Philaphilia is an architecture blog unlike any architecture blog you've ever seen—we guarantee it. It started in April 2011, and its writer/editor—who goes by GroJLart—specializes in building critiques and colloquial speech. Here are two examples from his tribute to one of his favorite buildings in Philly, the Lasher Printing Company Building:
Just look at that shit. THIS is how you make a concrete building, modernist motherfuckers! .... Look at that fucking tower up top. I don't what the purpose of that thing was and I don't give a shit. It's awesome!" If might get annoying if GroJLart wasn't so besotted by architecture and Philadelphia. Or if he weren't smart, and didn't offer up extremely interesting historical detail about his "Butt-Fugly Building of the Week" of "Old-Ass Building of the Week." His writing has recently popped up on City Paper's website and on the amazing Hidden City, which is what GroJLart would be if he had a staff and some money and didn't curse. We're happy to see he's getting a wider audience for his enthusiasm.
We sat down to talk with him at our Curbed Philly headquarters. He wasn't with us—he likes to remain anonymous—but he answered questions via email.
How did you get the idea for the blog?
The idea started when my wife was getting annoyed at me telling histories of every building and empty lot we walked past in Center City. I needed a creative outlet for all that knowledge. The original idea was to make a YouTube or cable access show called "Philadelphia Fucking Rules," sort of like Ron Avery Urban Explorer but with more cursing. After figuring out what that would've required, I started the blog instead.
Maybe you should do something on-screen.
I'd still love to be able to get that YouTube or cable access show going, but I don't have the equipment or experience to make it look any good ... I would need outside help. [Ed. note: any takers?]
About the profanity—what happens now that you're getting more exposure?
The nice thing about the Naked City blog was that they allow me to make the article just like any other Philaphilia one. Hidden City, however, holds things to a certain standard. I enjoy the challenge of still writing in my voice but without the vulgarity, and I do find that I'm getting better at it.
Would your readers miss it if you didn't curse?
The success of my blog is partly the profanity, but I've found that most of the people who have become regular readers stay for the history.
Are you a historian?
No, not a historian, but I would sure love to have a job as one. I have a Master's degree, but not in anything related to Philadelphia or history or cursing. A lot of people have asked me, "Do you even have a job?" since I post almost every day. The answer is, YES ... I work 50 hours a week in the field of my Master's degree.
Can we have a photo of you?
I keep my [real identity] a secret, so a photo wouldn't be good.