Friday, October 06, 2006

NB to Kimmel Center: better get used to it, cause apparently it ain't gonna stop

In her review of Penn’s newest addition (which, incidentally, she calls Philadelphia's best new building in years), Inga Saffron lets it slip that she’s still hella-pissed about how egregiously the Kimmel Center effed the city.
Before we peek inside, a few words need to be said about the green bricks. Some Penn officials feared they were a radical choice that would ruin the effort to brand the university as an oasis of tradition, but the school's dean, Eduardo O. Glandt, insisted that a building devoted to bioengineering had to look modern. Because the field is freighted with difficult moral issues, Williams and Tsien understood Skirkanich had to present its modernism with a human face.

So, while the bricks are a synthetic, Prada-esque green, they're also handmade. Ordinary red clay was pressed into molds that left the bricks puckered and rough. After that, they were coated with a manganese glaze. To ensure the custom product would stand up to time, the architects had them tested twice. Then the bricks were laid by hand, one by one. Compare that process with the Kimmel Center's, where factory sections of prelaid brick were wallpapered onto the exterior. [emphasis added]
They used McMansion brick and still went over budget by $23 million? Yikes.

Inga Saffron refuses to give Viñoly, Kimmel Center a break — even after five years — and we love her for it [Inky]
And back in '04, there was really no mincing of words [Inky, via Google cache]

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