The renovation of Orinoka Mills, one of the last behemoths of textile manufacturing in North Kensington, will signal a powerful first injection of investment in a struggling area.
Constructed in the early twentieth century, Orinoka Mills serves as an icon of long past boom times and at the same time the potential for change. Located on the “wrong” side of Lehigh Avenue, property vacancy, high unemployment, and open air drug trafficking are perennial struggles for the area.
Orinoka Mills is strategically positioned to not just tell the story of Kensington’s industrial character, both its economic successes and environmental challenges, but also to begin the reversal of forty years of disinvestment -- by transforming into an ambitious mixed use development branded Orinoka Civic House.
The lower levels of the building will serve as the new home for NKCDC’s central offices. Having long served the areas of Kensington immediately south of Lehigh, this new affordable housing, administrative, and public gathering space will place NKCDC in the midst of its new target population north of Lehigh and ensure that the positive development on view south of the Avenue continues northward both in concert with and in service of its North Kensington community.
Orinoka Civic House is designed to be occupied by people who have proven a lifetime commitment to community activism and civic duty, with preference given to adults over the age of fifty who live nearby. Similar to other naturally occurring retirement communities in Philadelpiha towers, the building is designed to house mature adults with a desire to age-in-place in a secure community of like-minded neighbors.
PlanPhilly, July 23, 2014, "Pinning future for New Kensington on Orinoka Mills reuse"
Hidden City Philadelphia, October 28, 2015, "NKCDC Elevates North Kensington With Orinoka Civic House"
A crisp aesthetic and Persian-influenced patterning guide the row house renovation. The remodel involved reorganizing the kitchen to maximize storage while creating a more comfortable eating space, adding a powder room, renovating a child's bedroom, and building a new family room addition up among the treetops.
photography by Sam Oberter
Five years after completing the adaptive reuse of the adjacent historic structure, we begin work on a seven story addition. The primary design challenge comes from wedding a new seven story addition to the original four story building. The solution involves a lot of stairs! We have chosen to consider the addition as a modern neighbor following the community's pattern of attached and varied buildings.
The living room of this row house opens directly onto a small side yard. We were tasked to create a garden in a narrow footprint which could be enjoyed visually from within the house as well as inhabited in the summer. The integrated bench and planters create topography for lounging and gardening. Plantings are incorporated wherever possible, including on top of the fence.
select photography by Stuart Goldenberg
We enjoy taking on very small projects.. Stairs, bathrooms, kitchens -- even screens for the family garbage -- we've done it all! We enjoy the challenge of coming up with a good design solution no matter how small the scale.
The residence was originally two separate mirror-image condos, one facing northwest and the other facing southwest. The condos were connected into a single unit with a sweeping view.
Photography by Sam Oberter
The Joseph Cooper House embodies Camden’s complicated history; the walls sheltered early members of Camden’s most prominent family, witnessed the city’s rapid industrialization, supported the area’s conversion into a well-loved public park, and now bears the scars of civic abandonment.
Responding to the desires of the community to both gain a useful structure and forge a connection to the site’s rich history, we designed the reuse of the Joseph Cooper House ruin as a party pavilion subtly embedded with rich historic content. The pavilion roof provides shelter from the rain; a table and benches
provide seating; a grille invites picnic festivities. Etched surfaces throughout the building and site depict the history of Camden and the lives of the home’s inhabitants. The etched surfaces describe events in multiple overlapping ways through both text and pictures - accessible to both young children and well-read adults.
Our design celebrates the site’s history and embraces those who now inhabit the environs and claim the neighborhood as their own – it belongs to North Camden today.
1) ILLUSTRATED MAP_ Printed on the floor of the new patio to provide a sense of place and geographic context for the visitor, the map depicts Camden through time. The bubbled images describe a more intimate view and list date and factual information.
2) TABLE PLACE SETTING_ A vignette made up of text and images is stamped into the concrete table top. The vignette illustrates a fictitious gathering to introduce visitors to some of the people who once lived or worked at Pyne Poynt.
The table is stamped with images of a meal almost over with dining implements strewn about. Each of ten plates represent a different character. Each character’s plate is stamped with their name, a symbolic image, general date information, and a brief descriptive statement. The juxtaposition of characters from different time periods provides context for the visitor regarding the changing nature of Pyne Poynt from the 1680s to the 1920s.
3) OUTBUILDING FOOTPRINT TIMELINE_Historical content embedded in the ground plane at each “outbuilding”
location provides cultural context regarding the civic
significance of the Pyne Poynt as well as the associated lives
introduced within the table vignette collage. Landscape elements of granite slab are embedded in the ground etched with text large enough to be easily legible for the casual walker. The corners of each outbuilding are dated with the time frame the building existed on site and the text ringing the pad describes events during that time period.
The addition and renovation can be thought of as found object architecture. The tight budget and short completion time frame lead us to approach the project as an improvisation; we riffed with whatever came our way. We salvaged the floors, exposed the old beams, and bared the rough brick. The bathroom pulls together a sink and shower door salvaged from another project.
We added a clerestory to bring light deep into the interior. All the rooms are naturally lit. The home balances a sometimes crude craft sensibility with a refined control of space and light.
Select photography by Matthew Garret.
flying kite, "rethinking the rowhome"
Jibe Design and Naquib Hossain collaborated on the winning entry for the Philadelphia Housing Authority Sustainable Housing Competition. The project was honored with a Philadelphia AIA Award.
