Friday, January 13, 2012

Update!!! -- January 14th

                      Hello, this is Robert Stack. I've risen from the grave so that you can read this in my voice. Play this youtube video for the appropriate background music:

Update!! After many decades, The Mercantile Liblotary is now going to be restored to its full original configuration. Expect a boring short-ass glass wall that will be hailed as the greatest architectural achievement ever.

Update!! The Butt-Fugly Sidney Hillman Medical Center has been destroyed!!!! HUZZAH!!!!! Construction of a new apartment highrise is planned for this March. This project will be putting the big cranes back in air in this city!!! Way to get two birds stoned at once!! 

Update!! Only one day after the article about the CHoP Hole was posted, it was reported that construction of a 500,000 square foot Outpatient Care Center will be starting soon and that the massive hole is for a 5 story underground parking garage.

                      There are still many unsolved Mystery Buildings that need your help. For every development, there's someone, somewhere, who knows the truth. Perhaps that someone is reading this. Perhaps... it's you. If you have any new or extra information relating to articles posted at Philaphilia, write to us at You need not give your name.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Butt-Fugly Building of the Week-- January 12th

Meyerson Hall

210 South 34th Street

That's painful.
                    They teach architecture in this building? That's a goddamn atrocity!!! What in the motherfuck were they thinking? It looks like a shitty suburban hotel. This is wrong. This is just fucking wrong. There are just so many things you can say about a building as shitty as this one.. but the ultimate insult is to architecture itself.
                   This shitbag of a building was plopped here based on a comedy of errors. As part of the mid-1960's version Penn Master Plan (which has many a delicious Dead-Ass Proposal in it, I might add), a new building for the Fine Arts program would be built. The first idea was actually worse than what we have here... it was to build a 1960's-style addition to the Supermegakickasstastic Furness University Library building. That would have been a damn tragedy.
                    Luckily, it never happened. They instead chose the plot next door. For the design, the school wanted to use its starchitect faculty member/alumnus, Louis Kahn. You know, that guy who gets his assed kissed up and down by the world of architecture. Something went horribly wrong and Kahn didn't get the job. Instead, it went to the firm of one of the University Trustees: Stewart, Noble, and Class; the dickheads behind the prosposed-but-never-fucking-built Academy Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia.
                 They came up with a design that was based on Kahn's type of shit. Strangely, no one looked at the plans and said, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!". The motherfucker got built in 1967, and the oldest architecture program in America moved into one of the ugliest piles of brick and concrete in America. They made it a knock-off Kahn like those funny knock-off action figures you can get at the Italian Market.

Like this, but as a Louis Kahn building.
                Is it supposed to be a robot version of Castle Greyskull? I don't fucking get it!!!! I always thought the Guild House was the shittiest building in the city, but I think we have a new winner here. This is fucking ridiculous. I don't even need to tell you about the ugly sides and back of it. The front is bad enough.
                 In 1983, someone must have wanted to really piss off Professor Emeritus Martin Meyerson because in that year, this Hanging Gardens of Buttsmack got named after him. I bet they were like "Sorry, you old bastard."
                   It really is a damn shame that this donkeyshit is so close to one of Philadelphia's greatest buildings. Any time I want to check out the good ol' Furness Fortress now known as the Fisher Fine Arts Library,  I have to puke afterward due to the presence of Meyerson Hall. Fuck you, Meyerson Hall.

In 1990. God, it sucks.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lost Building of the Week-- January 11th

Philadelphia Home for Incurables (aka Inglis House I)

48th and Woodland Avenue

Willis G. Hale ain't nuthin' to... you know the rest.
                       Hey, if you're going to have an ailment that is incurable, a Willis G. Hale MegaMansion is the place to have it. This big-ass motherfucker is one of those structures you'd think would never go away, but alas, it is GONE. This is one of Hale's more forgotten masterpieces.
                   The origins of this crazy building are couched in the legendary story of Annie C. Inglis, an eighteen year old paraplegic girl that spawned a Willis G. Hale Gigastructure. Annie had what back then was called "spine disease" and was bound to a wheelchair her entire life. She became concerned about other paraplegics that were not born to a rich family like she was, and Annie's teenage years became consumed with planning a home for others that suffered as she did. Her plan came to be known as the Philadelphia Home for Incurables. Back then, people weren't pussies. They just called shit what it was.
Annie C. Inglis, from the age when teenagers could actually wanted to accomplish shit besides their dumbass twitter accounts.
                       The legend states that on her death bed in 1875, she gave the first one dollar donation toward the charity. On May 4th, 1877, the second anniversary of the day she died, the Home for Incurables was established. By November 8th of that year, the Home was in full effect with 15 patients in a rented mansion. By November 1878, the charity became one of the most well known and admired in the region. Since Annie was a member of the First Baptist Church, they took a big role in raising funds for the Home.
                   They raised the ducats so quickly that the organization was able to purchase the five-acre block across the street from their rented home for $5,500 and get the Badass of Badasses, the King of Kick-Assitecture, the Victorian Beastmaster, Willis G. Hale, to design their new $25,000 facility.
                 Hale just assumed the patients were incurable because they could not will masonry from their fingertips like he could. He was like, "Those poor souls!"and whipped up this awesome building design for them in like 7 seconds. In November 1880, only five years after that first dollar, this monster was officially opened with a gala event.
                 The Home was a piece of magnificence. Fairmount and Dorchester stone in the facade, red and buff Akron tiles on the roof. It had high tech shit like direct steam radiation and an elevator. The ventilation and lighting systems were so badass that they had their own fucking patents!
                  The Home for Incurables became a huge success. A $37,000 Children's Building was built in 1895 and a $60,000 Men's Cancer Annex was added in 1905.

