Changing skyline: Brick city accepts glass
We don't refer to cities as concrete jungles for nothing. Cities are tough places, made up of hard surfaces.
In Philadelphia, the default material has always been brick, but as the city grew, builders experimented with limestone, brownstone, a dash of marble, and eventually concrete. We expect a Philadelphia building to emerge from the earth like a natural outcrop.
With the arrival of modernism, however, cities everywhere began to lighten up with glass buildings. The modernists loved the way glass made their designs appear to dissolve against the sky. Even Philadelphia, a city that doesn't give up its traditions easily, accepted a certain amount of diaphanousness in recent decades. But while Philadelphians were willing to work in glass towers, they preferred to come home to brick and stone, according to a March 20 article in the The Philadelphia Inquirer.