Tomorrow’s Landmarks Today

Tomorrow’s Landmarks Today

Two things are true about architectural taste:

1) Almost every new style and new generation of buildings will eventually be loathed as out-of-date and ugly.

2) Almost every “out-of-date and ugly” style of building will eventually be appreciated as historic and beautiful.

It was true for Colonial buildings, for Federal buildings, for Victorian buildings, for Beaux-Arts buildings, for Art Deco buildings, and it is true for mid-century modern buildings, too (not to mention post-modern and post-post-modern buildings, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves).  The process is gradual and almost alchemical– buildings viewed as interlopers and unwelcome guests one day are eventually forgiven.  Styles seen as arbitrary, cheap or false yesterday will assume the gravitas of history tomorrow.  It’s like clockwork, but it’s also like watching a pot of water trying to boil.  You can never see it until it happens.

Like it or not, it is happening right now for mid-century architecture in Philadelphia.  But obviously, not all buildings from this era are equally interesting, significant, or valuable.  So the Preservation Alliance created a ballot of Philadelphia buildings, both well-known and overlooked, built between 1945 and 1980.  We want you to vote for your favorites.  We want you to tell us what we left off (obviously a lot).  We even want to know what you’d like to see demolished.  You can vote once a day in each category, so vote early and vote often.


The polls are now open for the first five categories, and five more will be released in the coming weeks.  Happy voting!