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FALL 2017

EXPERIENCING THE CITY Pedestrian sensations Cyborg connections Sublime transformations


J.E. Berkowitz is a leading architectural glass fabricator, providing high-quality products and expert technical support. Learn more about our products at JEBerkowitz.com.

See the MERGE installation in Lubert Plaza at Thomas Jefferson University. Thank you to our vendors for supporting the Philadelphia University student design competition.

MERGE – A Design/Build installation on Lubert Plaza by students of the Finishing Trades Institute and Jefferson University.

Projects such as MERGE engage the design and construction community with the next generation. Special thanks to the following for their generous support and contributions:

Join us for a MERGE discussion panel and reception Wednesday, October 11 | 5:00 – 7:30 pm Center for Architecture + Design Register online: www.theagi.org info@theagi.org 215.825.1422 |

Beletz Brothers Co. Eureka Metal & Glass Services, Inc. National Glass & Metal Company, Inc. R.A. Kennedy & Sons Synergy Glass & Door Service, LLC


Fall 2017 – IN THIS ISSUE From smell maps to cyborgs to the sublime, this issue considers how we engage with people and places in the urban environment and how we experience both the familiar and the strange in the contemporary city.

FEATURES 10 Sensing the City Walking the psychogeographical contours of urbanity

DEPARTMENTS

14 Cyborg Society Wired and ready – the technological metropolis today

5 EDITOR’S LETTER 6 COMMUNITY 24 BOOK REVIEW 26 EXPRESSION

28 DESIGN PROFILES

18 Post-Industrial Sublime Transcendent transformations of leftover landscapes

CONTEXT is published by

AIA Philadelphia A Chapter of the American Institute of Architects 1218 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 215-569-3186, www.aiaphiladelphia.com. The opinions expressed in this – or the representations made by advertisers, including copyrights and warranties, are not those of the editorial staff, publisher, AIA Philadelphia, or AIA

ON THE COVER "Departures," looking west on Market Street, Philadelphia Photo: David Deifer

CORRECTION

Philadelphia’s Board of Directors. All rights reserved. Reproduction in part or whole without written permission is strictly prohibited. Postmaster: send change of address to AIA Philadelphia, 1218 Arch Street,

The spring 2017 issue of CONTEXT failed to credit photographer Matt Wargo with several images in the Design Profile for TECH Freire Charter School, CICADA Architecture/Planning, Inc. (pgs 26-27) including the large opening image on the left page of the profile.

Philadelphia, PA 19107 Published SEPTEMBER 2017

AIA Philadelphia | context | FALL 2017  3


Context Media Ad.pdf 1 8/18/2017 9:26:36 AM

2017 BOARD OF DIRECTORS Frank Grauman, FAIA, President Karen Blanchard, AIA, President-Elect Troy Hannigan, Assoc. AIA, Treasurer Denise Thompson, AIA, Past President | Secretary Kelly Vresilovic, AIA, LEED AP, Chapter Director Alesa Rubendall, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Chapter Director Catherine (Katie) Broh, AIA, LEED AP, Chapter Director Paul Avazier, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, NCARB, Chapter Director John B. Campbell, AIA, ARIAS, RIBA, LEED AP, Chapter Director Soha St. Juste, AIA, Chapter Director Sarah Soh, AIA, LEED AP, Chapter Director Robert Shuman, AIA, LEED AP, Chapter Director Stephen Kuttner Potts, AIA, Chapter Director Sherman Aronson, AIA, LEED AP, Chapter Director Jeff Pastva, AIA, AIA PA Director Scott Compton, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, PA Director Michael J. Fierle, Assoc. AIA, Associate Director David Golden, Assoc. AIA, Associate Director Tya Winn, Public Member Rebecca Johnson, Executive Director

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CONTEXT EDITORIAL BOARD CO-CHAIRS Harris M. Steinberg, FAIA, Drexel University Yellowhammer State The Grand Canyon State The Golden State The Centennial State

→ The Keystone State

The Constitution State The First State The Sunshine State The Peach State Prairie State From our HQ The Hoosier State in Philadelphia, The Green Mountain State The Peace Garden State O&N’s Professional The Hawkeye State The Land of Enchantment Engineers bring The Bluegrass State The Old Dominion State their Creativity and The Pine Tree State The Old Line State The Bay State Can-Do Approach to The Great Lakes State projects across The North Star State The Show Me State 36 States. The Treasure State The Silver State The Granite State The Garden State The Empire State The Tar Heel State The Buckeye State The Ocean State The Palmetto State The Volunteer State O-N.COM The Lone Star State The Evergreen State The Mountain State

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Todd Woodward, AIA, SMP Architects

BOARD MEMBERS Wolfram Arendt, AIA, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson William W. Braham, Ph.D., FAIA, University of Pennsylvania David Brownlee, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania Jon Coddington, AIA, Drexel University Susan Miller Davis, AIA Sally Harrison, AIA, Temple University Timothy Kerner, AIA, Terra Studio Elizabeth Miller, Community Design Collaborative Stephen P. Mullin, Econsult Corporation Rashida Ng, RA, Temple University Jeff Pastva, AIA, JDavis Architects Richard Roark, ASLA, Olin Rachel Simmons Schade, AIA, Drexel University David Zaiser, AIA, WRA

STAFF Rebecca Johnson, AIA Philadelphia Executive Director Elizabeth Paul, Managing Editor Laurie Churchman, Designlore, Art Director


EDITOR’S LETTER

Strange Relations No matter how much time we spend in Philadelphia, the city can remain

TIMOTHY KERNER, AIA Principal, Terra Studio LLC and CONTEXT Editorial Board

largely unknown. There are far more people than we could hope to meet, more places than we could ever go, and circumstances that just don't make sense. Various degrees of inexplicability exist in all cities, but as Philadelphia, Finding the Hidden City brings to light, our city is a particularly peculiar place. Just scratch the surface and layers of the unusual are exposed. The lure of the unknown draws visitors to the city, but this is more than just a tourist attraction. As the feminist urban theorist, Iris Marion Young, points out in the groundbreaking 1990 book, Justice and the Politics of Difference, strangeness is an essential quality of an inclusive society. Young questions the ideal of community, which emphasizes commonality, transparency and the repression of social differences. In contrast, the city offers an alternative ideal that allows diverse individuals and social groups to dwell in proximity without imposed uniformity. As Young states, city life is "the being together of strangers." The three feature articles in this issue of CONTEXT focus on aspects of the urban condition that connect us with strangeness. Sensing the City explores the sensory stimulations of the urban walk, which can lead us beyond our daily confines and towards

PHOTO: DAVID DEIFER

the meaningfully unfamiliar. The cyborg, with its mix of biological and technological components, is inherently strange, but as Cyborg Society points out, not only does this description apply to the contemporary self; our metropolitan areas are, in fact, immense, interconnected cyborgs. Post-Industrial Sublime revives an historical concept – the awesome, incomprehensible sublime – to examine our associations with Philadelphia's landscapes in transformation. These articles are connected but quite different. And as the city is a contradictory place, these articles are also, to a certain degree, contradictory. The city connects us physically, sensually, and technologically to the familiar and the strange. Too often, we disregard what we don't know, but to fully experience the city is to experience the unfamiliar. If we pay attention to our urban connections, we may find our lives are stranger than we thought and that, surprisingly, would be a step in the right direction. ■ Timothy Kerner is Principal of Terra Studio, LLC and an Adjunct Professor of Architecture at Temple University.

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COMMUNITY AIA Philadelphia

A CENTER FOR ARCHITECTURE EVENT

OCT 4 Hello Friends and Colleagues: If you have been reading my letters over the past year, then you know that AIA Philadelphia is going through a strategic planning process. We are making significant progress on engaging our members through meetings, surveys and a Town Hall Series, but we are also focusing on how AIA Philadelphia can strengthen our relationships with our local college and universities and how we can help recent graduates transition into practice. Educating future architects and preparing them for practice is a daunting task, especially with the increasing complexity of the profession. However, it is a priority to AIA to attract, retain and support young architects on their path to licensure, and we cannot do that without strengthening our relationships with our local colleges and universities. Throughout our meetings and discussions over the next year, we will be brainstorming about ways that we can support the needs of both our architectural firms and our academic partners. This year during DesignPhiladelphia, I encourage everyone to learn about the partnership between Jefferson Architecture Program, Finishing Trades Institute, and the Architectural Glass Institute and their project installation called MERGE. Jefferson’s (formerly Philadelphia University) architectural 3rd year students competed in a design competition for a glass pavilion to be exhibited during DesignPhiladelphia 2017. Once the winning design was selected, 6 architecture students and 6 FTI glaziers collaborated through the design, build, and install process. The architecture students agreed that this project was one of the most useful and educational experiences they have had during their undergraduate career, and the glaziers agreed that they felt valuable in the design phase and most importantly, appreciated for their knowledge and skill. Clearly, the design and construction industry would benefit immensely if designers and craftsman were sensitive to one another and appreciative of the knowledge and skill each party brings to a project. So why aren’t we doing this interdisciplinary design-build process all the time in architecture school? Or in trades education? In practice? The answers to those questions are numerous, but what is so compelling about this Jefferson – FTI and AGI collaboration is that it seems clear that educational institutions and industry should be moving towards models like this. If you know of other similar models or programs that are working on bringing architecture students and craftsmen together, please let us know and we would love to learn more while we are in our strategic planning process. It is really hard for me to pick one event to encourage you to attend during DesignPhiladelphia, so instead we are using these pages to highlight the best of the best for design professionals. We hope you'll have a chance to explore, see you in October!

