On December 8, Philadelphia's Congregation Rodeph Shalom broke ground on a significant new addition and renovation to its historic home. Founded in 1795, Rodeph Shalom is the oldest Ashkenazic congregation in the Western Hemisphere. Its current synagogue building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and, while it is an outstanding example of Byzantine revival architecture, the congregation's rapid growth created the need for more space, enhanced connectivity, and increased accessibility throughout the building. Through a series of renovations, as well as the addition of a four-story expansion, Rodeph Shalom will become a welcoming house of prayer, study, and social action that is both respectful of the existing building's storied history and flexible enough to accommodate the congregation's continued growth and development.
When evaluating glass, the human eye cannot always be trusted. Our perception of transparency is influenced as much by the context under which materials are viewed as by their intrinsic optical qualities. When we study a glass sample under interior lighting conditions where light levels on either side of the glass are nearly equal, we may get the false impression that the sample will appear equally transparent when applied to a building facade. In fact, the ratio of reflected daylight to transmitted interior light can make even the most transparent glass appear mirror-like when it is viewed from the exterior.
Last week, while the city slept, the first above-ground structure emerged at Dilworth Plaza with the installation of steel columns and edge beams that will form the new cafe and stair headhouse on the northern end of the plaza. Until now, work has been concentrated below ground in the new transit concourse and on the plaza level, largely out of view of passersby. But on Wednesday evening, January 29, after most of the traffic had dissipated at Philadelphia's City Hall, a 300-ton crane and several trucks bearing shop-fabricated steel pieces arrived to begin the installation.