Building on Berks Achieves Peak Metal Panel Status

When a contractor builds a new (low rise) structure, they first frame out the building in wood, then they sheath the building in plywood or zip board (the green sheathing you see around town), and finally they clad the building with the stuff you see on the outside when it’s done. Probably the common choice for facade cladding in Philadelphia is brick, with accent materials thrown in for architectural interest, and/or because they’re cheaper than brick. A decade ago, stucco was used extensively, with stucco bays being the defining feature of countless “Graduate Hospital Specials.” More recently, we’ve seen a trend toward other materials, with composite aluminum panels being one of the most popular choices in town.

And don’t get us wrong- these panels are a fine material! They’re durable, reasonably priced, and look better than several alternatives. But from where we sit, they’re at their best when used an an accent. Put differently, we wouldn’t expect a developer to go with a plan where these metal panels are the primary cladding material for a new building. You can probably see where this is going…

Over the summer

Several months ago, we told you about an addition at 1851 Germantown Ave., where developers were adding a couple stories onto an existing one-story building, with plans for a day care on the first floor and 6 apartments on the upper levels. Framing was just getting started at that time, so we didn’t know what the finished product was going to look like. We definitely couldn’t have predicted it would look like this:

View on Berks
From the south

Not sure there’s much else to say, this building kind of speaks for itself.

  • Vieux Pays

    ACM panels . . . Made famous by the Grenfell Tower

  • James Goodwin

    This is a very interesting design and this has the potential of setting a groundbreaking challenge as more developers converge on-the area.

    Last picture shows an auto repair shop with a design from 1970 when it was built by ARCO (Atlantic). I’m sure very tempting offers will be made for the site.

  • FrancisvilleMgmt

    Wow! Enjoyed the headline title.

  • EvilGnome

    “Design by dartboard” as in… it looks like they threw darts at a rendering to decide which panels would be which color.

  • qguy

    Looks like something out of a SpongeBob episode

  • CH^2D

    We need a moratorium on aluminum composite panels until we can figure out what’s going on…

    • haha! “until we figure out what’s going on…” 🙂

  • MadHungarian

    Reminds me of dazzle paint schemes used to camouflage WW2 warships.

  • Nick George

    Gross, please leave this tasteless garbage on the west coast, philly deserves better.