Sincerely, Rebecca Johnson Executive Director AIA Philadelphia Center / Architecture + Design

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KICK OFF PARTY Jefferson's Dorrance H. Hamilton Building, 1001 Locust St, 6:00 - 10:00 PM This year’s kickoff party features a partnership with A.C. Moore and an interactive design challenge. We are giving five design teams $1,000 to spend at A.C. Moore to create a series of installations throughout the kickoff party space. Come to the party a little early and visit the MERGE installation. MERGE EXHIBITION Jefferson's Lubert Plaza, 1001 Locust St, Open all day throughout the Festival MERGE: A design-build installation showcasing the design and construction talents of students from the Finishing Trades Institute and Jefferson University (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University). DESIGNPHILADELPHIA POP UP SHOP @ AIA BOOKSTORE Center for Architecture and Design, 1218 Arch St, Philadelphia, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM Daily

OCT 6 GEODESIGN FORUM Jefferson - Bluemle Life Sciences Building 233 North 10th St, 1:00 - 5:00 PM This year’s forum will focus on the role geodesign technology and modeling plays in the planning and design of the built environment for sustainable, active, and healthier communities that promote a strong sense of well-being. Keynote speaker is Etta Jackson, Founder of Institute for Conscious Global Change

OCT 7 + 8 ART STAR MARKET Center for Architecture and Design, 1218 Arch St, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM


COMMUNITY OCT 10

OCT 12

OCT 13

PENN MEDICINE'S PAVILION: DESIGNING HEALTHCARE FOR THE FUTURE University of Pennsylvania, 3737 Market St, 4:00 - 6:00 PM

ALPHABET SOUP NIGHT Center for Architecture and Design, 1218 Arch St, 6:00 - 10:00 PM

DESIGN RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM 2017: INTERSECTIONS IN PROCESS Drexel Westphal College of Media Arts & Design: URBN Center, 3501 Market St, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Meet representatives of PennFirst, the joint design and construction team that is working in a single co-working space under innovative contract arrangements to plan, design, and build this facility. GUIDED ARCHITECTURAL TOUR OF ROBERTS CENTER FOR PEDIATRIC RESEARCH AT CHOP Roberts Center for Pediatric Research, 734 Schuylkill Ave, 5:30 - 6:30 PM CORRIDOR REALITIES 2017 Center for Architecture and Design, 1218 Arch St, 3:00 - 5:00 PM Supporting Corridors/Supporting Communities will present real-life, real-place strategies that you can take home to your neighborhood commercial corridor.

OCT 11 MERGE AND THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION AND THE NEXT GENERATION WORKFORCE Center for Architecture and Design, 1218 Arch St, 5:00 - 7:30 PM This design-build project sets the stage for the building of articulation agreements between the two institutions and PCOM permitting students to build a seamless academic ladder from high school through graduate school. TYLER HAYS: THE ART OF MAKING EVERYTHING Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkway, 6:00 - 8:00 PM A visionary designer and 21st century craft entrepreneur, Tyler has won accolades from the design community and beyond for his ability to marry the fine craftsmanship of a luxury atelier with an appealingly rustic American aesthetic.

Let’s break design discipline silos. Come out and meet designers across Philadelphia over drinks and snacks. Chit chat, share ideas, and hear short lightning speed presentations from local representatives of various design associations in Philly. FITCITYPHL3 Center for Architecture and Design, 1218 Arch St, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM At this year’s symposium, attendees will interact with public sector leaders in a town hall format, learn about community engagement and workplace active design strategies, and participate in several walking tours. 6.25 AIA LU/HSW credit available

The Design Research Symposium will highlight the diverse work of Drexel design researchers, and their collaborators.

OCT 14 COMMUNITY MARKET FOR MAKERS & SHAKERS NextFab, 1227 N 4th St, 12:00 - 5:00 PM

TACTICAL URBANISM EXCHANGE National Mechanics, 22 S 3rd St, 7:00 - 9:00 PM Join us for an evening of creative ideas for public spaces hosted by 5th Square & Urban Consulate for Design Philadelphia. Hear from community designers & advocates from Philly & Detroit whose activations are bringing life to city neighborhoods.

OCT 13 SEED DESIGN COURSE The DEC Center, Kanbar College of Design, Engineering, and Commerce, Philadelphia University, 4201 Henry Ave, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Instructors and special guest speakers will present in-depth case studies of best practices, processes, outcomes, and income models of their Public Interest Design projects. 13 HSW CEUs/PDHs and certification as a SEED Professional. BEHIND THE SCENES: BOK BAR FURNITURE DESIGN Bok, 1901 S 9th St, 5:30 - 7:30 PM Guillio Cappellini of the world renowned Italian furniture company, Cappellini, will moderate a panel of designers that created bespoke furniture for Bok Bar.

With a grant from the William Penn Foundation, DAG has embarked on new initiatives to enhance its advocacy, public events and communications. A primary goal is to open up more opportunities to get involved with DAG, as we further build our capacity as a volunteer organization dedicated to promoting design excellence and public discussion on issues impacting the built environment. We’re establishing ongoing advocacy task forces to monitor and research four critical and perennial issues: Riverfront Development (Schuylkill and Delaware); Historic Preservation; Complete Streets and Transit; and Design Equity. Interested in volunteering? Contact DAG Chair Elise Vider at elisevider@gmail.com or Advocacy Chair George Claflen at gclaflen@gmail.com. And remember that this grant doesn't mean we don't need your financial support. Your contribution is now tax deductible. For all things DAG, visit us on Facebook @ designadvocacy or sign up for our email list at http://www.designadvocacy.org/join.

AIA Philadelphia | context | FALL 2017  7


COMMUNITY

Image credit: Rendering for Southwest CDC and the Community Design Collaborative by Ramla Benaissa Architects, LLC.

BY KIMBERLY HAAS A non-profit design collaborative could make a big difference for a Philadelphia community in need of housing for its aging population. In Southwest Philadelphia, the burgeoning Center City skyline is just visible on the edge of the horizon. In this neighborhood of modest rowhouses, the Southwest Community Development Corporation, or CDC, helps residents with everything from job searches, signing up for utility bill assistance, and after school programs. Now, in the midst of those details of day-today life, they're looking into the future, with the project "Southwest Gateway Housing." Steve Kuzmicki, Economic Development Program Manager at Southwest, CDC says it all started when they identified a segment of the population with a specific need. “We have a large number of seniors in the southwest,” he said. “A lot of them are living in 8  FALL 2017 | context | AIA Philadelphia

aging homes that have barriers - steps, things like that, that they can't navigate that well. The biggest need and demand was for affordable housing for seniors. And then the issue of grandparents who are raising grandchildren, which we've learned is a big need here.” Kuzmicki had been eying two city-owned lots at 63rd Street and Lindbergh Boulevard, a major intersection leading into the neighborhood. He and his colleagues felt it would be the perfect spot for a block of affordable, accessible senior apartments. They could get the city to donate the lots. Both Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania state government have construction funding. But a lot of planning would need to go on before breaking ground. “We fill that gap,” said Heidi Levy, Director of Design Services at the Community Design Collaborative. “Historically there has not been

funding for preliminary design, the first ten to fifteen percent of a project when a community is trying to envision what they want to build. We create that vision, put it on paper, get them ready to go after funding and community support.” The Collaborative provides pro bono design services to about two dozen neighborhood projects each year. For Southwest CDC's Gateway Housing Project, this amounted to a donation of nearly $90,000. With a completed design in hand to present to funders and developers, the Southwest Community Development Corporation aims to break ground as early as next summer. Kimberly Haas is the producer of WHYY's NewsWorks Tonight. This story was originally broadcast on WHYY NewsWorks and appeared on the NewsWorks website on July 5, 2017.


COMMUNITY Goodbye, Hello, Again.

Education practices a strange inversion of seasonal hope. Spring is about closure: endings, letting go, and – at least until fall – departures. Fall is a time of renewal: returns, beginnings, and opportunities. Spring is about farewells. Fall is about welcomes. Fall is an annual invitation to shed the previous year and shape the arriving year with a new presence, a new persona. It is an annualized ‘do-over’. The renewal applies to student and teacher alike. Right now, all across the city, this ritual is taking place, yet again. It’s September and we are heading back to school at The Charter High School for Architecture + Design (CHAD). By the time you read this article over two hundred new freshman will enter our building. They will join over four hundred returning students and begin their unique fold into this most unusual community. In four years, another ritual happens. Most of these students will be sitting on a stage, gazing over gathered families, eager for their moment ‘to walk’. ‘Walking’ is crossing the stage, shaking some hands, and collecting that precious diploma. Commencement is a remarkable and celebratory event to witness…every…single… time. Joy never gets old. In the same way that grief shared is always halved, joy shared is always doubled. I’d wager that most of our teachers, observing students as they walk, get at least a little choked up some where in the proceedings. There is always that one student: the one you weren’t sure would walk, no matter how hard

you tried to help them through. There is always that one for whom you clap a little harder. Which student varies from one teacher to the next. It does, indeed, take a village. In the years between these markers in life’s timeline, students gather from fifty-one zip codes into CHAD’s classrooms and common areas. They come to learn and grow. Many days, they push back out into the city as part of that learning and growing experience. Often, the city IS the classroom. Centrally located, just a block from the Liberty Bell, our students traverse the streets as part of their curriculum…to construction sites, to food banks, to local universities, to historical venues, to art galleries, to museums, and simply into the streets themselves. Just as the entire school, rather than a designated room, is a Maker Space, the city is our largest classroom. Victor Hugo famously wrote ‘This Will Kill That’ in his novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In the famous chapter, the cathedral’s abbot laments that Gutenberg’s printing press and the advance of literacy will enable the book to replace the church’s role as the authority and disseminator of cultural history and identity. He wasn’t wrong. For CHAD students, this isn’t entirely true. Besides textbooks, our students study transit systems, construction methods, community organizations, facades, streets, sidewalks, and artful objects. They learn to ‘read’ the contexts of these artifacts and then better decipher what they mean to the relevant community

and, by extension, their own lives. The physical evidence of a vibrant city is their primary text. Meanwhile, they make things, every day, all year. They practice making as a form of community participation and contributive building. A tactile relationship, whether between fingers or under feet, is one of the most effective modes of learning. There is an abundance of research to support this claim. Research aside, anyone who’s ever made something also knows it’s true. This is how CHAD students learn, everyday. When the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects founded the school in 1999, the terms ‘maker space’ and ‘design thinking’ were either nascent or nonexistent. In the seventeen years since, these terms have become so hot in the educational world they are on the precipice of becoming jargon. CHAD was there at the beginning. It is here now and it will continue to be the vanguard of K-12 education through design. In the same span of time, the City of Philadelphia has evolved into a collection of neighborhoods. Some are vibrant. Some are struggling. Some are in despair. Our students arrive each fall from these many neighborhoods. Some return to be contributing members to their community. Others move on from Philadelphia. They migrate to other cities, other communities, or even travel the world. They leave CHAD but continue the work of their lives. They read the environmental texts surrounding their place, work to understand its needs and find ways to make an offering in return. AIA Philadelphia | context | FALL 2017  9