We created a masterplan for 32 housing units along Markoe Street in West Philadelphia. Our plan called for the renovation of the existing structures and the careful knitting of new homes into the empty lots to complete the gapped street edge. The new homes are designed to last, of durable materials with careful construction detailing. The highly insulated new homes and renovations integrate a clerestory into an efficient daylighting, heating, and cooling system.
select photography by Sam Oberter
Metro, Philadelphia, "Re-Energizing Public Housing"
ABC 6, "Young Architect Wins Contest to Transform Neighborhood"
Market Blooms, a floral vendor housed in Philadelphia’s historic Reading Terminal Market, requested a highly engaging and fully accessible floral shop built economically with sustainable materials. The display is built of locally sourced Black Locust wood, naturally renewable linoleum flooring and low VOC polyurethane.
KOI BIKE RACK_ A winning entry in a national design competition, the bike rack is inspired by a Japanese textile and the lazy fluidity of koi in a pond, the bike rack's sides are laser cut of stainless steel. The doubled and separated side-plates painted white inside create a changing moiré effect as the viewer moves around the rack. Internal lighting alternates between a cool stable white beam and delicately flickering shades of blue -- recalling reflections through water. The lighting bling deters thieves and gives bikes a deservedly glamorous hitch.
"For pure elegance, nothing came close to Koi...if the bike world needs a new standard, this may be it."
Inga Saffron, Architecture Critic
The Philadelphia Inquirer, "Changing Skyline: Designer's aim for a better bike rack"
The Philadelphia Inquirer, "Sure it's art, but it's also a bike rack"
Dwell, "The Bicycle Rack Reimagined"
selected photography by Kristen Zubriski
SPRINGTIME RAMBLE_ The winning entry in a city-wide competition, our public art awning captures the in-and-out consciousness of taking a walk in the city. Sometimes alert to one's surroundings, sometimes lost in thought -- the sidewalk scenes illustrated in sandblasted glass jump from residential to commercial street -- captured moments during a ramble in the cool wet of spring.
Local, recycled, and renewable materials complete the renovation of a historic home. Materials include Black Locust wood decking, a Pennsylvania lumber which is naturally rot resistant, recycled glass counters, and sustainable wood interior flooring. The home’s energy saving features include an on-demand hot water heater, touchless faucets, and spray foam insulation. The layout maximizes light and a sense of openness while providing the desired room separations.
select photography by Trevor Dixon
Philadelphia Magazine, "It's Easy Being Green"
AURORA DELPHIALIS_ The spray sculpture functions year round. In the summer it becomes an exciting spray park. When the water isn’t running the concrete benches, grassy mosaic, and elegant steel pipes hold their own as a dynamic sculptural landscape. Solar powered LED lights embedded in the steel cast a soft glow during a summer evening and brighten a winter night.
The water features are carefully designed with all age groups in mind. Toddlers play comfortably in low, calm water elements while random misting blasts and sheets of water entice older children. A field of ground sprays programmed to pop up randomly create fun for all. A ring of benches allows parents to sit and monitor their children.
WALKWAY CANOPY 1 & 2, ROAD SHADE, 8 COURSE TENNIS SHADE_ When I lived in Texas my mind used to wander to thoughts of shade. Maybe it is more clear to say I used to think about how to fight the sun. I know the brutal Texas sun that burns the skin and pierces the eyes, whose scorching heat soaks into the black asphalt roads and metal and concrete buildings to be re-radiated into the already oppressive city. However, the intense light of the southern sun is stunning as well as brutal and the startling brilliance, wakefulness and cheer can best be enjoyed from a place of safety, that is, from a place of shade. And so I used to dream of shading structures.
This work is meant for use in the southern city. The shadow cast by the shading structure is to become a moving part of the piece as the sun crosses the sky, like shadow puppet theater. Light deflected is to paint city surfaces with pattern, making a textile of the city in shadow and pavement.
Our master plan for the St. Boniface Housing is rooted in the campus quadrangle idea, with buildings hugging a generous interior green space for communal and private uses.
The housing forms an L-shaped building laid out to capitalize on passive solar heating and cooling stragegies. The super-insulated perimeter minimizes the load on the HVAC system. We propose durable and elegant materials throughout, including plasma-cut steel or wrought-iron exterior panels. .
The entrances to the housing are kept in the public realm, on the street. All first floor units are fully accessible, and no more than two families share an entrance to the upper units. Each home is found on a single story and units range from one to three bedrooms. Private courtyards or roof gardens provide open air green space for every residence.
The Free Agent House, conceived with Naquib Hossain and Goldenberg photography, explores the urban possibilities of living efficiently and affordably "off the grid." The home is constructed of three shipping containers sliced and stacked to fit on a fifteen foot wide city lot. The layout maximizes passive heating and cooling. Glazing on the southern frontage receives the winter sun and sliding louvers block the summer heat. Vacuum-insulated-panels super-insulate the building envelope’s tight perimeter and achieve an exceptional R-value with minimal thickness. A seasonal heat collector augments the passive heating system.
Low voltage appliances run off a rooftop photovoltaic array. The sun also heats the home’s water. At an estimated price of $50k, the building houses a free agent, liberated from high construction and operating costs.
photography by Stuart Goldenberg
Flying Kite Media, "Off-the-Grid Free Agent House tests limits of urban energy sovereignty "
Tiny House Design, "Free Agent House"
Grid, "Award Show" (p. 12)