The Secret Life of Buildings: Gilded Era Landmarks in Philadelphia

From the 1870s to 1910, Philadelphia flexed its industrial muscles, generating a new class of elites: Robber Barons, railroad and steel magnets, real estate developers, and business tycoons. Eager to display their wealth, they engaged the leading architects of their day to design lavish estates and palaces of culture to rival those of Europe. Come…

The Secret Life of Buildings: Reading Terminal Market

According to the Philadelphia Visitors Bureau, the most popular Philly tourist destinations are Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and Reading Terminal Market. What lures 6 million visitors a year to this historic marketplace at 1136 Arch St., putting it on par with Les Halles in Paris, the La Boqueria in Barcelona, and Pike Place Market…

The Secret Life of Buildings: Philadelphia’s Iconic City Hall

Philadelphia’s City Hall commands attention. Placed at the crossroads of Broad and Market Streets, it serves as an architectural compass, dividing the City into north, south, east, and west. Walking through its monumental archways inspires awe. Driving around it requires Indie 500 skills. No other American city has such a colossal building that, literally, stops…

The Secret Life of Buildings: Beaux-Arts Architecture

Philadelphians often refer to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway as being our very own “Champs-Elysees.” They are not mistaken. The Beaux-Arts style of this grand boulevard was borrowed directly from Baron Haussmann’s 19th-century urban renewal of Paris.  We invite you to go back in time, to understand how the Beaux-Arts movement came to become part of…

The Secret Life of Buildings: The Philadelphia Trinity House

One of Philadelphia’s most unique architectural features are its trinity houses located on charming alleys and picturesque side streets. How did they get here? And why are these tiny homes so coveted? We took a deep dive into our City’s history to find out.

The Secret Life of Buildings: Mid Century Modern Philadelphia

The Philadelphia skyline changed dramatically from 1940 to 1970, creating over 400 significant mid-century modern buildings. Designed by the great architects of their day, these bold buildings reflected a dynamic change in the way we live. Here is a guide to some of our City’s best surviving examples of mid-century modern design.

The Secret Life of Buildings: Banking on Architecture

From neoclassical architecture to mid-century modern, many of Philadelphia’s finest buildings were originally designed as financial institutions. In recent decades, these majestic architectural structures have been repurposed in unexpected ways. We invite you to take a tour of former banks that are great examples of adaptive reuse, where you may now partake in dinner for two, host a wedding, or even invest in a unique condo.

The Secret Life of Buildings: Philadelphia’s Last Surviving Theatres

Theaters are a measure of a City’s vitality. They are also weather vanes of constantly shifting cultural trends. In both regards, Philadelphia theaters have withstood the test of time. Here are a few that are noteworthy for both their architecture and their role in shaping our City’s history.