Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holidays at JKR

The peril of becoming callipygian is an inevitable consequence of the profuse stream of holiday treats gushing into the office. The assorted chocolates, chocolate covered assorted non-chocolate confectionery with chocolate chip and chocolate filling in every possible form have flooded every plain around. More importantly, this disaster is not a mere bodily concern; it washes away any remaining will power ensuring complete and permanent character decay.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Welcome to The Plaza at Chelten

site at intersection of Chelten and Pulaski avenues before

 site at intersection of Chelten and Pulaski avenues after

exiting plaza entrance from Chelten Avenue before 

new plaza entrance from Chelten Avenue after

 portion of existing retail (Fresh Grocer) before

 portion of existing retail after 

Save-A-Lot site before

Save-A-Lot site after

inside Save-A-Lot

 shockingly low prices all day, every day

Blake Here: Not sure if any of you have been following the disputes and community concerns regarding the Chelten Plaza project so the following is a quick and brief update (I urge you to search the web to get all sides of the story):
  • The existing Fresh Grocer which was described as poorly maintained was shut down and chopped into various retail spaces. The current lineup is as follows - Dollar Tree, Anna's Linens, Citi Bank, Wired Beans Coffee Shop (2nd location for the local entrepreneur), and roughly 8,900 sf to spare.
  • The Save-A-Lot down the street is closing and a new, larger Save-A-Lot has been constructed at the opposite end of the site.
  • Residents want a full service food store and not more dollar stores or food marts that don't meet their wants or needs.
  • On top of that there was a zoning issue regarding the proximity of the Dollar Tree and Save-A-Lot.  
But construction continued, zoning passed, and the new Save-A-Lot opened Friday December 9th.  While there is some site work at the Save-A-Lot and signage work to be completed on the former Fresh Grocer it's all starting to come together.  If you'd like to know more please click here:, for peoples' reactions regarding the newly opened Save-A-Lot and Plaza at Chelten, and here:, for some of the project highlights such as:
  • new ground-up Save-A-Lot 70% larger than previous site
  • new 24-hour Save-A-Lot adds 30 jobs to current 28 person staff relocated from previous Wayne Ave site
  • entire project has led to 200 construction jobs and about 100 permanent jobs
  • $1.8 million in employment dollars is expected to be brought into greater Germantown community
Click here:, for photos and reports on last Friday's Save-A-Lot grand opening.  There's also many discussion boards and an ongoing documentation of the site's development and community concerns by one of the local community groups at  Keep in touch with more updates to come in the near future.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Constructing Play Exhibit

NM: The Center for Architecture on 1218 Arch has a great exhibit on the history of construction toys starting from 17th century alphabet blocks to today's ultra-contemporary versatile modules, and everything in-between. Anyone with a somewhat decent childhood would not be left indifferent to seeing all the former longings and possessions assembled together at last, side-by-side, in one room. The displays are a pure joy. So much joy it can make one forget the purpose of actually going to the Center of Architecture which could in fact be a highly important and urgent task trusted upon by the authoritative forces of the architectural industry. And if that’s not enough, an overly enthusiastic staff will be thrilled to point out that John Locke was the one who invented the alphabet blocks in the late 1600’s. Not the guy from Lost, the actual John Locke.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Architecture in Vegas?

city center

city center

lou ruvo nuero center by frank gehry

the old strip
Izzo Here: Most people probably think of cheese when it comes to the architecture in Vegas.  On my recent trip there I would tend to agree.  There's lots of cheese; there's a fake Venice, a fake Paris, a fake pyramid, even a fake NYC.  But when it comes to the real deal, the new stuff is pretty impressive.  Even the old old googie stuff is pretty cool. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Northeastern Hospital lobby renovation nearly complete

Izzo Here:  Jerry and I have been doing a bunch of renovations to the former Northeastern Hospital on Allegheny Ave, in Northeast Philly.  In addition to a few tenant fit outs, we're just about to finish the renovation of their main entrance lobby.  The space was used as the main entrance and a general waiting area for patients.  The owner wanted the space to feel like a lobby for all the tenants and not just a waiting area.  A big improvement.  Still waiting on an awesome new light fixture to get installed where the fluorescents currently are. Oh... and the old desk in the foreground will be removed.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Best in Philly - Jim's Steaks

