- Sacred Spaces Civic Places Event - with CICADA and St. James School
- Come visit us!
- Early Learning Gets Physical
- Architects Action Day 2017
- Shaping the Visitor Experience
- CICADA's Geoff Klein Receives Architectural License!
- Collaborative Firm Volunteer for Mixed-Use Building
- Celebrating 10th PARK(ing) Day Philadelphia
- We're Hiring!
- Kebony's Top 100 Architecture Firm Blogs
- Community Revitalization: How to Bring a Community Back from the Brink, In the Age of Gentrification
- Project HOME's Hub of Hope Doors Open January 2018
- Phase I of Rivera Recreation and Mann Older Adult Center Breaks Ground
- Mary Holland, AIA recently attended the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Summit in Washington, D.C. Here’s her takeaway
- Benchmark School INNOVATION SPACE Groundbreaking
- Dox Thrash House
- We're Hiring!
- Leverage 2018 Sponsorship and Gala!
- Celebrating the Challenge of Difficult Spaces
- NGBS Task Force
- Revitalizing North Central Philadelphia
- Philadelphia University Advancement Council
- Abandoned Woolworth + Leap of Faith = School for City Kids
- How You Make an Impact
- PennDesign Women in Architecture
- Passive House Designers
- Accessibility in Older Buildings
- Quality Child Care Space
- Analyzing Wall Assemblies
- Buildings As Radiators
Revitalizing North Central Philadelphia
North Philly Rising
Much has evolved over the years in North Philadelphia where Gilded-Age opulence and industry yielded to factory closings, poverty and crime. Making it great again is possible, but not easy. And so the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) pushes on with another herculean effort to revitalize a formerly forlorn neighborhood east of Temple University. The North Central Phase II rental housing development will be built by Shoemaker/Synterra with CICADA Architecture/Planning, Inc., as the designer.
This “infill” project weaves surviving remnants of the past with today’s gritty reality into a tapestry of future rebirth, safety and economic stimulation. Twenty-nine vacant parcels on nine, ultra-urban blocks will be transformed into 89 homes for families in 53 new rental buildings. The new buildings fit within a mix of occupied older rowhomes, vacant lots, other newly developed homes, playgrounds, churches, small businesses and parking lots. It’s like piecing together a giant puzzle… with complications. Conditions on the scene range from hazardous materials from former factories, to organic debris and as much as 18 feet of urban fill. Working from a preliminary concept by KSK Architects, CICADA’s team tackled the daunting task of meeting with project stakeholders, refining the design and fleshing out the myriad details and approvals.
Because the project is funded by PHA and HUD (U.S. Housing and Urban Development), stringent requirements impact each new piece of the puzzle. This makes things more interesting for Project Manager Daryn Edwards as he shepherds the tangle of parcels through reviews by City Zoning, Planning Commission, PHA and HUD. Other moving parts were juggled… alleys were moved, lot ownerships were sorted out, a few squatters were relocated. The goal: residences that meet contemporary standards for size and accessibility within a re-established rowhouse rhythm.
New rental housing ranges from single-family townhouses to larger, multi-family buildings that are accessible and visitable with community rooms to activate streets and discourage crime. CICADA worked with PHA and a tenants’ council to design urban, contemporary façades that look great next to existing rowhomes. Brick in varying earth-toned hues is complemented by angular siding panels and a sleek mix of window shapes. Fenced-in backyards will have lawns or concrete patios. On the inside, bedrooms, living rooms and spacious kitchens with modern amenities are brightened by daylight streaming in through windows on all levels.
Because of the project’s enormity, construction will be accomplished in waves during 18 months beginning in the spring of 2017. North Central Phase II is one small step toward PHA’s larger vision, and a giant leap for those who will live in this newly energized and vibrant community rising out of the blight of the past. And, it’s an opportunity for CICADA to deliver, on a grand scale, the promise of everyday, good design for everybody.