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  1. #1
    Phillyurban8 is offline Senior Member
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    Default New Parking Garage at Arch and Broad

    Yikes! I was somewhat hopeful when from Center Square the garage reminded me of the New York's Whitney museum but alas it's a stinker. Maybe using PennDot yellow as an accent wasn't such a good idea? The lower part with the shops steps forward of the main garage mass I assume to not block as much of the adjacent church, but it really makes the massing clunky. The material used to screen the garage levels looks like fabric -- fine if it could have been more taut.

    Another disappointment on Arch.

  2. #2
    BenDee is offline Senior Member
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    Eh, it's not great but it's also just a parking garage. The shade of yellow makes it look like the garage belongs to Hertz.

    The good thing is I believe completion of this garage is what has been holding up the boutique hotel across the street (no parking) from getting any permits/variances needed.

  3. #3
    CHIOSSO's Avatar
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    Arch and Broad hehehe
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  4. #4
    MarketStEl's Avatar
    MarketStEl is offline Will Work for Food, But Prefers Cash
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    I got to meet Messrs. Erdy and McHenry at the Frank Furness birthday party thrown by Hidden City yesterday, and this parking garage did come up in the discussion.

    I give them points for trying to do the impossible, which is to make a big box that's not terribly urban- or pedestrian-friendly both. The contributor who wrote our blog post on the garage liked the effect of the fabric screen, which I teased with this line:

    "And now, Erdy McHenry's latest magic trick: Watch this parking garage disappear."

    Of course, a structure this massive does no such thing. But the fabric wrap does, IMO, make the structure fade into the background, which is something an urban parking garage should do, ideally. Had it been a single flat plane parallel with the structure, it wouldn't have worked as well.

    Might a color other than bright yellow have accomplished the task the architects wanted more effectively? Good question.
    Sandy Smith, Wanderer in Germantown, Philadelphia
    Editor-in-Chief, Philly Living Blog - but all opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.
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  5. #5
    rojnish is offline Senior Member
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    Default Pinch-pleated parking garage?

    Wait....are you here to tell me that the fabric that is draped on the front of the parking garage is the final finish? And not just a covering to protect against work going on underneath? The original rendering appeared to have contemporary, pleated metal panels facing the building. Am I now to believe those pleated panels will be made of this gauze not unlike that which tented the Masonic Temple while they cleaned it? And the Basilica? And the Ben Franklin freakin-bridge? Please say it ain't so.

  6. #6
    mixiboi's Avatar
    mixiboi is offline Philly Remixed
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    Always read the small print *Renders do not represent final product
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rojnish View Post
    Wait....are you here to tell me that the fabric that is draped on the front of the parking garage is the final finish? And not just a covering to protect against work going on underneath? The original rendering appeared to have contemporary, pleated metal panels facing the building. Am I now to believe those pleated panels will be made of this gauze not unlike that which tented the Masonic Temple while they cleaned it? And the Basilica? And the Ben Franklin freakin-bridge? Please say it ain't so.
    I was thinking the same. It really looks like that fabric they drape buildings with to contain debris while doing facade restoration work.
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  8. #8
    Phillyurban8 is offline Senior Member
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    The architect got the massing wrong and misstepped from there. If the "fabric" were pulled taut, it would look decent but as it is now, the effect is messy.

  9. #9
    Tartan69's Avatar
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    That thing looks HORRID

  10. #10
    gumbela is offline Junior Member
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    I guess better than just a normal garage? some uplighting would go a long way here.

  11. #11
    Cro Burnham is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillyurban8 View Post
    If the "fabric" were pulled taut, it would look decent but as it is now, the effect is messy.
    I am wondering if the fabric will be pulled taught? Hopefully it will when the thing is finished and it will look a little better.

    Either way, I'm pretty sure fabric will not age well at all. I predict it comes down within five years as it gradually blackens and shreds in the wind.

    These developers (Realen) are not known for their concern for aesthetics, as is readily apparent from their nondescript apartment building at 23rd and Race, the garage at 15th & Vine, and other projects they have proposed over the years. My guess is the fabric was the absolute cheapest thing they could do to make the garage street frontage slightly more palatable than a completely gross cookie cutter garage (like the Vine Street one).
    Last edited by Cro Burnham; 11-15-2012 at 09:41 PM.

  12. #12
    MarketStEl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillyurban8 View Post
    The architect got the massing wrong and misstepped from there. If the "fabric" were pulled taut, it would look decent but as it is now, the effect is messy.
    Having now seen some of the non-pleated fabric covering being mounted on the Juniper Street side of the garage, I'm not sure I agree. I think that looks blander than the pleated Arch Street elevation - sort of like Christo without the color.
    Sandy Smith, Wanderer in Germantown, Philadelphia
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  13. #13
    phillydave is offline Junior Member
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    Just had my first look at the garage from the West from Center Square. Although I think we have plenty of murals in the city, this side really needs a mural or mosaic or something. The ugly grey exterior rising above and next to the church and Masonic Temple is just plain ugly and ruins the view east from West Market St. They should definitely do something to try and limit the ugliness next to these two beautiful and historic structures.

