Tag Archives: Cultural

Featured cultural projects

Banana Factory Conceptual Renderings

The Banana Factory was conceived in 1998 as a collaborative studio home for artists and an educational facility to bring art closer to young people in South Bethlehem.  Artefact put together a proposal for the renewal and transformation of the former banana distribution warehouse.

Through a series of conceptual renderings, Artefact envisioned a more exciting street presence for the Banana Factory that would proclaim its artistic mission to the general public.  The reimagined facades come alive with light and color and project an aura of magic and wonder.


Armstrong House at Cheyney University

The late 18th century house, located 25 miles west of Philadelphia on the edge of Cheyney’s campus, is a uniquely important building for the university because of its connection to the Underground Railroad during the Civil War.  A hidden stair in the basement leads to a sub-basement room that likely sheltered escaping slaves.

Armstrong House had fallen into very poor condition after being abandoned for some time.  The restoration project brought it back to its mid 19th century appearance, removing inappropriate flat-roofed additions and other modern alterations.  Artefact conducted research into the building’s history and and developed the design for restoration while C.F. Portner produced the construction documents.


Cathedral Church of the Nativity

The original portion of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity, located in South Bethlehem, dates from c. 1863 and was designed by E. T. Potter. This portion became the transept in 1884 when E. M. Burns added the current nave and chancel.

Artefact was retained by the church in 1995 to design a connection between the sanctuary and the 1939 Parish Hall and to provide elevator access to all levels of the church and parish hall. Several years later, Artefact was asked to replace a long-lived “temporary” wood and glass entry vestibule with a new stone-fronted narthex.

The connector was designed to be a light wood and glass structure with a stone arched loggia supporting it. The details of the stone columns recall the detailing of the existing church, but as interpreted for construction in the 20th century. The narthex addition to the front of the church utilized the pointed arch of the existing front door. Each element of the resulting connected complex reflects the time period in which it was constructed, but the whole retains a remarkable unity and cohesiveness.

Lutz-Franklin Schoolhouse Museum

The Lutz-Franklin Schoolhouse that stands today was built in 1880 and served the community as a school from 1880 to 1958. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was determined to be a significant historic property because it possesses authentic characteristics of a 19th century one-room schoolhouse. The fine artisanship of the building, most clearly demonstrated in the pattern of the stone work, was exceptional for its time.

An anonymous donor funded the restoration of the schoolhouse and its conversion into the Lutz-Franklin Schoolhouse Museum.  Artefact created the restoration plans and coordinated the work. Today the schoolhouse is owned and maintained through a partnership between Lower Saucon Township and the Lower Saucon Historical Society.  Students visit the museum to learn about local history.  Many community events, such as History Day, Harvest Festival, picnics and community meetings, are held at the schoolhouse.