If you crossed a D-volt battery and the Death Star, you might get something that looks like Front Flats, the latest apartment project from the architect-developers known as Onion Flats. That’s meant as a compliment, by the way. Jammed against Philadelphia’s Market-Frankford El on the Kensington-Fishtown border, the four-story building doesn’t just resemble a power plant, it functions as one, too.
Apart from the ground floor and a few narrow openings for windows, every inch of the exterior is encased in a sarcophagus of indigo-colored solar panels. The panels are designed to produce enough electricity to feed all of Front Flats’ 28 apartments, and still have plenty of juice left over to send a sizable amount back to the grid.
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