Perhaps you’ve wondered why residential projects tend to look so similar to each other from year to year and neighborhood to neighborhood. Maybe you think it’s laziness from the small pool of architects in town. Or perhaps you place it at the feet of the developers, who are just trying to make a few extra bucks. Both of those reasons are plausible, but we’d suggest that the market also plays a role here. Many buyers are looking for something that resembles another property that they’ve seen and liked, and some will push back against new and different designs. That disincentivizes many developers from pushing the envelope, and is another reason why we see so many new homes that look almost identical around town. On the 1000 block of S. Dorrance St. though, it’s a little on the nose.
Thankfully, that design fell out of favor about half a decade ago and we hardly see any new construction with stucco bays anymore. Stucco has been replaced by cement board and metal panels on bay windows, which you would probably agree is a step in the right direction. A fine example of this can be found at 2337 Emerald St., a new home that recently sold for $365K.
We actually covered this property about half a year ago, as it was just getting framed. At the same time, we told you about a rather unique home across the street, at 2401 Emerald St., which was a little further along and looked like it was going to be quite unique. It’s getting close to the finish line, and we can now say for sure that it’s one of the more unusual new homes around.
Rusted corrugated metal! That weirdly shaped bay! Those circular openings in the back! Yeah, this place is something. Back when it was just framed out in wood, we said that it reminded us of a ship in some way, and we feel even more strongly about that today. Incidentally, this building isn’t listed for sale, and we have a feeling that the owners are building it for themselves.
Next door, at 2003 E. York St., you’ll notice there’s construction fence and a new hole in the ground. A new home will soon rise here, and we’d be willing to bet it will be a garden variety new construction home. But who knows, perhaps the developer will be inspired by the atypical home next door and go for something a little different. Maybe this home will set off a chain reaction that leads to a golden age of creative residential architecture in Philadelphia! More than likely though, we’ll continue to see more of the same for reasons outlined above.