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This was the year that Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, and Jennifer Lopez all showed up on the red carpet wearing gowns that were transparent. Now, Philadelphia architecture seems to be following the fashion crowd in a similar direction. If it’s a high-end high-rise, it is invariably draped in a see-through sheath of glass.
The latest, most audacious example of the trend comes from Southern Land, a Nashville company that jumped into urban development when it acquired the coveted vacant lot on the northwest edge of Rittenhouse Square. After playing coy about its intentions, the company finally released a batch of renderings this week showing a statuesque tower beaming over the elegant square, dressed from head to toe in glass.
No matter how light and transparent they make it, this is never going to be a building that shrinks quietly into the background.
That matters because, at 599 feet, the skyscraper would be the tallest all-residential building in the city – and 200 feet higher than 10 Rittenhouse, currently the ranking high-rise on the square. Because this tower, called 1911 Walnut, sits in an established corner of the city, how it gets along with its neighbors is crucial. […]