2020 A+C Festival | Authors Series: “Becoming Philadelphia” w/ Inga Saffron
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Join John King, Urban Design Critic with The San Francisco Chronicle in conversation with Inga Saffron, Pulitzer Prize-winning Architecture Critic with the Philadephia Inquirer to talk about her new book “Becoming Philadelphia.”
Once dismissed as a rusting industrial has-been — the “Next Detroit” — Philadelphia has enjoyed an astonishing comeback in the 21st century. Over the past two decades, Inga Saffron has served as the premier chronicler of the city’s physical transformation as it emerged from a half century of decline. Through her Pulitzer Prize-winning columns on architecture and urbanism in the Philadelphia Inquirer, she has tracked the city’s revival on a weekly basis.
“Becoming Philadelphia” collects the best of Saffron’s work, plus a new introduction reflecting on the stunning changes the city has undergone. A fearless crusader who is also a seasoned reporter, Saffron ranges beyond the usual boundaries of architectural criticism to explore how big money and politics intersect with design, profoundly shaping our everyday experience of city life. Even as she celebrates Philadelphia’s resurgence, she considers how it finds itself grappling with the problems of success: gentrification, poverty, privatization, and the unequal distribution of public services.
What emerges in these 80 pieces is a remarkable narrative of a remarkable time. The proverbial first draft of history, these columns tell the story of how a great city shape-shifted before our very eyes.
Inga Saffron, Architecture Critic, Philadephia Inquirer
Inga is an architecture critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer and has been writing about the design of buildings and cities since 1999. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, the 2018 Vincent Scully Prize from the National Building Museum and a 2012 Loeb Fellowship from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. In June 2020, Rutgers University Press will publish a collection of her Inquirer columns from the last 20 years, Becoming Philadelphia: How an old American city made itself new again. Before becoming the Inquirer’s architecture critic, Inga spent the 1990s as a foreign correspondent for the Inquirer in Russia and the former Yugoslavia, covering the wars in Bosnia and Chechnya, and witnessing the destruction of Sarajevo and Grozny.
John King, Urban Design Critic, The San Francisco Chronicle
John is The San Francisco Chronicle’s urban design critic, a beat that extends beyond architecture to public spaces, homeless shelters and the place of monuments in today’s society. He is an honorary member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and has written for such magazines as Architectural Record, Metropolis, Blueprint and American Scholar. In 2018, King was a Mellon Fellow in Urban Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.
About the Architecture + the City Festival (September 11-30)
Co-presented by AIA San Francisco and the Center for Architecture + Design, the 17th annual Architecture + the City goes virtual and will continue to offer behind-the-scenes programs, walking tours, literature, live presentations and more that provide an excellent opportunity for all communities to experience architecture and design in a myriad of ways throughout the city. Every September, the festival reveals the many facets and layers of San Francisco, and how architecture and design play a key role in this ever-changing urban landscape.
For more info visit www.archandcity.org