Philadelphia City Hall. Photo by Thomas Koloski

Looking at Philadelphia City Hall in Center City

The Philadelphia City Hall, located at 1400 John F. Kennedy Boulevard in Center City, is an astonishing 548-foot tall structure that was completed in 1901 (though occupation first started in 1877) at the intersection of Market Street and Broad Street. The nine-story structure is the world’s largest freestanding masonry building and has a lovely Second Empire style architecture (also known as Napoleon III style), with the municipal floors and the clock tower decked out with decorative cornices and pillars. The building was designed by John McArthur Jr. and Thomas Ustick Walter. McArthur has also designed the First National Bank and Walter was the fourth architect of the Capitol building in Washington DC, having designed the Capitol dome on top of the Capitol Building.

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Permits Issued for 21-Unit Building at 1000-02 Spring Garden Street in Callowhill, North Philadelphia

Permits have been issued for the construction of a 21-unit mixed-use development at 1000-02 Spring Garden Street in Callowhill, North Philadelphia. Upon completion, the building will rise eight stories tall. A commercial space will be located on the ground floor. In total, the structure will hold 19,504 square feet of space and cost an estimated $2,245,440.

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Philadelphia 1945 south elevation. Models and image by Thomas Koloski

Philadelphia YIMBY Presents Massing Renderings of the 1945 Skyline

In the 1940s, development in Philadelphia progressed at a slow pace as over the previous four years the United States of America was engaged in World War II after Japan’s surprise attack on Pear Harbor on December 7, 1941, further slowed down by the Great Depression, which lasted through the 1930s. However, in the preceding decades, many ornate buildings rose into the skyline with fantastic masonry designs. Most of the largest buildings were built around the City Hall in Center City, which created a hub of development when the Second Empire style building was completed in 1901.

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Bank of the Southwest Tower in the Houston skyline. Image via Jahn/Murphy, Inc

Looking at the Unbuilt Bank of the Southwest Tower, Houston’s Precursor to One Liberty Place

Before One Liberty Place topped the Philadelphia skyline in 1987, a larger skyscraper, also designed by Helmut Jahn, was proposed in the city of Houston, with a design that featured striking similarities to the future Philadelphia tower. Known as the Bank of the Southwest, the supertall was planned to count 82 floors, with an angled crown capped with a sharp spire that would rise 1,404 feet high. The larger office floors were to have angled cuts on each corner. The firm of Jahn/Murphy, Inc. was chosen after a design contest in 1982 and the tower was projected to be completed by 1986. The tower was cancelled by 1983 due to a lack of funding, but elements of the design were later integrated into the Philadelphia skyscraper.

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