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I believe today in the light of these cities–and Philadelphia is one of those cities–that are growing, together with programmers anxious to construct new constructions and place people in various types of home, and the older buildings don’t lend themselves to this, so programmers are more reticent.

Talking about the numerous styles, how has the contemporary motion shaped Philly?

Philadelphia is the birthplace of urban modernism. You’d urban planning on the parkway, additionally Edmund Bacon, with Society Hill. All that has been trying to make society and the town better.

There are some fantastic examples of individuals using those buildings in ways that are new, while maintaining the integrity of those. Therefore it can be achieved; it’s somewhat harder than just knocking down it, but all of us think that it’s well worth it.
And if you understand that a part of the reason why you adore the city is the diversity, the individuals, and the architecture, then part of this is contemporary architecture. So therefore, you like architecture and you don’t even realize it.
At the time the city was doing so –around the midcentury–they hired notable architects like I.M. Pei to do the sorts of things which were so innovative at that moment. And they continue to be interesting visually, and to create a fantastic skyline for town.

The issue with a lot of Brutalism is they tried to make a lot of public spaces which are concrete and hard, and there is not a great deal of green there. Along with the structure that is living is greater, so these plazas are usually included. I feel reworked for the way we live and these buildings will need to be looked at. Maybe they need to be made a little greener, literally, with much more grass.
Macey told us about Docomomo’s efforts to conserve modern buildings in Philadelphia, the way the modernism lover will get involved, and why it’s important to check or at least reusing — those buildings.
About Docomomo is it is not only an organization of professionals, what’s good, it’s not a bunch of professors, it is just a bunch of individuals that are interested in learning about modernism.
Can you discuss Docomomo’s past efforts to preserve modern structures?
How do we work to preserve modern buildings in Philly?
What we’ve worked on lately is known as”One Construction, 1 Brew.” Basically, we are trying to make design a bit more enjoyable, so we’ve got a professional go to a contemporary construction –this week we did the PSFS building–and we tour this, and speak to folks who know about the building to go over its significance. Following that, we have a drink and go, so it’s a casual sort of affair.

And that has to do with schooling.

The city does not know what they want to do with it, and most men and women think of it ugly.

I think if you adore Philadelphia, you need to consider why you love Philadelphia, and then a part of what you do is that you start looking around.

Who are developers building these buildings for? Who are the clients? If a client says,”I really like this building, I want to maintain it,” then the programmer isn’t going to tear it down. So it’s not only developers, it is the mindset of what’s important and what is beautiful. Historical preservation is not just the developer’s duty but also of the client.
But from an advocacy point of view, probably the most critical thing we did, this past year, was we got together with the Preservation Alliance and the Chestnut Hill Conservancy, also aided file for its preservation of this Giurgola House (Editor’s note: Also known as the Shipley White House), that can be an important modernist home.

We do not wish to wait till the last minute. We wish to be proactive, and that is part of what we’re doing via our community. We wish to get to people before (demolition licenses ) happen.
Dan Macey: It’s an organization trying to conserve midcentury buildings, bringing attention to them, their structure, and their cultural importance.
We’re not anti-development. We are about preservation.

What is your advice to a modernism enthusiast who wants to get more involved with the preservation campaign?


Through G.W. Bromley’s 1910 Philadelphia Atlas/Google Earth
The Benjamin Franklin Parkway–from first renderings through now.

Part of what makes Philadelphia Philadelphia is that the diversity of its own buildings. Then the ethics and character of the town is also gone, if they look the exact same again.

If you look at a Brutalist building, you get a better impression than if you only write it off. I think it’s just that over time, lots of these buildings weren’t being used for what they were intended, or time has caught up with them. That is the question: Why are these buildings worth saving? I am not going to state every Brutalist construction is worth saving, but we need to look at saving some of these.
What are a few additional preservation projects Docomomo has undertaken?

Subsequently Docomomo is a great organization to belong to if it turns out that what you enjoy is buildings and modernism. So is your preservation alliance, as far as historical preservation moves. There are foreign groups that demand preservation .

What could you say to folks who think that way, composing off Brutalism too ugly or outdated?

Some people today say because the downtown was destroyed by it for a long time in Philadelphia, it was a failure, and several people say it has been revived. But that experiment stood.

The main point is that it turned into undesignated as prominent through the Department of Inspections and Licensing, which shouldn’t have authority over that. We’re attempting to work with the programmer to incorporate the structure to whatever they’re doing.

Could you talk about the chance of demolition to contemporary buildings in Philly?
Look to start with. And if you see an interesting structure, google it. Learn a little bit.

People say,”modern buildings aren’t comfortable” or even”modern furniture isn’t comfy.” That the criticism. But if you understand the aesthetic, they may be comfy.

There’s nothing new under sunlight, so all buildings currently learn from the past. There is modernism in what structure is performing integrated.
Philadelphia has a number of design, but when folks think about Philadelphia, they think of the Victorian fashion, and they believe”we need to preserve the colonial houses,” that is vital. But if you think about it, most are not due to the architecture, but since they are historically significant.

I believe part of our job is to make people understand that these buildings are not ugly, and anyway, if they are ugly can’t you conserve an ugly construction?

I believe part of our mission around the world would be to say”stop.” Also make developers more aware of what they’re doing, although not stop development, and also help these buildings are reused by them in ways which are practical in the present lifestyle.
I think you need to check at its intention and the construction — what it was built for. Through the years it has not lived up to its expectation.
We’re concerned about its owner, which is just another type of difficulty you can have when someone who owns a house gets old and can’t take care of it anymore neglecting it. So we have set it on the preservation record, which provides the historic designation to it, and it can not be torn down.
Frankly, they ripped parts of the town down to produce what they believed at the time went to be better for society. You may call it an experiment, if it worked or not–and also a great deal of people say it didn’t, since it generated concrete or brick pavilions and buildings.
Curbed: What exactly does Docomomo PHL do?
Notice: This interview was edited for clarity and length.

It was magnificent, if you take a look at pictures of this construction. It’d mosaics on the front, and it was a sort of party retail, of capitalism.
You could assert that we are the birth of modern skyscrapers due to the PSFS building, which was the first modern skyscraper, built in 1932. Who imagined that building could be iconic of what a skyscraper has become now? At the time, it was so innovative.