Felgoise Here: Whenever my buddies visit Philly, there is always one, two and sometimes three adventures to Jim’s Steaks on South Street. After patiently waiting in an elongated line wrapped around the outside of the building, my pals and I gorged ourselves on delicious cholesterol climbing, whiz specials. After engulfing 1.5 - 2 of Jim’s delights, we sat around the table with engorged bellies in a comatose-like state as we contemplated the seemingly impossible record eating feats. Guiness Book of World Records title holder for banana split eating, Linda Kuerth ate 11 cheeseteaks in an hour and half in 1977 and high school football player Alex Friedman bested that by one sandwich in 2001. In January 2007, Bob Shoudt devoured 13 sandwiches during a stunt qualifying for Philadelphia’s Wing Bowl Competition. At least the record breakers don’t have to pay for their steaks in cash as their only cost is an extended day of indigestion.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Legends never die.

Izzo Here:  It's not often that we get to hang out with local icons and national celebrities. Jose and I had the privilege of hanging out with our favorite (some will say second favorite) bartender at the pub, and boxing legend Smokin' Joe Frazier.  Joe passed away yesterday, but we got to throw a few sharp lefts at him. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Floor, Ship and Saw.

Philadelphia’s hottest new art exhibit is right here at JKR in the downstairs lobby! Our gallery space is perfect for the contemplative gazing of art, providing a neutral color palette and unimposing lighting. Each month we will be featuring the cream of the crop artists and their masterworks. This November don’t miss the opportunity to see three absolutely stunning art pieces currently on display: Floor by Natalya Maltseva, Ship by Steve Sergi and Saw by Mike Izzo. Admission is free.     

Friday, October 21, 2011

Art by Architects exhibition at The Center for Architecture

Izzo Here: The Philadelphia Chapter of The American Institute of Architects has chosen 5 of my drawings to include in their annual Art by Architects exhibition at the Center for Architecture.  The exhibition includes work from 38 local architects and runs from Sunday through November 19th with the opening party on Thursday the 27th from 5-7pm.  There should be some good stuff there.  Hope to see you all on the 27th!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

This one's for the ladies...

 Tiffany here: (YES - I really am back) I had the pleasure of attending the 6th Annual Diversity Women's Business Leadership Conference (National Harbor, MD). The AIA's department of Diversity and Inclusion was a Bronze sponsor and invited me (along with a few other wonderful women) to participate in the conference as representatives of the design and construction industry. 
Yes - it was a conference full of women (and a few scared men - haha... just kidding), but the message that was sent was WE ALL need to be more diverse in our lives. This message holds true to each of our personal lives as well as the broader landscape of the working environment. 
I sat in a pretty dynamic break out session called, Executive Success: "What Men Aren't Telling Women"... (Presenter - Jeffery Tobias Halter)

(Needless to say, that room was PACKED)

The presenter took us through a myriad of situations that definitely divide the genders and offered advice in terms of how women can overcome some self-imposed challenges in order to play the game.

For example... A group of men and a group of women were asked a series of questions:

1. Who is better at problem solving...Men or Women?
- The group of women said that women were better.
- The group of men said that men were better.

Ultimately, is it said that men and women see the idea of problem solving differently... Men view it as making a decision (regardless if it is right or not) and women view it as a process of research and investigation in order to come up with the right solution...

2. Who is better at networking....Men or Women?
- The group of women said that men were better.
- The group of men said that men were better.

It is always important to network with a purpose. Just be mindful of your surroundings. Men tend to speak in terms of status and when meeting new people find ways of how they can help each other. Women typically do not go into situations like this.  However, study after study has proved that women tend to have larger networks than men, although they may not be using them to their fullest potential. 

- With that said... Ladies, it's time to step out of our shells and start working the room!