BY JENNIFER KITSON The archetypal figure of urbanity—the pedestrian—has returned to popular imagination, renewing interest in walking as an experiential modality of urban life and space. Good human habitats, influential urbanists have argued, should be designed around the affordances and limitations of the bipedal human body. Yet, overreliance on new technologies leaves us prone to quantify walkability, rather than closely attend to the felt qualities of experience on foot. “Ped sheds” and walkability scores are not without value, but they simplify the human scale to only feet. Even devices and apps designed for walking frequently diminish our sensorial experience of moving through the city on foot. Digital sensors and algorithms decide the route we take and the number of steps we make. Corporate branding compels us to walk to shop. The unconscious force of habit conditions human bodies. Rarely do we veer from our regular route to purposefully glimpse someone else’s street view. Too often we remain desensitized, distracted, or otherwise inattentive to the vital materiality connecting humans and environments. When do we walk to discover, transgress, or transform? How?

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PHOTO: DAVID DEIFER, @CCPHILLY

SENSING THE CITY


PHOTO: EDWIN LÓPEZ MOYA FOR AL DIA DAILY

WALK Experiential-experimental modes of walking present ways of critically recuperating the human body as both sensor and metric of the city. Advances in neuroscience have confirmed what urbanists have long known; our senses and the city are entangled. Closely attending to the human body reveals that we are more-than-human; molecular movements, chemical reactions, thermal transmissions, and bacteria do not recognize divisions between “humans” and “environments.” Humans are nature. Human bodies are environmental sensors. Much of what we think and do is based on the materiality of our environs, from how we move (faster near blank walls, slower near social activity), how we behave (more generous when holding a warm beverage), to how we feel (happy, and kind when we’re exposed to nature). Sensitivity to people, places, and invisible forces begins with sensory experience. Investigating the city through the senses, what I conceive as sensual urbanism, reveals that we sense with unknown, and unknowable, others. The effects of modern life register first and foremost as visceral forces and felt intensities; it matters greatly which direction we are moved. The sensuality, sociality, and spatiality of the city are characterized by strangeness: unknown people, objects, environs, and sensations. “Cities,” says Jane Jacobs, “are by definition, full of strangers.” (1) Pedestrians feature prominently in urban sociology and geography, for streets and sidewalks are the ultimate stranger spaces. The fleeting glance, chance encounter, and other forms of nonverbal communication between strangers has long characterized urban sociality. The experience of anonymity, unique to the city, engenders newfound modes of navigating everyday public life and space that are at once liberatory and alienating. Endless encounters with unknown others is what lends

the city perpetual and palpable newness, a rotating kaleidoscope of sensory difference, unfamiliar yet alluring, sights, smells, and sounds. But the urban din is also characterized by excess. An inattentive bodily comportment or “blasé outlook” (2) is requisite in coping with the city’s sensory assault. The character of cities may have changed, but this truism persists in the present. Even pedestrian-friendly cities necessitate defensive posturing against the creeping onslaught of hyper-illuminated digital billboards and bus stop advertisements and mounting noise pollution. “We seem divided,” says Alain De Botton, “between an urge to override our senses and numb ourselves to our [urban] settings.” (3)

STROLL To navigate the spectacle of the city, walk with aplomb. This is the comportment of the “urban spectator,” first depicted in seventeenth century London, or flâneur, as he was later known, in nineteenth century Paris. The promenade and arcade, new commercial spaces in European cities, surfaced with the consumer class who could afford to walk leisurely, to see the newfangled fashions and wares, and be seen wearing them. In these emergent exhibitionist city spaces, where the masses comingled in crowds, social class was made discernable through conspicuous consumerism. Presence on the street made even the unwitting pedestrian complicit in, what Guy Debord termed, the “society of the spectacle.” (4) The flâneur, popularized in the works of Charles Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin, emerged as an idle walker capable of moving through the metropolitan melee with bemused detachment. His gender, race, and bourgeois standing proffered a cloak of anonymity, mobility, and security to stroll with abandon, commenting on the social lives of others with supreme confidence.

Tania Bruguera's street engagement as part of the Barnes Foundation’s exhibit/event: “Person of the Crowd,”

AIA Philadelphia | context | FALL 2017  11


Edgar Allan Poe’s narrator in “The Man of The Crowd” (5) exemplifies the urban spectator’s art of character study. With a mere glance, the narrator discerns the social class, habits, and desires of the passers-by, except for one; the unreadable face of a single stranger compels him into London’s seedy street life in search of answers. Published during his tenure in Philadelphia (1838-1944), “The Man of the Crowd” influenced the varied and shifting personas of the flâneur as a historical figure of observational urbanism: stalker, voyeur, detective, street photographer, urban sociologist. Today, it is easy to glean the limitations of the urban spectator’s reliance on superficial visual observation, snap social judgment, and citizen surveillance. The flâneur’s limitless corporeal freedom in the city is also patent reminder of socio-spatial inequalities limiting the mobility and visibility of women in the city, past and present. Does the fictional figure still have relevance? Is flânerie, by definition, an imaginary term limited to certain bodies? Or, like everything else born of mass consumerism, was the idea of the flâneur designed for obsolescence? Such debates continue, as evidenced in the Barnes Foundation’s Spring, 2017 exhibition titled “Person of the Crowd: The Contemporary Art of Flânerie.” The flâneur originated as an idea for simply coping with banality and artifice in the city, rather than a conscious strategy to change it, but recent interpretations suggest otherwise. (6)

QUESTION Away from the flashy promenades, French theorists of everyday life located newfound political possibility in the habits of ordinary urban dwellers that walked to work. In “Critique of Everyday Life,” (7) prominent French social theorist Henri Lefebvre depicts the effects of post-war capitalist production and mass consumption as registering in routine bodily habits, rhythms, and spaces of the working class. Minor interventions, what Michel de Certeau (8) terms “tactics,” in everyday bodily activities hold revolutionary potential to reclaim representation in public space and democratic life, an idea Lefebvre famously calls “the right to the city.” The influence of Lefebvre’s seminal theories can be found in social-political movements and urban revolutions around the world, past and present. (9) Among French avant-garde social activists in the 1960s France, arts-based and experimental methods of walking featured prominently in efforts to scrutinize everyday urban environs for the purpose of transforming them. Georges Perec, a French artist-writer and student of Lefebvre, proffers an urban methodology of systematic examination and documentation of everyday routines and objects to combat complacency. Perec’s provocations serve as guide in becoming genuinely sensitized to the materiality of urban life, a keen, invested observer of self and environs. In contrast with the elitism and judgment of the flâneur, the student of everyday life adopts an open, yet critical, comportment to perceive and scrutinize everything. Whereas the hollow pageantry of commercial spectacle is designed to attract even the most disinterested passerby, only attuned urban dwellers can detect the extraordinary in the ordinary. 12  FALL 2017 | context | AIA Philadelphia

What we need to question is bricks, concrete, glass, our table manners, our utensils, our tools, the way we spend our time, our rhythms. To question that which seems to have ceased forever to astonish us. We live, true, we breathe, true; we walk…. How? Where? When? Why? Describe your street. Describe another street. Compare. Make an inventory of your pockets, of your bag. Ask yourself the provenance, the use, what will become of each of the objects you take out. Question your tea spoons. (10) We can hear without listening, see without observing. To detect the magic in the mundane, revolution in routine, Perec demonstrates, is a matter of attention to the infra-ordinary, the barely sensible fields of intensity shifting moods and minds one way, or another.

DRIFT Influenced by Lefebvre, the French Situationist Guy Debord and his collaborators popularized other modes of keen sensory observation and experiential intervention in the city such as the dérive (to drift). In “Theory of the Dérive,” Debord outlines a method of playful and subversive social walking and mapping by drifting according to the invisible fields and affective currents in the city. Moving throughout the city in accordance with the sensual and emotional imperatives of urban environs juxtaposes and challenges the rational, rectilinear ordering and social-spatial segregation of the modernist city. “From a dérive point of view,” Debord writes, “cities have psychogeographical contours, with constant currents, fixed points and vortexes that

Guide Psychogéographique de Paris: Discours sur les passions de l’amour, par. G.-E. Debord, édité par le Bauhaus Imaginiste, printed in Denmark by Permild & Rosengreen, 1956 (Map: RKD, The Hague).


strongly discourage entry into or exit from certain zones.” (11) Independently, but at the same time, the American planner Kevin Lynch was also employing psychogeographical modes of walking and cognitive mapping in attempting to make the city intuitively navigable from the pedestrian’s street view vantage point. Lynch begins his famous essay, “Notes on City Satisfaction,” by stating, “We are concerned here with the psychological and sensual effects of the physical form of the city”. (12) In different, but overlapping ways, the psychogeographies of Debord and Lynch (among others) contributed to elevating the body as a mobile, sensing instrument with sensations, emotions, and feelings as critical forms of city data.

