Buzzed on Research

Yards Thomas Jefferson's Tavern AleResearch can be boring, draining, sometimes physically or emotionally exhausting.  For previous projects, I’ve logged weeks worth of time doing data entry, and have had students  who have dealt with such topics as rape and infanticide, and the appearance of cannibalism (soon to be published with NYU Press!).  Every once in a while, though, research can become a delightful adventure in ways one would not expect no more so than on a steamy afternoon in Philadelphia in 2011, much like the ones during the summer of ’76. Read more

Philly writer calls for Declaration of Architectural Independence from Museum of the American Revolution building design

Declaration of Architectural Independence

First, as I continue in this vein from previous posts, let me say that I am excited by the prospect of a Museum of the American Revolution.  But the current design?  That’s another story.  And I’m not alone.

Philly documentary-writer and Hidden City Daily co-editor Nathaniel Popkin has a smart piece on WHYY’s newsworks further excoriating the proposed plan for the Museum of the American Revolution.

But you don’t have to take his word for it; after all,  Popkin’s not an architecture critic.

Let’s try again.  Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron didn’t like it, either, slamming the original design (from which the new design varies little, except for the amputation of its faux cupola):

Its massiveness and modern materials – including a panelized veneer of thin bricks – would make it more cartoon than homage.

But what does Saffron know?  Oh, well, she did win a Pulitzer Prize this week.

Popkin has authored a Declaration of Architectural Independence, pictured above.  He’s also started a petition against the design, which you can sign at  Join the revolt!

Museum of the American Revolution building: back on track, though not by popular demand

New design for the Museum of the American Revolution

When we last visited the saga of the Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia’s Art Commission had nixed its proposed design.  Architect Robert A. Stern went back to the drawing board (do architects even use drawing boards anymore? Maybe back to Autodesk?).   He’s chopped off the ersatz cupola, made the entrance a little less forbidding, and made some other small changes.  Now the Philly Art Commission is on board.  I think on the whole it’s better than before, although not everyone is pleased. Read more