Monday, October 10, 2011

JKR Partners AIA exhibit boards

This year JKR Partners is featuring two projects Penn IMAX and Presser Senior Apartments for the 2011 Design Excellence Exhibit. The boards are on display at The Rotunda, The Shops at Liberty Place, 16th and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia. October 10 through October 23, 2011.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Solar Decathlon 2011

Steve here: Two weeks ago I paid a visit to the 2011 Solar Decathlon in Washington, DC. with some old friends from studio. You may be asking yourself, "what, pray tell, is the Solar Decathlon?"

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is an international competition that challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build, and operate the most attractive, effective, and energy-efficient solar-powered house. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production.

A general view of the festivities:

It took about 6.5 hours to meander through the 20 competing houses, and we discovered a boatload of sustainability tips and tricks along the way. Team New Zealand, for instance, utilized their country's abundant sheep population to increase thermal performance:   

Nearly every house had air-tight wall systems to combat heat loss. Team Tennessee had an envelope 18" thick, packed with condensed newspaper insulation. Its R-value was a whopping 73: 
Exciting R-Values aside, we had a great time at Solar Decathlon and experienced some very interesting architecture (always a plus). 

Team Belgium designed a low-maintenance, no-frills assembly for disaster relief: 
Southern California went Space-Age... 
And Maryland took a cozy, compartmentalized approach (they won the competition):
Solar Decathlon is an annual event so if you're interested, check it out next year! 

More photos: 

Friday, October 7, 2011

JKR goes to Gettysburg!

Dee Dee here: Marissa, Sam, and I attended the 2011 Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards last Friday in Gettysburg.  Presser Senior Apartments received the Multiple Family Residential Construction Project Award.  Presser, which is located in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia was completed this spring and contains 45 independent living senior apartments.  While in Gettysburg we learned about fertilizer and had really good cake!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lunchtime Sketch

First sketch in many months and an attempt to collect the starbucks card as the blog participant.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tiff exhibits at the Collingswood Book Festival

Izzo Here: First of all, Tiff is BACK! Second of all, Tiff hawked her book 200 Something at the 10th annual Collingswood Book Festival this past Saturday.  If she hasn't already made a name for herself around the office, she's making a name for herself everywhere else.  She's selling books like it's her job...albeit her part time job... ;-)  If you missed it, she'll be back there next year.  Tiff is awesome.

bad boys of architecture?

We're revamping our partners page on our website.... and we're not messin' around! Look out peeps, we takin' over this city!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kate Joins JKR

We are pleased to announce that Katherine Brill joins JKR Partners as the newest member of the design team. She is a recent magna cum laude graduate from Syracuse University School of Architecture. Kate played polo in the water not on a horse during her five year college adventure. Supposedly the quickest, strongest, smartest and best conditioned athletes play water polo. Perhaps those skills translate to her architecture talents. She happily escaped the tundra-like environment of upstate New York to return to the comforts in her favorite hometown of West Chester, PA. Kate has enjoyed globetrotting around the world, including studying abroad in China and Italy. Although she hasn’t achieved master chef status just yet, Kate claims to make a mean plate of mashed potatoes. Hopefully the food critics can get a taste test at the next JKR Potluck Event. From portraits to illustrations, painting is one of her favorite hobbies. Some of her prized artwork was even auctioned at charitable fundraising events.  

JKR Welcomes Steve

JKR Partners welcomes Steve Sergi to our design team. He doubles the equation of Philadelphia University Alumni working at JKR. With his passion for architecture and history, Steve became a founding member of the Friends of the Furness Railroad District, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the work of Frank Furness in Wilmington, Delaware. When he is not dreaming and scheming about architecture, Steve enjoys sketching anything and building model kits. He still values the unlimited possibilities of designing with Legos. Izzo, JKR’s established sketch artist should take notice of this avid sketcher nicknamed “Sketchasaurus” by his friends. If you ever encounter two Steves around town, do not be too concerned about your double vision or drinking problem, he actually has a twin brother. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Take a guess!