SENSE

201208

201208

Walking as activist practice continues today as counterbalance to the alienation, banalization, and social segregation in urban spaces and social interactions. Multi-sensory group walks are especially generative in returning twenty-first century human bodies to their senses, to spontaneous social interactions with strangers, to encounters with strange smells (or sounds, tastes, textures). For example, smellwalks, such as those conducted by the artist and designer Kate McLean, involve group drifting, discovery, and mapping in the city through the nose. Smell, memory, and emotion are entwined, owing to the neuroanatomy of human bodies; smell impressions are therefore a valuable form sensual-emotional-environmental city data. Odors also evade capture and quantification; they drift, transgress, and dissipate the rigid ordering of the modern city.

71º 20’

Summer Aromas of

NEWPORT, RI SHOWING THE EXACT RELATIVE POSITIONS OF THE POINTS OF ORIGIN OF THE SCENTS OF

The Ocean, Beach Roses, Suntan Oil, Beer Bars, Juniper Bushes, Fudge/Cookies/Ice cream, Bird’s Nests, Lobster Bait & Freshly Cut Timber and EXPRESSING THE INTENSITY AND DRIFT OF THE SCENTS ENCOUNTERED IN NEWPORT CITY, NECK AND HARBOR & LOWER MIDDLETOWN

41º 30’

41º 30’

McLean’s free “smellfie guide to smellwalking” (13) is one way to get started; let odors lead the way. Or, get lost. This is the promise of applications such as Serendipitor and Dérive App, designed to disrupt the reign of habit and blasé comportments through digital directives in urban exploration. “In the near future, getting from point A to point B will not be the problem,” Serendipitor says, “Maintaining consciousness of what happens along the way might be more difficult”. (14) The kinds of experiential-experimental walking outlined here are about recuperating human bodies as sensors and metrics of the city. An open bodily comportment and attentive mind, not ablebodiedness, is requisite for catching on to the ways our bodies are affected and affecting (others, environs). Drift to discover the ways in which we are already caught up in and affected by an invisible world of molecules, social norms, and atmospheres. Ask yourself the provenance of each odor, of each sensation. Question everything. ■

Jennifer Kitson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, Planning, & Sustainability at Rowan University. Citations 1. Jane Jacobs (1961), The Death and Life of Great American Cities, New York: Vintage Books, p. 30. 2. Georg Simmel (1903), ‘The Metropolis and Mental Life’, reprinted in Gary Bridge and Sophie Watson (eds), The Blackwell City Reader, London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, p. 105. 3. Alain De Botton, The Architecture of Happiness, New York: Vintage Books, 2008, p. 12. 4. Guy Debord, (1956), ‘Theory of the Dérive’, reprinted in Ken Knabb (ed and trans), Situationist International Anthology, Berkeley: Bureau of Public Secrets, 2006. Also available at http://www.cddc.vt.edu/ sionline/si/theory.html (accessed 25 July 2017). 5. Edgar Allan Poe, (1840), “The Man of the Crowd,” in Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems, Edison, NJ: Castle Books, 2009, pp. 425-430. 6.

Sellers, Merideth, ‘The Political Problems of the Contemporary “Flâ-

neur,” Hyperallergic, https://hyperallergic.com/379956/the-politicalproblems-of-the-contemporary-flaneur/ (accessed 25 July 2017).

29’

45”

7.

30”

15”

28’

8.

50”

9. 71º 20’ 31’

31’

10. 41º

5,000 Feet

11. 12.

41º

30’

30’

KEY TO SMELL AREAS Limits and designations of smell origins are shown as colored dots. The range of the smell is shown with the circular isobar graphic, the smell movement on the prevailing 10 – 20 knot summer “smoky sou’wester” wind is shown with the displaced isobars.

THE OCEAN

2

BEACH ROSES

3

SUNTAN OIL

3

BEER BARS

41º 25’

2

JUNIPER BUSHES

3

FUDGE / COOKIES / ICE CREAM

2

BIRD’S NESTS / HAY

6

LOBSTER BAIT

3

FRESHLY CUT TIMBER

29’

29’

0

2,500

25’

LOWER MIDDLETOWN 71º 20’

12

1st Ed., Aug 13/

201208

71º 20’

CAUTION This chart has been collated from the accumulated aroma perceptions of the residents of Newport, from visitor opinions online, through smell walks and smell bike rides and the nose of the artist to the print date shown in the lower left hand corner of this chart. By definition smell maps are indications of where transitory and seasonal odors may be sniffed; they indicate possible locations where you may discern a particular smell.

NOTE A – SMELL STORIES Every smell has a story. Each smell featured in the Newport Smell Map has a tale attached, a memory, a personal link and recollection. We invite you to add your Newport Smell stories in the book provided to help build a smell portrait of the city.

NOSING RATING DESCRIPTION

0

1

no odor

very weak

2

3

4

5

6

weak

distinct

strong

v. strong

intolerable

ODOR INTENSITY Odor intensity is the perceived strength of odor sensation. This intensity property is used to locate the source of odors. Perceived strength of the odor sensation is measured in conjunction with odor concentration. This can be modeled by the Weber-Fechner law: I= a * log(c)+b where I is the perceived psychological intensity at the dilution step on the butanol scale, a is the Weber-Fechner coefficient, C is the chemical concentrations, and b is the intercept constant (0.5 by definition).

Newport, Rhode Island, USA

ODOR INTENSITY IN “NOSINGS”

201208

©Kate McLean Design 2012 | www.sensorymaps.com

4

41º

13.

NOTE B – WHY SMELL MAP? Sensory Maps is an on-going arts research project that promotes the links between smell and emotion and a sense of place. Research suggests that memories triggered by smell are more emotional than those triggered by sounds, pictures or words. This map is intended to sensitize visitors to the city of Newport and to prompt the use of their sense of smell as they wander through the streets and walks thereby enabling them to recall the city more and their experience at a later date. Newport is the fifth smell map created by the British smell artist and designer Kate McLean.

Printed by: Reynolds DeWalt, New Bedford, MA Hosted by: Discover Newport Visitor Center With special thanks to: Mary Hutchinson, Dave & Misi Narcizo, Art Weekley, Sara Chadwick, Rita and Morgan Daly and Kathryn Farrington

14.

Henri Lefebvre, (1947), Critique of Everyday Life, trans. John Moore, London and New York: Verso, 2014. Michel De Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. Steven Rendall, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984. Łukasz Stanek, Chrisitan Schmid, and Ákos Morávansky, eds, Urban Revolution Now: Henri Lefebvre in Social Research and Architecture, New York: Routledge, 2014. Georges Perec, (1974), Species of Spaces and Other Pieces, London: Penguin Books, 2008, p. 210 (emphasis added). Guy Debord, p. 62. Kevin Lynch, (1953), ‘Notes on City Satisfaction’, reprinted in Tridib Banerjee and Michael Southworth (eds), City Sense and City Design: Writings and Projects of Kevin Lynch, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995, p. 135. Kate McLean, (2015) “Smellfie Guide to Smellwalking” available at http://sensorymaps.com/about/ (accessed 25 July 2017). Mark Shepard, (2010), “About: Serendipitor” available at http://serendipitor.net/site/?page_id=2 (accessed 2 August 2017).

Summer Aromas of Newport, RI, Kate McLean, August 20th 2012.

AIA Philadelphia | context | FALL 2017  13


PHOTO: KYLE HUFF, @KYLEHUFF

CYBORG SOCIETY BY CARLO RATTI AND MATTHEW CLAUDEL

14  FALL 2017 | context | AIA Philadelphia


Cyborgs, creatures of intertwined biology and technology, have fascinated humans for decades (the term was coined in 1960) but they are not science fiction. In a basic sense, the human is a cyborg species, distinguished (though not unique) for its creation and appropriation of extrinsic tools. Weapons and fire and clothing, for example, enabled our ancestors to inhabit environments they otherwise could not. Humans create technologies that surround the body and support its physical survival. Human progress, on a macro scale, can be tracked through the use of tools, from the earliest worked stones in the Paleolithic Era to mechanical technology in the Modern Era. Life support technologies have become increasingly sophisticated over the course of human history. During the 1960s, new philosophies sought to articulate the cyborg condition, finding humans to be nothing without a constellation of external tools. The prevailing idea was that, rather than using tools as accessories for augmenting specific functions, humans do not exist independently of a collage of support systems. Following the progression from stone to silicon tools, we could describe humanity today as a new form of Homo Sapien – one with an entirely new apparatus. Tools have historically been a modification of the physical self, extending such capacities as speed and strength; essentially, they are implements that transform matter around us in ways that are difficult or impossible using just the human body. Yet today’s tools are fundamentally different, extensions not of the anatomy but of the mind - of memory, identity, and social function. “Human progress was marked by the gradual externalization of functions,” wrote Antoine Picon, “from stone knives and axes that extended the capacity of the hand to the externalization of mental functions with the computer.” (1) The erosion of the discrete boundary around a human being occurred at this distinct shift in the function of tools. Discourse evolved as technology played an increasingly central role in daily life – approaching prosthesis. In the 1980s, a nascent “cyborg theory” emerged, positing the cyborg condition as a new paradigm of human social-biological-technological existence. The feminist theorist Donna Haraway articulated a social dimension of cyborg theory and propelled the idea into broader public debate. Humans, she wrote, are “post–Second World War hybrid entities made of, first, ourselves and other organic creatures in our unchosen ‘high-technological’ guise as information systems, texts, and ergonomically controlled laboring, desiring, and reproducing systems. The second essential ingredient’ in cyborgs is machines in their guise, also, as communications systems, texts, and self-acting, ergonomically designed apparatus.” (2) And this is the crucial feature of the modern cyborg: digital technologies have become a dynamic extension of our bodies and minds, demanding a constant and two-way cybernetic exchange in a way that our traditional (one-way) extensions, such as clothing or axes, have never done. This has even been conceptualized as a “third wave” of civilization, following radical transformations in mobility and telecommunications technology. The term “posthuman” describes a new entity that is born with technology rather than acquiring it as a prosthetic. The broad (and expanding) spectrum of critical discourse surrounding our posthuman future seems to

