Tunis

Tunis was one of the most fascinating cities of my trip. Though I had previously read about the interaction between the traditional and French colonialist architectures in North Africa, Tunis was my first time seeing it in person. I loved the contrast between the wide Avenue de France, complete with its streetcars, embassies, and train station, and the winding streets of the Casbah. The ubiquitous portraits of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, especially adorning roundabouts, reminded me of the billboards of Daniel Ortega’s smiling face in Managua. Little did I know that the Tunisian signs would be torn down within a month. On the day I left the country, a vendor known as Mohamed Bouazizi lit himself on fire as a protest against the government, and the rest is history.

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ACC Tower Rendering

The American Commerce Center Tower, which will soar above the recently completed Comcast Center in Center City, Philadelphia, passed its last zoning test last week.  When completed, the skyscraper will be the third tallest building in the United States.  It’s great that the developer is stressing SEPTA and AMTRAK accessibility and seeking LEED Gold Certification.  If construction goes as scheduled, the tower should be completed in 2012, the same year as the Cira Center South project.  It’s exciting that Philadelphia is becoming quite a hub of architecture.