Marissa here:  Happy Hour was reinvented last week with a friendly game of PICTIONARY (Great idea, Izzo!) at the Pub.  The staff, a few significant others, and friends went head to head drawing actions, objects, animals, people, and places.  Enjoy the sampling of sketches above!  Answers to be posted later...

Friday, September 16, 2011


I'm pretty sure we are the first architecture firm since 1790 to survey a building via lantern. Look OUT SCOOBS!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Thought this was pretty cool

Izzo Here: I came across this article this morning and thought it was a pretty badass design.  I think I'd improve the design by making the entire front piece LEDs...but have it appear silver during the day. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cream of Mushroom

Innovations in the “green” industry can be amusing. Like the new insulation material made of mushrooms, a sample of which we happen to have in the office. It’s made by injecting the mushroom spores into a mixture of insulating particles. The mushrooms then grow by consuming the mixture and forming a tight network solidifying the material. It’s said to be fireproof. 
Having found no use for it here, the sample is passing as a contemporary art piece and is currently on display in SW corner of the office.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Natalya Here: A giant cast arm, rusty plumbing pipes and concrete amoebas were among 18 unique entries for a city bench competition hosted by AIA. The Friday night opening reception had assembled an uncomfortable social scene combined with the complimentary industrial-strength cocktails. Mike and I generated a lot of positive feedback from the jurors for our “quasi-futuristic design and clear visual solution”. The entries will be on display through September 3rd at the Center for Architecture, 1218 Arch Street.


Izzo Here:  Good things happen to those who wait. It's been a long time coming, but we can finally say that we have a bangin' new deck! Not many people can say they have a deck in the city! I mean we sorta had a deck before, if you could call that sorry excuse of a pile of rotted out boards laying across some planks as a deck.  It was more like a rickety old dock.  Now it's a bona fide brand spankin' new deck! A deck to be envious of.  The usual crew christened it this afternoon with its ceremonial first lunch. 

Rooch becomes a fact he becomes THE MAN.

Izzo Here: Rooch might look like he just graduated elementary school, but he is in fact a full grown adult.  Last week the kid finally got married to his longtime love Diana.  We snapped this picture of Greg at the reception with the other great men of JKR... Me, Dave and Jose.   It was a great wedding, the bride was beautiful, the groom sorta good looking...the booze was flowing, the music bumpin'... Now Rooch and his bride are sitting on some beautiful beach somewhere in Hawaii daydreaming about us back here at JKR headquarters. Lucky.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Most Favorite (not showing favoritism but) employee is moving on

Izzo Here:  I think I can speak for the office when I say I'm really going to miss Tiffany.  I've spent 90 percent of my working life working alongside her.  But she's taking a leap and packing up here.  We're going to miss that infectious laugh, that upbeat personality...the all around loveable, positive, always encouraging vibe.  She's taking that charisma, and funneling it into the future, teaching Philadelphia high schoolers the beauty that awaits them in the field of architecture.  In celebration of her new beginnings we all went bowling to send her off! She loves bowling! We all wish her the best and thank her for her many years here making JKR as awesome as it is! We Love You Tiff! 

Better Late than Never

Something happened and we fell asleep at the computer or something.  How we failed to mention that we nabbed one of Temple U's best and brightest architecture students is utterly embarrassing.  So we are going to shout it out right here; WE'VE GOT AN AWESOME NEW HIRE! I guess it's been a couple weeks now, but Nichole Howell already seems like a seasoned JKR veteran.  She fits in with all the other cool kids here like a glove and has been cranking out some quality work already. So there, we finally said it.... We welcome Nichole to this crazy bunch we call JKR Partners.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Second Saturday Art Show...Revisited

Paul Here: My wife Maria and I payed another visit to Yogawood in Collingswood, NJ this past weekend to support Keith Johnson, a co-worker of Maria's at Kitchen and Associates. Keith displayed photography from various trips including destinations in Europe, Puerto Rico, and western United States. Keith's display was part of Collingswood's "Second Saturday" arts and entertainment event and continues the tradition of Architects with many talents.