vacillate between the threat of technology’s corrosive force on humanity and the wildly optimistic eulogy of biotechnical augmentation. The common denominator is a deep entanglement of human and technological systems. “We of the modern age are provided with two types of bodies...the real body which is linked with the real world by means of fluids running inside, and the virtual body linked with the world by the flow of electrons.” (3) Those two bodies are, today, inextricably enmeshed and coevolutionary. One piece of technology forges the strongest link, arguably more transformative than any other: the smartphone. Smartphones are effectively powerful mini-computers enhancing humans’ logical and computational capacities, particularly because they are always available. Take, for example, remembering an address: rather than committing it to memory, that information can be stored in a digital contact book or quickly looked up online at any moment. Memory has been outsourced. Furthermore, we have abdicated any navigational responsibility for reaching a location in favor of individualized, personalized, on-demand way-finding tools such as Google Maps. The tools for egocentric mapping can respond to real-time traffic information and then deliver suggestions for a good meal on the way.  The posthuman is a creature born into this binary condition, into a world of converged digital and material, where each individual’s mental and social existence is enabled, sustained, and improved by technologies. Beyond individual personal interactions, the global adoption of smartphones—mass mobile communications – amount to a collective societal shift. Over half of the global population is now instantaneously interconnected. Personal devices serve as a portal to externalize and multiply the self to a conceivably infinite degree. The prosthetic smartphone has deeply permeated society along the backbone of wireless telecommunications, giving rise to a new networked humanism. Anthropologists have considered this aspatial and omnipresent social phenomenon. Connective technologies generate a condition of “ambient intimacy,” wherein people have access to each other – whether in real time or as digital avatars – at any moment they choose. As this becomes pervasive and integral, humans in the networked society will be co-creating each other at all times. (4) Tools have evolved from physical to mental to social. But the story does not end here. Technologies have made a radical pivot back to physical space. (5) Digitally networked humans are at the crux of bits and atoms: integrated technologies are profoundly transforming not only social identity but corporeal inhabitation of cities. “The figure of the cyborg is at root a spatial metaphor,” notes the geographer and urbanist Matthew Gandy. “But how does the idea of the cyborg intersect with spatial theory? In what ways does the cyborg reinforce or contradict other emerging strands of urban thought that also emphasize urban complexity and hybridity?” (6) Through smartphones, the daily lives and modes of perception for an Internet generation have become a posthuman condition, with architectural, spatial, and – in particular – urban implications. “This generation has developed physical and mental attitudes that call for a different kind of space, a space that can be deciphered through systems of clues and series of unfolding scenarios.”(7) Through smartphones, the city is now AIA Philadelphia | context | FALL 2017  15


16  FALL 2017 | context | AIA Philadelphia

RENDERINGS: CARLO RATTI ASSOCIATI

A common criticism of digital applications - specifically, one leveled by the voices predicting the “death of distance” – was that they would eliminate the chemistry of the city. Yet real-time applications are now delivering rich, digitally brewed serendipity, and rather than neutering urban space, networked systems are becoming a new interface with the physical world. Each smartphone communicates in real time with a constellation of phones, businesses, and systems surrounding it. Fondazione Agnelli Headquarters, Carlo Ratti Associati The building management system (BMS) constantly monitors user behavioral data sets and responds with dynamic adjustment of environmental Systems are becoming increasingly and spatial controls. robust, enabling real-time everything, from Uber to Tinder to Grindr. Alwayson devices connect the majority of the burgeoning and constantly unfolding inside every pocket. Every citizen human population to one another, to physical places, and to dynamic has a tool with which to perceive and process the city. processes. Cyborg humans have entirely new modes of inhabiting the Peering through this digital lens is an intensely personal experiphysical city at all times. ence. Your smartphone locates you precisely in space and time, and it As these networks become increasingly dense, the smart-phone knows your preferences, schedule, and consumer patterns. Geolocatremains an integral tool for data generating, interface, and collision, ed applications “no longer adhere to the anything-anytime-anywherefor combining and contributing to various streams of information. new-media paradigm of the 1990s. Rather, they are centered on Local and personal information delivered through a smartphone is a location-sensing capacities and aim to intervene in or add to a specific mediated, bite-size connection to global networks and the larger ebbs here-and-now. Their exact interventions differ, but…urban media are and flows of metropolitan function. Through your smartphone, you making deep inroads on a diverse range of activities of place making can understand and digest the broader, complex reality of the city. It – be they the top-down deployment by government agencies or the serves as a control room, revealing urban systems such as transporbottom-up appropriation by urbanites in their every-day life.”(8) tation, weather, social and interactive media. Understanding these This class of smartphone applications, known as location-based serurban dynamics enables people to more effectively (or enjoyably) vices (LBS), was introduced around the year 2000, offering a menu of inhabit the city.  personally relevant information through location sensing. LBS entered Smartphones, and their constellation of associated systems, are a variety of domains, from mobility, entertainment, and food to way not without behavioral ramifications. Data, networked platforms and finding, weather and romance – all enabled by the increasing ubiquity connectivity can provoke the kinds of collective action that transform of smartphone devices. cyborg citizens into a smart mob. Through location-based media, there is a broad emergence of swarming behavior, a new social phenomenon wherein groups of any number are digitally interconnected for any reason and begin to act en masse. Amorphous and porous smart mobs do not need to have a specific agenda, nor do members need to have any prior familiarity with each other. (9) They are flexible groups of people who have been connected by digital media and converge in physical space. Two simultaneous trends – increases in both smartphone adoption and embedded technologies – are transforming what was formerly a communications network into a sensing network. A whole class of applications appropriate embedded hardware in the smartphone that is intended for other purposes – for example, using a phone’s accelerometer to detect pace, or its camera light to measure heartrate. These take advantage of the always-on prosthetic device to implement “viral Future Food District, Carlo Ratti Associati sensing” at a large scale. An exploration of the interaction of instantaneous data with consumer actions and In addition to these opportunistic apps, another class of digital purchasing patterns.


GRAPHIC: MIT SENSEABLE CITY LAB

technologies links the phone to external hardware that extends its capabilities. These piggyback technologies work symbiotically with the phone – taking advantage of its high-power computing, high-speed network access, and nearly constant use – and have given rise to the quantified-self phenomenon. A variety of quantified-self gadgets, from bracelets to pins to watches, can tell users everything about their daily activities, including steps taken and patterns of sleep. Not only are smartphones our mechanism for interfacing with the world around us, augmenting our social and professional selves, they are now a means of scrutinizing our individual bodies, our biological selves. The smartphone, with its constellation of associated hardware, is a first step toward the seamless exchange of information to and from the human body: data are constantly recorded, uploaded, and downloaded in real time. The first generation of truly commonplace cyborg technologies includes pacemakers (mechanically supported hearts), cochlear implants (allowing the deaf to perceive sound), and visual prosthetics (cameras that input directly to the brain). Yet these devices are all oneway transfers of information. The next step is quickly approaching as a variety of wearable and ambient devices The Connected States of America, MIT Senseable City Lab The bottom layer represents degrees of urbanity expressed as population density per square mile. The middle layer shows the become constant two-way conduits of information volume of mobile call connections between counties with the colors representing differentiated communities based on call patterns. The top layer indicates those communities. between the body and the network. Humans are becoming directly enmeshed with the Internet of Things. Citations More and more bodies are going online, and detailed external 1. Antoine Picon, “Architecture and the Virtual: Towards a New Materiality,” analysis of the collective quantified self is becoming possible. At the Praxis: New Technologies New Architectures 6, 2004, pp. 114-121. moment, quantified-self technologies do not go far beyond confirm2. Donna Haraway, “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and ing what you already know. When you wake up in the morning, your Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century,” in Simians, Cyborgs bracelet-integrated phone will announce that you slept poorly – the and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, ed. Haraway, New York: last thing you want to see as you rub your eyes and blink through Routledge, 1991, pp. 149-181. a headache. But in the future, this kind of data will extend beyond 3. Toyo Ito, “Mediatheque of Sendai,” in Toyo Ito, ed. Ron Witte and Hiroto the individual and reveal broader human patterns – whether through Kobayashi, Munich: Prestel; Cambridge: Harvard University Graduate the work of specialists or by harnessing the collective intelligence of School of Design, 2002. the crowd. A new “quantified us” paradigm might map the human 4. Amber Case, “We Are All Cyborgs Now,” TEDWomen, International biome on the metropolitan scale. Trade Center, Washington, DC, December 8, 2010. With increasingly ubiquitous exchanges of information, urban life 5. Antoine Picon, “La Ville Territoire des Cyborgs,” Flux 15.36-37, 1999, plays out at the convergence of physical and digital space. People are pp. 76-79. quantifying themselves and their surroundings to better understand 6. Mathew Gandy, “Cyborg Urbanization: Complexity and Monstrosity in who they are and how they can improve their lives while in a constant the Contemporary City,” International Journal of Urban and Regional state of sharing. Together we compose a vast, technologically-supResearch 29.I, 2005. p.28. ported, geographically-bound living mosaic. We are moving from the 7. Picon, “Architecture and the Virtual.” cyborg self to the Cyborg City. ■ 8.

