Philly Block Project

The Crane Arts Building

The former Crane Company Building (1400 N. American St) was built in 1905 out of cast concrete faced with brick in the Kensington warehouse and manufacturing area just north of Girard Avenue.

It was designed by Philadelphia architect Walter Ballinger, an early innovator of concrete building techniques. The long wedge-shaped building was used as a plumbing warehouse, and had an adjacent three-story stable for delivery vehicles and draft horses. Later used to process frozen seafood, the enormous first-floor addition functioned as a walk-in freezer. It is now fittingly referred to as the Ice Box Project Space.

Attention to detail and a passion for creatively preserving the historic character of the building was integral to the renovation of the Crane Arts building, which now houses a community of emerging and established artists, including the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center.

History and photography via

Old Crane Arts