  14. #14
    MNG1324 is offline Senior Member
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    This garage looks like a crime scene....the yellow on the retail portion reminds me of a police road horse and the fabric is the body bag over this corpse of a building.

  15. #15
    MarketStEl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phillydave View Post
    Just had my first look at the garage from the West from Center Square. Although I think we have plenty of murals in the city, this side really needs a mural or mosaic or something. The ugly grey exterior rising above and next to the church and Masonic Temple is just plain ugly and ruins the view east from West Market St. They should definitely do something to try and limit the ugliness next to these two beautiful and historic structures.
    Is the garage that much taller than the Masonic Temple? Since most of its southern wall is blocked by said building, I'm not sure what sort of mural you'd put up there.
    Sandy Smith, Wanderer in Germantown, Philadelphia
    Editor-in-Chief, Philly Living Blog - but all opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.
    ""Jazz and blogging are both intimate, improvisational, and individual -- but also inherently collective. And the audience talks over both." --Andrew Sullivan, "Why I Blog," The Atlantic, November 2008

  16. #16
    MNG1324 is offline Senior Member
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    A mural there would be at an angle that wouldn't be seen by too many people.

  17. #17
    MarketStEl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MNG1324 View Post
    This garage looks like a crime scene....the yellow on the retail portion reminds me of a police road horse and the fabric is the body bag over this corpse of a building.
    I guess I'm going to become a contrarian on this building much as I am on New Boston City Hall, a Brutalist masterpiece I admire and most loathe.

    Most attempts I've seen to dress up parking garages tend not to make them look any less garagey, in my experience. The faux-townhouse front on the Rittenhouse's parking garage at 20th and Walnut is probably the most successful such attempt...

    ...and that is probably because it attempts to do what Erdy McHenry did here, which is to disguise it. But where the Rittenhouse garage is a piece of cross-dressing, the Arch Street garage is camouflage. I really do think that the architects' intent was to have the garage recede into the background, both by way of the setback and by way of the draping of the garage floors in gray fabric. Perhaps the big yellow stripe over the retail spaces subverts this effort, but I'm not so sure: it draws your eye to it and what's below it rather than to the big hulking cube above it. The big hulking cube, usually with slits, is usually the first thing your eye is drawn to with a garage.
    Sandy Smith, Wanderer in Germantown, Philadelphia
    Editor-in-Chief, Philly Living Blog - but all opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.
    ""Jazz and blogging are both intimate, improvisational, and individual -- but also inherently collective. And the audience talks over both." --Andrew Sullivan, "Why I Blog," The Atlantic, November 2008

  18. #18
    DCnPhilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
    I guess I'm going to become a contrarian on this building much as I am on New Boston City Hall, a Brutalist masterpiece I admire and most loathe.

    Most attempts I've seen to dress up parking garages tend not to make them look any less garagey, in my experience. The faux-townhouse front on the Rittenhouse's parking garage at 20th and Walnut is probably the most successful such attempt...

    ...and that is probably because it attempts to do what Erdy McHenry did here, which is to disguise it. But where the Rittenhouse garage is a piece of cross-dressing, the Arch Street garage is camouflage. I really do think that the architects' intent was to have the garage recede into the background, both by way of the setback and by way of the draping of the garage floors in gray fabric. Perhaps the big yellow stripe over the retail spaces subverts this effort, but I'm not so sure: it draws your eye to it and what's below it rather than to the big hulking cube above it. The big hulking cube, usually with slits, is usually the first thing your eye is drawn to with a garage.
    One thing about Erdy-McHenry is they make no bones about the fact that their buildings are there and they don't try to hide them. Obviously a parking garage is never going to be the best example of a firm's work, but as a necessary evil I think it works just fine. It's industrial, funky, and weird, which fits in with Center City's eclectic architecture. A lot of EM's buildings border on Brutalist, but the use of the curtain is very unique, and I like that it shows their architects are evolving. Say what you will about their buildings, and Boston's New City Hall for that matter, love them or hate them there's no denying that they're interesting to look at.

    I have to wonder though how the curtain will age. Parking garages are pretty low maintenance and it seems like a cost prohibitive element its owners might not want to deal with in a few years.

  19. #19
    mixiboi's Avatar
    mixiboi is offline Philly Remixed
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    whatever store or restaurant opens up below it will make or break that building...
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  20. #20
    DCnPhilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mixiboi View Post
    whatever store or restaurant opens up below it will make or break that building...
    Totally! One big restaurant would be really nice, even if it's a chain. But I can also see four or five nail salons and plastic souvenir shops trashing up the place. It's a weird location. It's convenient to the hotels and Convention Center but not being on major corner might make a significant business reluctant to set up shop.

 

 

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