Martijn de Wall, “The Ideas and Ideals in Urban Media Theory,” in From

Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen: Urban Informatics, Social Media, This article is a modified version of Chapter Five of The City of Tomorrow,

Ubiquitous Computing, and Mobile Technology to Support Citizen

written by Carlo Ratti and Matthew Claudel of the MIT Senseable City Lab

Engagement, ed. Marcus Foth, Laura Forlano, Christine Satchell, and

and published by Yale University Press in 2016.

Martin Gibbs, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2011, pp. 5-20. 9.

Howard Rhiengold, Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution, New York: Basic Books, 2002.

AIA Philadelphia | context | FALL 2017  17


18  FALL 2017 | context | AIA Philadelphia


PHOTO: TIMOTHY KERNER

POST-INDUSTRIAL

SUBLIME BY TIMOTHY KERNER

The term sublime is challenging to define because it represents, in essence, the indescribable. Immanuel Kant’s ‘Analytic of the Sublime,’ a central part of his 1790 Critique of Judgement, is a principal text on the subject. Kant differentiates the beautiful, which is comprehensible to the senses, from the sublime, which is immeasurable, awesome or even terrifying. A sublime experience is both transcendental and contradictory; it overwhelms the senses but is conceivable with the higher powers of reason. (1) Nineteenth century painters, such as Caspar David Friedrich and J.M.W. Turner, prioritized the emotional and spiritual experience of the sublime over Kant’s rationality. Their landscapes of immense mountains, vast oceans and tempestuous storms are intended to both diminish and exhilarate the viewer. It should not be surprising that this Romantic fascination with the Natural Sublime ran concurrently with the Industrial Revolution. Enormous steam engines, blast furnaces and fiery smokestacks were transforming the landscape of industrial cities such as Berlin, Manchester and Philadelphia. A ‘Modern’ sensibility of the time would consider these forces equally worthy of awe, respect and artistic portrayal. The history of nineteenth century landscape paintings could be assessed in terms of the representation of the Natural or the Technological Sublime.

Rain, Steam and Speed; the Great Western Railway, J.M.W. Turner

AIA Philadelphia | context | FALL 2017  19


As occurred in many European and American cities, Philadelphia’s industrial base contracted precipitously during the second half of the twentieth century. Today, large areas of land formerly dominated by industry are being transformed into recreational landscapes, which consist of a variety of constructed and natural characteristics. The sublime is an intriguing concept with which to consider these landscapes because it implies a direct visceral relationship between the observer and the landscape. This essay attempts to resuscitate the historical understanding of the sublime to consider our associations with what we refer to as technological and natural within the landscape. Four post-industrial landscapes are considered - Centennial Commons, Bartram’s Mile, the Reading Viaduct and the Central Delaware River, as well as a “sublime machine” soon to arrive in Philadelphia.

CENTENNIAL POWER On opening day of the 1876 Centennial International Exhibition, thousands watched in silent expectation as President Ulysses S. Grant and Emperor Pedro II of Brazil set off the rotation of the world’s largest engine. Over one mile of interconnected belts, shafts and pulleys then spun thousands of industrial wonders into action. The Corliss Steam Engine’s enormous pistons and 30’ flywheel rotated majestically at the center of Machinery Hall. The “grand and sublime” machine astonished the spectators and became the event’s main attraction. (2)

Nineteenth century America’s industrial accomplishments were a source of pride and considered worthy of aesthetic contemplation. (3) Billowing clouds emanating from rows of smokestacks depicted in nineteenth century Philadelphia aerial views were not intended to illustrate the dangers of air pollution, they were meant to evoke an appreciation for industrial might. This celebratory attitude can be found in Walt Whitman’s Song of the Exhibition, which he dedicated to the Centennial: Mark—mark the spirit of invention everywhere—thy rapid patents, Thy continual workshops, foundries, risen or rising; See, from their chimneys, how the tall flame-fires stream! (4) The two main exhibition buildings (the largest in the world of 1876) are now long gone and the site exists as a verdant setting for picnics and softball games. Studio Bryan Hanes is designing the recently named Centennial Commons and, according to Hanes, the most difficult aspect to portray is the “enormity of scale” that generated such nineteenth century astonishment. The sublime disappeared with the dismantling of the fair. The Centennial Exhibition was a landmark event for American industry and a momentous demonstration of the Technological Sublime. (5) To bring the Exhibition’s significance into the consciousness of today’s visitors, it would be necessary to generate contemporary amazement. A technologically audacious tower - with a suspended viewing platform - would be one possibility. In fact, early plans for the 1876 exhibition included a 1,000 ft. wrought iron tower, but the idea had to wait another thirteen years for implementation in Paris. Perhaps the time has come to reach for the sublime with a Fairmount Tower.

PASTORAL GARDEN

The Centennial Corliss Steam Engine. Illustration, James D. McCabe, The Illustrated History of the Centennial Exhibition (Philadelphia, 1876)

20  FALL 2017 | context | AIA Philadelphia

A little further down the Schuylkill River from this industrial demonstration was the real thing; factories, wharves and coal barges crowded the riverbanks. The transformation of these lands into green fields and recreational trails is one of the great stories of urban park formation, and it is not yet finished. The most recent section to be completed is Bartram’s Mile, which transformed the barren landscape of a shuttered gypsum factory into a meadow of wildflowers. José Alminana of Andropogon Studios, designers of Bartram’s Mile, does not mourn the diminishment of the river’s industry. “The environment was destroyed by industry, which did not consider the river to be more than a transportation corridor. There is still so much work to bring the rivers and wetlands back to a healthy state, which is essential for both wildlife and human life throughout the region.” In fact, the Schuylkill is not reverting to a pre-industrial state, as Alminana explains, the river was shaped by the industry that once lined its banks. Nature is now forming around a post-industrial landscape, for example, a series of concrete retaining walls from the industrial uses remain along the trail. Nature and technology are engaged in a


PHOTO: TIMOTHY KERNER, AIA

Bartram's Meadow

well-mannered dialogue. The expanding natural beauty provides connection to the river and a welcome respite for the adjacent southwest Philly neighborhoods. We might relate the pastoral aesthetics of Bartram’s Mile to the paintings of Asher Brown Durand, a significant nineteenth century landscape painter who exhibited “A Study of Nature” at the 1876 Centennial. Durand’s paintings do not venture far into the sublime; they depict a world where humans and nature exist in harmony; a fitting ideal to associate with John Bartram and his garden.

PHOTO: KYLE HUFF, @KYLEHUFF

WILD RAILS Nature is engaged in a more independent transformational role at the Reading Viaduct. The abandoned rail line has become an oneiric land of overgrowth and ruins. The Spanish architect, Ignasi de Solà-Morales, describes such areas of urban abandonment in his influential 1995 essay as Terrain Vague. The non-definition of these lands offers an escape from the grid of capitalist progress, and Solà -Morales questions the urge to constantly submit such spaces to the control of developmental forces. When architecture and urban design project their desire onto a vacant space, a terrain vague, they seem incapable of doing anything other than… striving at all costs to dissolve the uncontaminated magic of the obsolete in the realism of efficiency. (6) A one-quarter mile section of the Viaduct is currently being transformed into the linear Rail Park designed by Studio Bryan Hanes. Aware of the difficulty of addressing the complex associations with this unique location, Hanes’s approach is “to not over-design and to emphasize the story and character of the place.” But to transform this industrial artifact into an accessible public space, the ‘natural’ growth was removed, the structure was repaired and new plants and public amenities added. We shall soon see if the design manages to retain some of the “magic of the obsolete.”

Meanwhile, the larger section of the Reading Viaduct, running from Vine Street to Fairmount, exists without any immediate expectation of transfer to public ownership. Nature, unrestrained, is reclaiming the abandoned rail line. This setting of deterioration and regrowth offers the urban explorer an escape from the city within the city. Here is “…time lost, in physical, tangible form…like the ancient ruins of Greece or Rome.” (7) A haunting feeling of dislocation and a sense of transcendence accompany the visitor to this foreign world. The Reading Viaduct is a place apart from its surroundings; a rupture of the everyday. It offers reassurance that the powers of nature can overcome our cast-off, industrial remnants and that the Natural Sublime, in the end, is more enduring than our technological fabrications.

The Reading Viaduct

AIA Philadelphia | context | FALL 2017  21


VAST RIVER Industrial activities continue at an impressive scale along the Delaware River. Enormous ships transport oil, fruit, containers, chemicals, paper and cars. The overwhelming power of these vessels was brought into dramatic focus several years ago when a drifting Duck Boat was crushed by a sludge barge, throwing 40 passengers into the river, where two of them perished. Shipwrecks were an emblematic subject for Romantic painters and this unfortunate story shares commonalities with nineteenth century depictions of the tragic sublime. Today, we would consider this an inappropriate subject of art, but part of the Delaware’s allure is the enormity of the ships and the vastness of the river. It is still a dangerous place and as Edmund Burke said in 1757, “whatever … operates in a manner analogous to terror, is a source of the sublime; that is, it is productive of the strongest emotion the mind is capable of feeling.” (8) Philadelphians, however, do not generally have a meaningful relationship with the river. One problem, according to Lucinda Sanders of OLIN, is orientation. The configuration of the adjacent roadways and

the projecting piers focus views across to Camden, rather than out to the river itself. OLIN is attempting to redefine this relationship at the former Festival Pier on Columbus Blvd. and Spring Garden. Says Sanders, “We reshaped the piers to orient them up and down the river rather than across, opening the public spaces to the river so its scale and grandeur can be experienced.” Notably, the river’s natural forces are on the rise. Our fossil-fueled activities, which promised control over nature, are contributing to an increasing state of uncertainty. Coastal cities are beginning to feel the impact of rising waters, and the associated challenges will increase in the coming years. Philadelphia, with its two tidal rivers, is no exception. Some scenarios show a significant part of South Philly under water within the not so distant future. (9) Even as Philadelphians gain a recreational relationship with the Delaware, we will be obligated to deal with natural forces that may inundate the city and change the shape of the land. As the strength and potentially destructive power of these forces increase, we could benefit from a greater appreciation for the sublime nature of the river, and a more humble and respectful attitude towards its powers. DRAWING: OLIN

Festival Pier, Delaware River

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PHOTO: TOMMY LAVERGNE, COURTESY RICE UNIVERSITY

James Turrell's "Twilight Epiphany" Skyspace at Rice University.

