Drexel’s URBN Center | Complete Streets debate | 19th Street Baptist Church update | tourism marketing | North Broad revival

Happy (Cyber) Monday, Streeters. After taking a Thanksgiving holiday we are back to business here at Eyes on the Street this morning, so without further ado, your Monday morning Buzz:

MS&R’s adventurous adaptation of Venturi Scott Brown’s Institute for Scientific Information is one of the city’s most “thrilling new designs,” writes Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron. Now called the URBN Center (named because Urban Outfitters founder Richard Hayne acquired the building for Drexel), the building is the new home for Drexel’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design. Inside Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown’s “decorated shed,” spaces are organized around a new atrium, connected by a maze of stairs and catwalks. “The rough industrial aesthetic and free-flowing spaces, in which open classrooms blend into corridors, provide a perfect setting for creativity and collaboration.”

In Friday’s Daily News, bike grump Stu Bykofsky and avid biker Holly Otterbein playfully debated the new Complete Streets bill and they even agreed on an improvement to the law: “Philadelphia should adopt legislation that allows bikers to react to stop signs like yield signs, and red lights like stop signs,” Otterbein suggested, taking a page from an Idaho law.

PlanPhilly’s Alan Jaffe checked in on efforts to stabilize Furness & Hewitt’s 19th Street Baptist Church, buying time to develop preservation solutions for the church in Point Breeze, and Penn’s role in developing technical repair methods. Faculty and students from Penn’s historic preservation program and Architectural Conservation Lab are studying the church’s condition and developing technical solutions for reattaching building’s serpentine stone cladding. ““We have plenty to offer and there’s much we can do with the resources we have. There certainly isn’t a more needy case,” said professor Frank Matero.

Philly tourism needs more money for marketing campaigns, the Inquirer editorialized Sunday. Even though state funding has increased a bit, “tourism marketing funds here and across Pennsylvania remain millions short of earlier levels – about one-third less than what’s needed to maintain tourism as an important economic engine.”

And in case you missed it in last week’s holiday rush, be sure to check out NewsWorks’ fabulous special about North Broad Street, with features on the Divine Lorraine, work to revive the Uptown Theater, North Broad’s golden age, the fate of the Freedom Theater, and more. Listen to the whole show.


The Buzz is Eyes on the Street’s morning news digest. Have a tip? Send it along.

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