepower Hellcat engine is what the auto industry calls a halo car. That means it's a sexy siren that draws customers into the showroom - where they usually proceed to buy something cheaper and/or more practical. That "something," in the case of the Challenger, might well be the SXT Plus model, whose $29,995 price tag is half that of the Hellcat. The V-6-powered SXT Plus is machinery for people who want that powerful, muscle-car look it shares with its more powerful V-8 brethren like the Hellcat but don't want the considerable extra expense those models incur.
December 23, 2014 |
THREE YEARS ago, Tilden Middle School was making headlines for all the wrong reasons. As one of more than 50 schools in the Philadelphia School District snared in a cheating scandal, Tilden's scores on state standardized tests were invalidated. Its principal was transferred and later fired. The school was in turmoil. But administrators, faculty and staff at the school, at 66th Street and Elmwood Avenue, in Southwest Philly, again are dreaming big. And they're getting closer to making those dreams reality.
November 14, 2014 |
THE SCHOOL district yesterday announced that four schools were selected to take part in its new School Redesign Initiative, which encourages community members and educators to collaborate to turn around low-performing schools. The schools chosen for the initiative are Tilden Middle School, on Elmwood Avenue near 66th Street in Southwest Philadelphia; Chester A. Arthur Elementary School, on Catharine Street near 20th in Southwest Center City; Laura H. Carnell Elementary School, on Devereaux Avenue near Summerdale in Oxford Circle; and J.S. Jenks Academy for the Arts and Sciences, on Germantown Avenue near Southampton in Chestnut Hill.
November 10, 2014 |
Condo and apartment buildings are getting designed and renovated common spaces, indoor and outdoor, that look and feel more like hotels. It's happening at addresses such as 2116 Chestnut, Park Towne Place, and the Granary. These areas now offer everything from juice bars to tech stations, where residents can recharge themselves and their devices, check e-mail, or print tickets and boarding passes. A building's lobby used to be thought of as a place people circulated through, as opposed to congregating in. "In recent years, residential developers have taken lessons from the hospitality industry and started to rethink how common areas can be utilized to engender a greater sense of community and social interaction," said Neil Rubler, who is redeveloping 251 DeKalb in King of Prussia.
October 6, 2014 |
The Ford Mustang is as American and as mythical as the western movie. It is a ubiquitous resident of our culture. During a half-century of continuous production, Ford has sold us nine million of them. (Mine was a 1973 gold metallic coupe with the 5-liter V-8 and the four-speed manual gearbox.) And those who haven't owned one have seen them countless times on the road and on the screen. (Remember the chase scene in Bullitt when Steve McQueen's Mustang became airborne on the streets of San Francisco?
July 20, 2014 |
Once again, we are reminded that the Korean automaker Hyundai, like its corporate sibling, Kia, is a pretty quick study. A case in point is the redesigned 2015 Genesis, the second coming of its luxury sedan. The first-generation Genesis, which debuted in 2009, offered a lot of features for the buck, and pretty much went downhill from there. The styling lurked somewhere between bland and generic, and the ride and handling were even more forgettable. Enter the renaissance redesign for 2015, an automotive quantum leap.
July 13, 2014 |
Since Toyota's Lexus luxury line debuted 25 years ago, no one has accused the brand of wild and crazy styling. Conservatism has been its designers' North Star, typically resulting in bodywork as forgettable as it is well-crafted. In recent times, the brand's brain trust has apparently come to the conclusion that stylish, distinctive design is part of what makes a luxury car special. As a consequence, it seems to have made a serious effort to put some pizzazz in its styling, to make a Lexus look luxurious.
May 8, 2014 |
IF ALL GOES according to plan during the next few years, Bainbridge Green could blossom into a gem of a gathering spot for the Queen Village community. What's that? You say you've never heard of Bainbridge Green? Then pull up a chair, dear reader. If you've ever embarked on an expletive-filled attempt to find parking near the funky mix of shops and restaurants that inhabit South Street, there's a good chance you've turned down nearby Bainbridge Street, where dozens of parking spots ring a pair of narrow, tree-lined islands between 3rd Street and Passyunk Avenue.