TRANSCENDENT SKY

Citations

While nature and industry continue to exercise their sublimity along the Delaware River, it is the calmer Schuylkill River that will soon host the newest ‘sublime machine.’ A Skyspace structure, by artist James Turrell is scheduled for construction on the rocky bluffs of the Art Museum. Turrell has been working with the “elixir of light” since the 1960s and considers it to be “the thing that actually connects the immaterial with the material.” (10) His work includes enclosed spaces that create a sensory overload of intense colors, but the Skyspace constructions are open to above and the internal light projections interact with external natural illumination in astonishing ways. The addition of Turrell’s modern structure (designed in collaboration with KSK) into the iconic Art Museum landscape has not been without controversy, but the construction is not meant to disrupt its surroundings. Rather, it is intended to offer a heightened experience of the natural world. This technological “machine” uses light to create an experiential connection with the environment and “an evocation of the infinite that ultimately defeats language itself: the true sublime.” (11) A serious post-structuralist would question the transcendental attributes of the sublime and consider the concept just a fabrication of words. But words clarify our experiences and the terms Natural and Technological Sublime encompass historical and cultural concepts relevant to the urban landscape. A sublime experience entails a powerful connection to the surroundings and demonstrates the environment’s profound influence on the lives of those it encompasses. As we contemplate further transformations of Philadelphia’s post-industrial landscape, we would do well to keep the sublime in mind. ■

1.

Philip Shaw, The Sublime, London and New York: Routledge, 2006, p. 72. 2. Samuel C. Damon, ‘The Centennial – The End’, The Friend, Honolulu: January 1, 1887, p. 2. 3. David E. Nye, American Technological Sublime, Cambridge and London: The MIT Press, 1995, p. 125. 4. Walt Whitman, ‘Song of the Exposition’, The Complete Poems of Walt Whitman, Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions Ltd. 1995, p. 148. 5. John F. Kasson, Civilizing the Machine, New York: Grossman Publishers, 1976, p. 165. 6. Ignasi de Solà-Morales, ‘Terrain Vague’. In Center 14: On Landscape Urbanism, edited by Dean Almy, 108-113. Austin: Center for American Architecture and Design, University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, 2007, pp. 122-123. 7. Joseph Elliot, Nathaniel Popkin and Peter Woodall, Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2017, p. 17. 8. Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas into the Sublime and Beautiful, New York: Oxford University Press, 2008, p. 36. 9. Climate Central: http://ss6m.climatecentral.org/#12/39.9279/75.1602, accessed 8-13-17. 10. Anna Madeleine, ‘Artist James Turrell: I Can Make the Sky Any Color You Choose’, The Guardian, London: December 15, 2014, Accessed 8-14-17. 11. Andrew Frost, ‘James Turrell: A Retrospective Review – Art and Colour Reach for the Sublime’, The Guardian, London: December 15, 2014, Accessed 8-14-17.

Timothy Kerner is Principal of Terra Studio, LLC and an Adjunct Professor of Architecture at Temple University.

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BOOK REVIEW

Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City Joseph E. B. Elliott, Nathaniel Popkin, and Peter Woodall Temple University Press, 2017 BY TODD WOODWARD, AIA a fascinating journey through the submerged urban realm and provides an essential Baedeker to Philadelphia’s past by offering entrée to its hidden places of privilege, production, and prayer.” Michael Z. Wise, author of Capital Dilemma: Germany’s Search for a New Architecture of Democracy “From neighborhood churches and factories to former prisons and power plants, Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City reveals an urban landscape and a way of life that have all but disappeared.

elliott, popkin, woodall

“With stunning photographs and vivid prose, Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City takes us on

Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City

Nathaniel Popkin and Peter Woodall unearth the soul of a city and recall a time when dreams were manifest in brick, carved wood, iron, and stone. Joseph Elliott’s poignant photographs show the care and craftsmanship invested in the making of these spaces, evoking a sense of awe need to preserve a cultural history being swept away by indifference in the name of modernization.”

Cover photograph: Mill Creek Sewer, brick and stone, West Philadelphia, 2016. Photograph by Joseph E. B. Elliott. Printed in U.S.A.

TEMPLE UNIVERSITY PRESS Philadelphia, PA 19122 www.temple.edu/tempress

joseph e. b. elliott is a Professor of Art at Muhlenberg College and an Instructor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. He is the author of The Steel: Photographs of the Bethlehem Steel Plant, 1989 –1996 and (with Aaron V. Wunsch) Palazzos of Power: Central Stations of the Philadelphia Electric Company, 1900 –1930. nathaniel popkin is co-founder of the web magazine Hidden City Daily and senior writer for the documentary film Philadelphia: The Great Experiment. He is the author of Song of the City: An Intimate History of the American Urban Landscape and The Possible City: Exercises in Dreaming Philadelphia, as well as the novel Lion and Leopard. His literary criticism appears in the Wall Street Journal and other publications.

Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City

and mystery, and also a sadness for the fragility of this built environment, reminding us of the Christopher Payne, photographer and author of Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals

peter woodall is a former newspaper reporter and producer for public radio. He co-founded the web magazine Hidden City Daily and is the project director of its parent organization, Hidden City Philadelphia.

I S B N 978-1-4399-1300-0

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Hidden_City_Cover_080317.indd 1

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781439 913000

TEMPLE

joseph e. b. elliott, nathaniel popkin, and peter woodall

8/3/17 11:19 AM

Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City is a project that extends the work done by the organizers of the Hidden City Festivals and the Hidden City website (http://hiddencityphila.org). Through these works, the authors and their collaborators wish to inspire Philadelphians to be curious about the city and explore its varied spaces and history. They are largely interested in lesser known or obscured spaces and places – those that are “hidden” in one way or another from our direct view and experience. The authors are not simply trying to disseminate their view of the city or a particular urban theory, but rather to encourage each of us to explore the city in more depth, with more curiosity, and in a more engaged way. The book makes an eloquent and concise case for us to pay more attention to the history of our built environment and to allow that history to inform our


future. They write: “From a material standpoint we can see and touch what others, long before us, have done and made. This encounter interrupts the dominant progressive nature of time, the incessant forward motion of contemporary life.” The book is approximately equally split between text and Joseph E. B. Elliott’s photographs, many of which were taken in conjunction with the two Hidden City Festivals. The excellent photographs never cease to be surprising, revealing the unique quality and character of a variety of Philadelphia spaces. Even the most diligent of urban explorers is not likely to have visited such a range of unique and meaningful places in the city. The photographs capture moments, often associated with the explorations of the places during the Festivals, but they also invite exploration. The images offer visual prompts to the reader, asking questions about our city’s past and its relation to our lives today. The authors argue that Philadelphia, due to its particular social, political, and especially economic, history, can be read in this way – as a city of infinite layers and living ruins – to a greater degree than other cities. They write, “In Philadelphia, even more than in other American cities, this frontier is, to those who know how to look, at once an unmarked victim of neglect, a legible tableau of urban history, and the raw material of the future.” The world constructed during the “long nineteenth century” is more visible here than in other urban areas, in part because our city did not have the wealth or will to tear it all down. As a result, the traces remain, as partially visible layers or components, as uninhabited ruins, and even as functioning (yet unseen) structures and infrastructure. There are times when the prose writing takes an almost poetic turn, in particular when discussing the layers of ruins that comprise a city. I found myself thinking of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities more than once while reading Finding the Hidden City. Calvino, in writing one of his poetic descriptions of Venice, writes, “But from these words you realize at once how Olivia is shrouded in a cloud of soot and grease that sticks to the houses, that in the brawling streets, the shifting trailers, the shifting trailers crush pedestrians against the walls.” Often, there is more than one side to a city, more than one set of social and economic conditions that created the urban fabric. The authors propose

the notion of a “nonmaterial ruin” for outdated or superseded social or political conditions that lie behind the ruins of physical urban fabric or infrastructure. We generally take for granted such nonmaterial ruins, and forget that we have a rich material inheritance in the form of our urban infrastructure. This inheritance is a gift from prior city residents. In this book about the urban fabric, stories of people are significant and provide context and depth to the observations of the layers and ruins that remain. The history of Girard College, the Wanamaker organ, Father Divine and the Peace Mission, and 21st century tool manufacturers all play a part in the narrative of the hidden city. The “hidden city” is really a city of accretions, one that is built over time and shaped by multiple and sometimes unpredictable forces. This is a counter-narrative to the idea of the city as a clean and fully formed finished product. A living city will always be partly hidden. We think of Philadelphia as an old city, but at least once in the book, there is a comparison to the urban fabric of Rome. It’s an interesting comparison and one that could actually be further explored through the dual lenses of “urban layering” and “living ruins”. We often think of Rome as a continually changing palimpsest and that reading is perhaps more easily made of that much older city. I won’t contest the idea that Philadelphia is unique among American cities, as the authors state. But in reading the book, I was struck that a similar approach to urban exploration and analysis might yield surprising results in other urban areas as well. Given the topic of the book, there is the danger that the writing could become nostalgic for a world that is no longer here, is no longer possible. But Finding the Hidden City largely avoids that pitfall, recognizing that the social, cultural, and economic conditions of the long nineteenth century were not necessarily “better”. They make a strong argument that the material inheritances we are fortunate to have from that time should be reimagined and given new life in the future of our city. ■ Todd Woodward, AIA is a Principal of SMP Architects and co-chair of the Context Editorial Committee.

