By Alan Jaffe
“Look Up” is a new feature of PlanPhilly that will encourage appreciation of our architectural and historical environment. Each week, the photo essay’s focus will be on a different Philadelphia area neighborhood and its distinctive building styles and details, all of which make up the physical fabric of the city.
This week, the spotlight is on the Rittenhouse/Fitler Square neighborhood on the western side of Center City. This section of the city was “ground zero” for “an explosion of Machine Age materials and colors put together by architects in ways that broke boundaries,” explains Randy Cotton, an associate director at the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. The designers working in the late 19th to early 20th century in this neighborhood borrowed from Classical, Queen Anne, Gothic, Victorian, Art Deco, and Arts and Crafts styles, and blended those elements into new, vigorous, beautiful structures. “It’s like they were doing a sampling of things they liked,” Cotton said.