Since the late 1980s, Philadelphia’s Center City skyscrapers featured appealing decorative lighting schemes. The first tower to be lit up was One Liberty Place at 1650 Market Street, completed in 1987, with lights accentuating the angled crown and the sharp spire. Over the years more high-rises towers were constructed that also displayed standout nighttime lighting, with one of the biggest recent additions being the Comcast Technology Center with its massive lantern at the top. Even more recent was the W/Element Hotel at 1441 Chestnut Street, where intensive testing of its the decorative lighting started just a few months ago.
The lighting on the W/Element Hotel was first spotted in February when a majority of the scattered LEDs were turned on. Most of the sections were white, while some sections were still being tested with minor red and blue lights showing. A week later, the building started to cycle white, red, green, and blue lights with more of the scattered LEDs on but not every single strip. In April, the lighting scheme was texted with the four main colors, but this time each strip had animated illumination that looked like the lights were dripping down, with some moving the opposite way.
In February we also reported that the crown lights on top of One Liberty Place have been restored, fixing a system that used to be dimmer with some sections lit in different colors or completely off. Now, the lights shine brightly on the skyline and are clearly visible from New Jersey. A recent test showed lights dancing around the crown in three sections. About 10 minutes later, the three rows simultaneously lit with a scrolling effect of a rainbow moving downward across the top of the tower.
The new and upgraded lighting is exactly what the Philadelphia skyline needs as its nighttime presence was previously rather dark and empty. These bold and colorful displays breathe life into the skyline and the city’s physical image will be decorated like never before. Hopefully, lighting systems will also be upgraded on the BNY Mellon Center, Three Logan Square (formerly known as the Bell Atlantic Tower), and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower, which used to have every floor at the corners lit up. We also hope that Arthaus joins the nighttime display, where decorative lighting is rumored.