Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Stantec's Tower Back to the Drawing Board

Brickstone Realty Corp's proposed residential tower behind Lit Brothers was sent back to the drawing board by the city's Historical Commission. While Stantec's design was deliberately bland, not to take attention from Lit Brothers' historic façade, it was too bland for the Historic Commission.

While Brickstone's tower is deliberately boring, it's hard to know what the commission expects. The commission is notorious for green lighting the demolition of Philadelphia's historic landmarks despite its namesake. It may be sophomorically attempting to diffuse blowback from decisions at the Church of the Assumption and the Boyd Theater, hoping for a tower behind Lit Brothers that echoes its aged façade.

Fortunately the commission has no issue with the height considering Market East's lagging development. As one of the area's few historic landmarks, Lit Brothers deserves the utmost historical consideration, but Brickstone's bland tower may have been its most respectful.

The Historical Commission's unfamiliarity with the architectural history it's charged with protecting may be reflected in this decision, in that this tower is behind Lit Brothers, not on top of the historic landmark.

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