Old-Ass Building of the Week-- April 25

Robert Morris Building (formerly the Wesley Building, formerly the Robert Morris Hotel)

1705 Arch Street

Back when you could take a picture of it without the Comcast Center fucking it up.
               Literally in the shadows of the Comcast Center, the Robert Morris Hotel still stands as a big "fuck you" to all the new buildings surrounding it. Built in 1914 and expanded in 1921, this Barrio of Ball-Piercing has been almost totally forgotten. It often gets confused with the Robert Morris Building on the 900 block of Walnut and the Morris House Hotel near Washington Square. Jeez, pick a new person to name shit after.
              This building proves that you can make an awesome facade full of architectural ceramic details on what is essentially a box with a little conjoined twin sticking out of the side. Back in the day when this Tower of Terra Cotta Ticklers was built, most of the cost of the buildings was in the materials, not the labor. This was primarily because you could pay a highly skilled worker like 2 cents a week and your building would still come out awesome and stand for 97 years and counting. Nowadays, you actually have to pay your workers a decent wage and they are a lot less skilled. This forces today's architects to come out with all those ugly facades with colored boxes everywhere plus those fucking asymmetrical uneven windows that will cause future Philaphiles to laugh at our time period.
               The Robert Morris Hotel started as a 6-storey office building for the Methodist Church. After 8 more floors were thrown on, the building became the city's "newest and coolest hotel" (don't look at me, that's what it said on their postcards). It then quickly became a crappy boarding house a la the Parker Spruce. In 1986, the Building was converted to Class ZZZZZZ offices and stood more or less forgotten... until a 985 foot glass box called the Comcast Center was built across the street and people started to notice it again.
               In late 2007, San Fransisco-based Kimpton Hotels saw the facade of the building and said, "Hell motherfucking yeah!! Let's make some dough!" and planned on doing a total renovation into a four-star hotel that they were probably gonna call "Pissadiarreah" or something along those lines. Then at some point they said, "Fuck it, let's just stick to the Palomar. The Pissadiarreah is too good for these Philadelphian savages." and then peaced the fuck out.
              There are rumblings out there now that this awesome Monolith of Male Growth Hormone is to be converted into apartments or condos. Let's see how fast this plan falls through. This is Philadelphia.

The building is saying "Fuck this shadow!! I was once the tallest building on this street!"

The conjoined twin of a building on the left has the noble calling of housing a bum-filled Wawa.




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