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EXPRESSION

David Deifer and his camera are on constant alert for the "raw, unmediated energy that pulses on every street." He posts his photos @ccphilly and @daeufer and has over 33,000 followers. He was recently named by Curbed Philadelphia as one of the top ten "mustfollow Instagram accounts that capture Philly like never before."

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PHOTO: NATE HAMMITT

CIRA SKYGREEN

Erdy McHenry Architecture PROJECT: Cira Skygreen LOCATION: Philadelphia, PA CLIENT: Brandywine Realty Trust PROJECT SIZE: 52,000 SF PROJECT TEAM: Erdy McHenry Architecture (Architecture) Roofmeadow (Landscape Architecture) Tim Haahs & Associates (Structural Engineer) AKF (MEP Engineer) Pennoni (Civil Engineer) Beam (Lighting Consultant)

PHOTO: ALBERT VECERKA

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DRAWING: ERDY MCHENRY

DESIGN PROFILE

Cira Green was designed to address many of the deficiencies in urban public space planning, often envisioned as expansive open spaces blanketed with impervious pavement. Cira Green utilizes an innovative stormwater treatment system that allows the roofscape to reduce its own impact on the environment and create conditions for vibrant social, cultural, and economic interactions. The integrated blue roof and green roof technologies support expansive paved areas and dynamic programming while delivering hydrological performance equal to planting the entire roof. Annually, 700,000 gallons of stormwater that fall on Cira Green never meet a storm sewer. A novel aspect of the design is the coupling of extended detention cisterns located beneath permeable paving, with adjacent planted roof areas to creat a hydrologically integrated site providing enhanced runoff volume reduction, additional runoff rate reduction and water quality treatment, trains normally used in ground landscapes and

relies on evapotranspiration (ET) to achieve significant runoff volume reductions. The topography of the roof is designed to engage visitors, large portions of the roof deck are sited to facilitate views of the city. A folded meadow plane in the center of Cira Green creates a ramp to the existing 11th floor parking tier, allowing visitors to emerge from the parking garage into a lush green roofscape that opens up to vast views of the skyline beyond the main lawn. With direct views of the city, a terraced mound provides seating and intimate spaces for contemplation while sky gazing or enjoying the Schuylkill River waterfront. Cira Green tilts up towards University City while evoking a sheltered amphitheater creating a gentle hill that invites barefoot children to roll and romp in the grass. The park's shifting planes simultaneously generate a sense of protection and a desire to explore while calming the otherwise aggressive winds, typical of rooftop environments. â–

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SAMUEL S. FLEISHER ART MEMORIAL MASTER PLAN

Atkin Olshin Schade Architects

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Palumbo Park Studios Sanctuary Catharine Street Plaza New Studio Building Developer Partnership Project Existing PPA Parking Lot

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ILLUSTRATIONS AND RENDERINGS: ATKIN OLSHIN SCHADE ARCHITECTS

1 2 3 4 5 6 7


DESIGN PROFILE PROJECT: Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial Master Plan LOCATION: Philadelphia, PA CLIENT: Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial SIZE: 6 buildings, including a former boy's school, a re-purposed former funeral home and a church as well as a 20,000 square foot parking lot

The Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial master plan was a collaborative process led by Atkin Olshin Schade Architects and a committee of Fleisher board and staff members. The team was tasked with developing a 20-year vision for Fleisher’s South Philadelphia campus so that its physical assets were optimized to serve Fleisher’s mission of providing access to art for all. Spanning across Catharine Street the Fleisher campus is comprised of 6 buildings, including a former boy's school, a re-purposed former funeral home and a church as well as a 20,000 square foot parking lot. Key to the success of the planning effort was its deep inclusion of community input to shape the guiding principles for the development of the master plan, and its possible solutions to the shortcomings of the existing facilities and the evolving institutional needs. Understanding the community that Fleisher serves was paramount in beginning to assess the possibilities for the future of the existing campus. Through eight community meetings with a diverse range of stakeholders, including students, faculty, neighbors, donors, board and staff members, and civic leaders, the master plan team engaged the participants in structured deliberative conversations about Fleisher – their

perceptions of it, their current and potential relationship to it, and what might improve both of those. The resulting values-based principles became criteria for the development of the master plan by representing the common ground that reinforces stakeholders’ relationship with Fleisher and identifying areas for potential future focus and growth of the campus. The master plan team was presented with unique challenges. The campus serves 17,000 artists of all ages each year and swings between low and peak volumes of activity. The varied buildings, some of which are certified as historic, were acquired over time, and have been repurposed for art education. While the studios are generally considered warm and inspiring, the multiple buildings and entrances have sometimes been perceived as intimidating or confusing by newcomers and lack a welcoming exterior presence with the surrounding community. With the community meetings, peer institution research, and conditions assessment information, the team began an in-depth study of the programmatic needs for Fleisher’s present and future. An ideal spatial program providing appropriate space for all studios, necessary storage and support spaces, and improved public common

spaces and amenities for Fleisher’s historic Sanctuary was developed. The program focused on optimizing Fleisher’s existing facilities and opening the campus to the surrounding neighborhood through expanded public spaces and improved connectivity to the street. Atkin Olshin Schade Architects presented five planning options for Fleisher’s campus ranging from simple renovations to ambitious growth and development. The master plan team ultimately identified one scheme that most closely fulfilled Fleisher’s goals to further explore and refine. This scheme proposes a partnership with a developer in a long term ground lease arrangement to construct a new facility for Fleisher on the parking lot site with a large gallery opening out onto Catherine Street, purpose-built studios, and a roof terrace for open-air classes and community events; the proposed developer would also get to develop a symbiotic residential community facility on the remainder of the site facing Christian Street. Outside the buildings, improvements to Catharine Street, including widened sidewalks and new paving, will provide a unifying plaza for public gatherings, outdoor exhibits, and a welcoming entrance to Fleisher’s newly defined campus. ■ AIA Philadelphia | context | FALL 2017  31


DESIGN PROFILE EAST PARK CANOE HOUSE REHABILITATION

SMP Architects SMP Architects and a consultant team that includes Heritage Design Collaborative and BHG Consulting, Inc. designed the rehabilitation of the East Park Canoe House, a Spanish Mission Revival style building, designed by Walter T. Smedley in 1914. Located along Kelly Drive near Philadelphia’s famous boathouse row, the building is a contributing feature to the National Register District of Fairmount Park. The structure was closed in 2008 due to structural failures and suffered serious deterioration before renovation. The extensive exterior and interior rehabilitation project has restored the building to its original use as a boathouse. ■

LOCATION: Philadelphia CLIENT: City of Philadelphia Department of Public Property SIZE: 8,900 SF PROJECT TEAM: Architect: SMP Architects Heritage Design Collaborative (Historical Consultant / Structural Engineers) BHG Engineering (Mechanical/Plumbing/Electrical Engineers) Murphy Quigley Co. (General Contractor) General Asphalt Paving (Mechanical Contractor) Dolan Mechanical (Plumbing Contractor) Mulhern Electric Co.Holden (Electrical Contractor)

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PHOTO: SMP ARCHITECTS

PROJECT: East Park Canoe House Rehabilitation


DESIGN PROFILE THE FILLMORE PHILADELPHIA

EwingCole

PROJECT: The Fillmore Philadelphia LOCATION: Philadelphia CLIENT: Live Nation

The Fillmore Philadelphia, a former Ajax Metal Company building (circa 1893) has been adapted into a 40,000-square-foot., live music venue. The features of Philadelphia, the raw intensity of the existing factory, and the Fillmore’s legacy inspired the interior design, resulting in a contemporary entertainment destination. Ajax Hall provides a central location for non-concert events and also functions as the connector to the 2,500-capacity main event space. The Ajax Bar includes salvaged fire doors from the factory on the die wall, an array of overhead lights on “Fillmore Red” cords with Edison bulbs, and a liquor display made of antique mirrors and reclaimed wood shelving with mill finished steel pipe fittings. A 20-foot high feature art installation dubbed the “Fillmore Flag” made of hundreds of iconic Fillmore posters. The Fillmore contains the brand’s signature elements. The walls of the main event space are lined with the “Fillmore red” curtains, parted in places to reveal actual graff iti on the walls since it was abandoned in the 1950s. The Fillmore signature glass/chrome chandeliers are juxtaposed against the rusted steel roof trusses of the century-old factory. Behind the mezzanine is the Circle Bar which doubles as a more intimate, stand-alone venue with a capacity of 450 people, dubbed The Foundry. Wood and metal pieces of the original Ajax building were reused in the construction of the bar and furnishings. Within the Circle Bar is the best view of the factory’s iconic smokestack, which has been incorporated into the lounge environment as a signature design. ■

PROJECT TEAM: Core (Contractor) Bevan Lawson (Structural) BHG Consulting, Inc. (MEP) Powers & Company Historic Preservation (Historic Preservation) TriMark (Food Service) Clair Brothers (Audio/Visual)

PHOTO: BRAD MAULE

PHOTO: LIVE NATION

SIZE: 40,000 SF

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CONTEXT Fall - 2017  

From smell maps to cyborgs to the sublime, this issue considers how we engage with people and places in the urban environment and how we exp...

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