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It's usually out-of-towners, not city dwellers, who stop to admire City Hall's ornate Victorian façade or ogle the Comcast Center's sleek design. But now that the American Institute of Architects' Center for Architecture — which houses the AIA Bookstore & Design Center — has found a new space on Arch Street across from the Convention Center, Philadelphians will be all the more encouraged to take a closer look at their own city.
"There is a very public mission to bring together organizations, as well as the public, to enhance the understanding of our community, our design, our future city," says executive director John Claypool, who also directs AIA's Philadelphia chapter, operating alongside the Center at the same location.
To this end, the Center is hosting an open house at its new headquarters. The daylong program includes two documentary screenings; two-hour walking tours of the architectural gems found in and around City Hall (at noon, 3 and 6 p.m.); bookstore discounts; and book signings by Len Davidson, author of Vintage Neon (Schiffer), and Matthew Quick, whose latest novel, The Silver Linings Playbook (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), is set in Philadelphia.
Wed., Sept. 17, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., free, Center for Architecture, 1218 Arch St., 215-569-3186, aiaphiladelphia.org.