With non-Hale additions.
                  By the 1920's, the five acre campus, which seemed so huge in the past, was becoming too small for the Home's needs. That, and the neighborhood was going to shit. In 1927, the 50th anniversary of the organization, The Philadelphia Home for Incurables moved to a HUMONGOUS building at 2600 Belmont Avenue and still exists there today. They changed their name to Inglis House in 1981.
                 The demolition date of this juggernaut is unknown. It stood vacant for decades after the Home moved and shows up as a vacant property in the 1942 WPA map. By time the 1960's rolled around, it was GONE and replaced with Comegys Park. I don't know who the fuck Benjamin Comegys was but he has a lot of shit named after him in this particular neighborhood.
                 This building is a reminder that a lot of Hale's greatest shit is looong gone. Shit. 

Fuck Ben Comegys. It should be called Hale Park, Inglis Park, or better yet, Incurables Park.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

For the 200th Post...

Alright motherfuckers... Philaphilia's 200th Post will be bringing some changes to the Earth's Greatest Blog . Empty Lots and Dead-Ass Proposals will be moving to Tuesdays (therefore switching Butt Fugly Buildings and Art to Thursdays) and will be published at the Citypaper's Naked City Blog.... starting today!!!

Here it is!!!!

-GroJLart, King of Philadelphia and France.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Old-ass Building of the Week-- January 9th

Lasher Printing Company II

1309 Noble Street

                       This is the building right here. One of my favorite buildings in the whole city, and that's saying something. The great gem of the Loft District... arguably the best building it has to offer. The Lasher Printing Company Building will make you a true believer in the Eraserhood and the Reading Viaduct. Just look at that shit. THIS is how you make a concrete building, modernist motherfuckers!
                       This beastoid is like the Art Deco sequel to the Jayne Building, the first building featured by Philaphilia. Its awesome facade is emblazoned with colorful shapes from the brief period of Native American design influence. Its location in a weirdly isolated place among major streets gives it an air of mystery. This thing KICKS ASS.
                       Look at that fucking tower up top. I don't what the purpose of that thing was and I don't give a shit. Its awesome! Something cool about the building that you can't see in that crappy picture above is that it has these cool-ass curved balconies running up and down on both sides.
                      George F. Lasher was a badass. This guy started as a crappy Notary Public as a young man and by the time of his death had a printing empire running out of the first Lasher Printing Company Building at 147 North 10th Street, along with a number of factories and commercial buildings he had built in the meantime. Plans for expansion of the printing company into a larger building had begun before his death, but it was his successor that was able finally get it built.
                     At the time, all kinds of printing houses and large factories were being built up North Broad Street. This was the area were the new printing monolith would go. For the design, he went to Phillip Tyre, Juggernaut of Art Deco Megatecture. Tyre had been a student of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts down the street so he knew that a cool building was supposed to look like. By 1928, the Great Castle of Callowhill was born.
                   Through the mid and late 20th Century, Lasher and other printing companies printed a shitload of literature of different types that got distributed all over the world. Shit, even Working Mother Magazine was being printed there. At the tail end of the century, other types of companies came in, most notably a sporting goods manufacturer.
                    In 1999, a Brooklyn-based realtor bought the place and sort of half-renovated it. In the mid 00's there were rumors of it being turned into loft apartments like other buildings in the appropriately-named Loft District, but that never panned out. The building ended up becoming another telecommunications carrier hotel just like the behemoth across the street. This sexy bitch finally got historically certified in 2004.

"I'm huge!!"
                    As much as I love this building, I can see how it might not work as a residential property. First, its hard to get to by car unless you're driving north on North Broad Street. Noble Street only runs East and is attached to the Reading Viaduct when crossing 13th Street. Second, the Terminal Commerce Building makes a assload of deafening noise pretty much 24 hours a day. That would get annoying after awhile.
                  One day in the future when the Reading Viaduct becomes the best elevated park in the world (and it will), Noble Street is where the Broad Street entrance will be. A half-assed version of that park currently stands there, covered in rocks and shit. Once that park becomes a reality, hopefully someone will take the old Lasher Building and restore the fucking balls out of it. The facade is a little beat-up looking nowadays; the bold colors are peeling and chunks of concrete are falling off. Restore! Restore!!!!!!!