118 North Broad Street
Now this is some serious shit. This gem has stood the test of time and proved that good shit is good shit is good shit. Just look at that motherfucker.
In 1845, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the oldest Art Museum and School in America was having problems. They had this great spot on the 1000 block of Chestnut Street but they had endless financial problems that were almost causing the school to close. On top of that, their buildings kept fucking burning down. They had to build revenue-producing buildings fronting Chestnut Street so they could have the money to save the school and rebuild it. The venture was so successful that in 1870 they sold their property and second building while it was hot so they could build a Kick-Ass Awesome Fireproof Mega-Fortress of Doom at their new property they just bought at Broad and Cherry Streets.
They called on the architectural stylings of the Commandant of Incredible Curiosities, Frank Furness, to design the most Cocktacular Superstructure of Brick Succotash possible at the time. It took SIX YEARS to build this relatively small building, filling the facade with so many architectural details you have to see it to believe it.
PAFA took a huge risk with this building. They had to rent space in other office buildings and conduct their school while this castle was being built. Imagine being one of the Art students that got fucked by this... didn't get to enjoy the courtyards of the old building and didn't get to enjoy the beautiful architecture and details of the new building. Also, some extremely prescient board members of the Academy were against the move because they somehow KNEW that North Broad would be a pile of shit once it got cut off from the rest of the city after the building of City Hall.
Once the building was completed and opened just in time for the Centennial, PAFA became the Art School with the coolest fucking education building and museum you can find. Decades passed and the building's crappy location on North Broad both kept it safe from demolition and kept it unnoticed by generations of Philadelphians and tourists who didn't even know it was there. By the time this Fortress of Fucktitude was reaching 70 years old, most of the facade had been painted over or cracked off. The cool ass statue over the door had deteriorated down to a Henri Mooresque form and was removed. Facing a major car thoroughfare managed to stain the facade to an almost black. By the time it was 90, the facade was so entirely fucked up that the school/museum knew they'd have to light a fire up their own asses and get restorin' for the Bicentennial. They called on architect Hyman Meyers (great name) to fix THIS:
|1965. You think this is bad? Wait until 777 South Broad is 89 years old.|
As many Philaphiles know, this Temple of Tyranny is now being reflected by the glass facade of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Expansion and is in the process of another restoration and the addition of Lenfest Plaza, the school/musuem's first courtyard since 1870:
|Frank Furness is seeing this in Valhalla and saying "What the FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUuuuuuuuu..."|
|Plaza progress. Hurry up, you bastards!|