bay windows

With no help from Kate Pierson

October was our last visit to the 1700 block of Cecil B. Moore Avenue, when two new buildings were finished up and a few more were on the way. At the time, we remarked on the inclusion of "commercial space," as required by the zoning code, but speculated that based on the design the developers never intended for businesses to open but instead would eventually convert those spaces to apartments. We still think that seems likely.

But we're not here today to think about the future of these buildings. No, we're here to make fun of some shiny bay windows.

Wowza

On the plus side, at least they went with Temple colors, sort of.

Failed attempt at something interesting

Bay windows are wonderful, in theory. They give homes a little extra square-footage, and they inject facades with extra personality. And they come in all shapes and sizes. In the past, we've taken a careful look at the bay window situations in Graduate Hospital and then again in Northern Liberties/Fishtown. The other day, while in Fishtown, we came upon four homes that were built in the last few years that we've somehow never seen before. The bay windows for these homes, located on the 2300 block of E. Dauphin St., are really, er, something.

Not our style

What do you think? Are you likewise wondering what they were thinking? Or are we just overreacting?

Though we think people give it a little too much credit, the classic Philly row home has proven to be a timeless architectural choice in our fair town. Throw up some bricks, some stone lintels, and a cornice, and you probably won't win any design awards but nobody will complain either. It's with bay windows, sometimes innocuous and often beautiful in hundred-year-old homes, that modern architects seem to have a little more trouble. We've studied this phenomenon in both Graduate Hospital and Northern Liberties, heaping praise where it's due and dishing out criticism perhaps a little more frequently.

Just when we thought we'd seen it all, we came upon 2315 Coral St. in East Kensington. What a wonderful feeling to be reminded that there's always something new and different out there!

Omg

This property is currently listed on the market for just under $315K. The home has about 1,800 sqft of living space, spread over 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. Hardwood floors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances etc are also mentioned in the listing for this home, which replaces a long vacant lot.

Every now and then, despite our best efforts, we don't get the facts right. And usually in such cases, we find the need to come clean, eventually. Which is what we're doing right now. Back in March, we told you about three new quadplexes that were about to go up on the 1800 block of N. 17th St., across the street from a series of new student housing units that have been built over the last couple of years.

In the past

Gosh, this is soooo embarrassing. Turns out, it isn't three quadplexes going up here. It's four quadplexes! All are being built by the same developer, ZMA One LLC, and the apartments are now for rent, despite the fact that the buildings are still not finished.

Current view

Our big regret at this time is that we still don't know the finish or the color for the bay windows for these new buildings. As you can see looking at the rest of the block, there's a combination of shiny metallic and a rainbow theme that makes the new construction here look a little different than some other boring new student housing you might find around the neighborhood.

Though there are fewer and fewer spots to be found for new construction in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood, developers are slowly tracking down the remaining lots and building with aplomb. And with a paucity of vacant lots in this neighborhood, we're seeing an uptick of late in rehabs of existing three story buildings. Today, we have updates on two projects we've told you about in the past, and some new info about a project we just noticed nearby.

First, we look at the corner of 19th & Kimball, where two new homes have progressed considerably since foundations were poured back in November. The homes, designed by Harman Deutsch, are a nice departure from the stucco bays next door, and we also appreciate the lack of garages, creating more eyes on the street. The developer here, you may recall, is also working on the former Saint Albans check cashing place just a few blocks away.

About a year ago, we checked in on the 1800 block of N 17th St., noting a series of new duplexes featuring shiny bay windows. A few months later, we checked back in on the same block, and told you about some more new construction on the block, this time with some colorful bays.

Shiny bays
Rainbow bays

Today, we've learned about three new quadplexes coming to this block, but across the street. ZMA One LLC pulled permits for three new buildings at 1816-20 N 17th St. back in January, and it looks like things are getting underway.

A reader checked in the other day, and gave us the heads up that construction activity was stirring at 1014-16 S. 19th St., two long-vacant lots near Washington Avenue. Since no zoning notices had been posted, the reader was assuming that the construction was by right, but was concerned about aesthetics, considering the surroundings.

The lots

Taking a peek at the handy L&I Map, we were able to determine that two new homes are indeed on their way to this address, designed by Harman Deutsch. Fortunately, it seems that these homes will not be garage front homes, ensuring additional eyes on this street.

This project is just one more in a string of completed, ongoing, and upcoming residential developments on the southern end of this neighborhood. Much of the housing stock was seriously deteriorated 'round these parts as recently as a decade ago, and the developers have reinvented blocks at a time, many making  some fairly regrettable architectural decisions in the process.

Last spring, we told you about six new duplexes going up on the 1800 block of N. 17th St., near the Temple campus. The other day, when we happened to be in the neighborhood, we noticed that these buildings have been completed in the intervening months. While they are fairly standard new construction homes, they do stand out when examined as a group:

Back in April
The other day

Red, green, blue, where's indigo?

So here's the lesson, builders: If you're gonna build six identical homes in a row, why not mix up the colors of the bays? At least it makes the homes a little more interesting to look at.

Just a thought...

Rosa Court, a seventeen home development on the 1300 block of Federal St., has always mystified us. Built about five years ago and designed by Landmark Architectural Design, these homes stick out big-time in an area that has relatively little one-off new construction activity, let alone new developments of this magnitude. The insides of the homes are pretty much standard fare for new construction these days, with hardwood floors, granite countertops, 3 beds, 2.5 baths, and about 2,200 sqft. The homes have a parking courtyard, including 1-2 car parking for each unit.

Here's a look at what these homes looked like a couple of years ago.

A reader tipped us off about the addition plopped onto 2017 Carpenter St., located on a mostly two-story block with a handful of three story homes thrown in for good measure in recent years. Only framed out to this point, and featuring an unexpected bay, it kind of sticks out from its surroundings.

Huh
Closer look

This home was purchased by developers in February for $155K, a sale that was made possible when the DA's office seized the property a couple of years ago for unknown criminal activities. Anyone have any more info on what kinds of activities led to this?

Hopefully, when finished, the addition will fit in a little better with its surroundings than it does now. And one more thing to keep in mind: We won't be seeing many like this in the future. If we understand the new Zoning Code correctly, third story additions on mostly two story blocks will have to be set back, as of this summer. A good thing? A bad thing? We shall see.

 

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