Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hillman Medical Center

Developed by the John Buck Company, The Sidney Hillman Medical Center at 2116 Chestnut Street was designed by Magaziner & Polss in 1950 for members of the Male Apparel Industry Union.

As historic societies across the nation scramble to preserve classically historic landmarks, such as The Church of the Assumption at 11th and Spring Garden, amidst a recession that deems many buildings obsolete, most mid-century Modernist structures are at an even greater threat of being demolished.

I like the proposed height at the site, and new development on Chestnut Street is badly needed. New residents in this area may even generate the momentum needed to restore the Boyd. The most logical compromise would be to preserve the Hillman as the base for a new apartment tower.

Proposed apartment tower at 21st and Chestnut, at the site of the Sidney Hillman Medical Center

Unfortunately Modernist buildings such as this one are not yet popularly recognized as historic, and many a passerby would probably wonder why anyone would even bother saving something so classically ugly. The same sentiments historically attributed to Hale and Furness have more recently been applied to these Modernist and Brutalist designs.

Sidney Hillman Medical Center

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