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Erdy McHenry Architecture
915 Orianna Street
Philadelphia PA 19123
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American Street Lofts

Situated in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia, this apartment building contributes to the continued growth of the area by providing loft-type apartments above a small ground-floor commercial space. The mass of the building is lifted off the ground to allow parking at the ground level, but also to invoke a sense of weightlessness in the upper portion of the building. The facade is composed of shallow balconies, full-height windows, and brick panels that slide between concrete floor slabs. This works as a counterpoint to the traditional punched-opening scheme that is abundant among Philadelphia architecture, both old and new.

Each unit plan is centered around a utility core that includes a kitchen, bathroom, laundry, closets and a gas fireplace. The object-like quality of the core allows for free circulation around and through each unit, lending the space a loft-like sensibility. Sliding partitions add to this pinwheel movement of space and allow the dweller to place furniture and other objects at their discretion. A significantly thick exterior wall stands in opposition to the openness of the plan and provides window niches deep enough for a reading chair. Encompassing an integral feel to the interior, shallow balconies draw daylight into the living space, as opposed to deeper balconies which tend to feel separate and shadowy.

A mixture of unit sizes and configurations accommodate family groups of different sizes and a shared roof deck overlooking Center City encourages a lively sense of community.