Changing Skyline: New Cheesecake Factory At 15th And Walnut: A Creamy-Rich Glass Box

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Ph...

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Photograph, not copyrighted Ed Yakovich http://www.flickr.com/photos/10396190@N04 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What kind of building do you get when you cross the über-cool, urban minimalism of the Apple stores with the indulgent, diet-busting excess of the Cheesecake Factory restaurants?

Would you believe an architectural confection that is as visually sublime as it is intellectually rich?

I’ll admit that when I first heard that the popular suburban temple of caloric overload was touching down at 15th and Walnut Streets, the news didn’t exactly stoke my appetite for good design.  I imagined a generic box, done up in flat, lifeless stucco the color of American cheese, elbowing its way onto a corner that has been occupied for the better part of a century by three ordinary, but charming, commercial buildings.

But the architecture gods have smiled on Philadelphia.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/home/20130308_Changing_Skyline__New_Cheesecake_Factory_at_15th_and_Walnut__A_creamy-rich_glass_box.html

Holiday Tour Highlights Pottstown’s Finest Historic Buildings

POTTSTOWN — Despite a light rain that insisted on sticking around throughout the day, small groups of people took to the sidewalks throughout the borough Sunday for Pottstown’s 26th holiday historic building tour.

The Historic Pottstown By Candlelight tour was a hit again, with hundreds turning out to visit 20 century-old homes, churches and businesses that they might otherwise never notice.

“This house tour, if I’m going to say anything, brings out the positive of Pottstown,” said Sue Krause, a chief organizer of the event. “You drive by these places and you’d never know how lovely they are inside.”

By Sunday, more than 200 advance tickets were sold. The record for the event stood at around 313 several years ago — a reachable goal by the end of Sunday.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20121210/NEWS01/121209424/holiday-tour-highlights-pottstown-s-finest-historic-buildings#full_story

Reading Neighborhood Named Historic District

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After four years of work, it’s official: The Heights Conservation District in northeast Reading has been approved by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission as a historic district.

But one with a kinder, gentler set of rules that now can be implemented.

“It’s a very huge sense of accomplishment,” said Amy Johnson, the city’s historic preservation specialist who worked with the neighborhood organizing committee and the museum commission.

The district is composed of College Heights, Hampden Heights and the areas around them. It’s bounded by Oak Lane and Robeson, Rockland and 13th streets, and includes most of Hampden Park.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=420978

Lancaster City Hires New Arts Manager – The Goal: Make Lancaster “A Significant Arts Destination”

Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray has made the arts part of Lancaster City’s newly revised strategic plan.  Lancaster is to become a significant arts destination.  Evidence of the arts momentum in Lancaster is the hugely successful First Friday’s and the increasing amount of public art appearing throughout the city.  The goal is for much more. 

Making Lancaster more aesthetically pleasing will enhance the quality of life for city residents and give tourists another reason to come to Lancaster County; other than riding around in tour buses staring at the Amish, eating at Shady Maple and shopping at the Rockvale Outlets.  A trip to Lancaster County is not complete until one thoroughly immerses one’s self in the historic City of Lancaster (i am a former city resident who walked to Central Market to grocery shop every week).

So how does one go about turning this vision into a goal and then into a reality?  First, one gets a $200,000 grant from the Lancaster County Community Foundation that will pay the Arts Manager’s salary for three years.  Secondly, find a great candidate like John Lustig and hire him away from Indiana State University where he was the Curator and Director of the university’s permanent collection (valued at $45 million with 7,000 pieces of art).  Finally, support him and allow him to do his job (which by all accounts will happen).

John is a doer.  On his first day, John wrote up a letter of intent for a grant from National Endowment of the Arts.  The deadline was midnight and John worked until 9:30 p.m. to make sure Lancaster would be in the running for this funding.  Impressive first day!

Lustig will be jumping on an arts bandwagon that is already going strong in Lancaster.  His role will be to kick things up a notch and bring more community attention to the arts scene.  John will also be learning what other cities are doing to fund their arts programs and report back his findings.  This information will help city officials find creative ways to fund public art projects without reinventing the wheel or breaking the bank.

John is excited about finding an iconic piece of art that will come to be identified with Lancaster (like the LOVE statue is to Philly, the “arch” to St. Louis or the Statue of Liberty with NYC.)  Public art is a very broad term that can be applied to more than sculpture and murals.  Lustig also considers things like architecture, design, commercial signs and audio clips played in a public space as art.  Creativity exists in all things man-made.  Maybe he has a twin brother who would like a job in Pottstown!?!

Just another reason to heart Lancaster!

Historic Pottstown Annual Holiday House Tour 2010

The Historic Pottstown Neighborhood Association is proud to sponsor its annual holiday house tour, Historic Pottstown by Candlelight on Sunday, December 12, 2010. This event showcases some of Pottstown’s most treasured architectural wonders both on the outside of these properties as well as their interiors. Come and enjoy our tour to see what Pottstown has saved from the past and kept for the future.
$12.00 Ticket includes:
Victorian Tea presented by the Doe Club at the Pottstown Elks from 12noon-2pm.
All homes and buildings on the tour are open from 1pm-6pm.
Model train display.
Free trolley transportation for all ticket holders.
Free refreshments to ticket holders.

For ticket information or if you are interested in having your home open for our annual holiday house tour, please contact Sue Krause at (610) 323-2229.