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It's one of the more unique adaptive-reuse projects we've seen: Philadelphia-based artist Caryn Kunkle and New York-based architect Matthew Baird have plans to breathe new life into North Broad Street's historic, dilapidated Divine Lorraine Hotel. Caryn's calling it "The Return of the Beautiful."
pimoca divine lorraine hotel high school arts student housing
What exactly is "The Return of the Beautiful?" (It's not a spin off ofThe Bold and the Beautiful, to our neverending disappointment.) It's the Philadelphia Interactive Museum of Contemporary Art, a 45k SF mega museum. The redeveloped building, she says, would exhibit work on a rotating basis from a number of local art institutions, including the Barnes Foundation, the Fabric Workshop, PAFA, and the Institute of Contemporary Art.
matthew baird architect  divine hotel lorraine
We spoke with Matthew yesterday to get a sense of just how serious and how real this project might be. If anyone can get this project done, he says, and can pull together the different constituencies— the city, the school system, the current owner of the building, the various arts programs that would like to see this happen—it's Caryn. "She's just driven by this," he says.
caryn kunkle return of the beautiful divine lorraine hotel museum contemporary art
Aside from the museum itself, Caryn has a few other plans in mind for the PIMOCA project. She hopes to create an onsite, arts-focused high school, located behind the museum. And there's also talk of developing a temporary housing unit for local college students. If this project actually manages to move forward—and we hope it does—we'll be sure to keep you in the loop.