Chestnut Hill Local

October 3, 2017
Ronchamp Best Version 2


Ronchamp Chapel – Le Corbusier – Architect   It used to be mandatory for architects to make The Grand Tour of the great buildings and ancient […]
April 6, 2016
You changed my life forever-kaws

You Changed My Life Forever

“You changed my life forever.” A student’s comment at the Cook-Wissahickon School at the end of my lecture. On February 11th, 2016, I had the pleasure of […]
December 9, 2015
benajmin franklin tower

Benjamin Franklin Tower Competition

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN TOWER COMPETITION Centennial Tower, 1,000 feet high, was proposed to commemorate the 100th birthday of the United States. The Tower was to be erected […]
October 28, 2015


It is a fundamental truth that complex structures always evolve from simpler components. Such is the history of the universe and all that lies within it. […]
May 5, 2015
Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao

Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao

In 1998 on a trip to Spain, I saw Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (bill-bow as in bow-wow). I had seen photographs of the titanium, […]
April 28, 2015


Although I have had the privilege to know or meet a handful of the 20th century’s great architects, furniture designers, and landscape architects such as Louis […]
March 18, 2015
Chestnut Hill Hotel's British Connection

Chestnut Hill Hotel’s British Connection

In the fall of 2008, Ron and Abby Pete, the then new owners of the Chestnut Hill Hotel, contacted me to redesign the hotel’s exterior and […]
March 17, 2015

Encounters with Philip Johnson

World-renown American architect, Philip Johnson (1906-2005) graduated Harvard with a degree in Philosophy in 1930 and that same year, at age 24, became the founding director […]
March 9, 2015
Faulkner and Beardsley in Black and White

Faulkner and Beardsley in Black and White

William Faulkner, the great American author from Oxford, Mississippi, is best known for his novels, short stories, plays, and poetry. So, naturally, I was startled a […]
December 26, 2014

Surviving Turkey: 15 days in Istanbul

“ARE YOU NUTS? Going to Turkey . . . now?” That was the reaction from almost everyone I heard from when, in September of this year, […]
September 12, 2013
What's Up With Libeskind?

What’s Up With Libeskind?

Every morning I receive an email from a company called ArchDaily that sends architectural news to thousands of architects worldwide. Yesterday, one of the featured projects […]
August 22, 2013
Taking Photographs In Art Museums

Taking Photographs In Art Museums

A few days ago I meandered through the art-packed galleries of the Barnes Foundation on the Parkway. I had visited the original museum many times when […]
August 17, 2013

Barber Shop on Telegraph Hill

My son, Aaron, was in his early thirties when he flew to San Francisco twenty-some years ago to visit an old friend from Philly. After dinner […]
August 14, 2013

Bones & Granite: An Afternoon in Laurel Hill Cemetery

Laurel Hill Cemetery, founded in 1836, sits high above the eastern bank of the Schuylkill River offering a bird’s eye view of the Strawberry Mansion Bridge […]
November 9, 2012

Architect Günther Domenig: Troubled Genius

Günther Domenig was a little-known but important Austrian architect who died in June of this year. I emailed him in 2005 when I was working on […]
December 22, 2011

The Minds Eye

In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Helena declares, “Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind.” Shakespeare, so perspicacious about so many subjects, could […]
November 4, 2011

Hadid In Motion

Several weeks ago I went to see the Zaha Hadid exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Perelman Center. My experience was troubling. Hadid is an […]
August 18, 2011

The Art of Desiging A Porch

Germantown, Mount Airy, and Chestnut Hill are graced with an abundance of old porches, which fall into a broad category of architectural spaces I call Outdoor […]