In the 1920s, banks were looking for space in cities around the country as the economy boomed. In Philadelphia, multiple high-rises were under construction and in proposal stages as Center City was rapidly transforming. One of these financial institutions, the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society, was scouting the city for space for a new office building and eventually selected the site at 1200 Market Street, where the William Penn Charter School once stood. Architects George Howe and William Lescaze designed the PSFS Building, which stood as one of the most massive buildings in the skyline for decades. In this feature, Philadelphia YIMBY presents massing renderings of an early iteration of the that was drawn up in 1928.
At a quick glance, the building is reminiscent of the Woolworth Building in Lower Manhattan, which was completed in 1913. The design features floor plates extending to the north, while the centered crown shifts up to the south side of the building. Above the north extension, the floorplates step up and shrink as on the top of the building, changing to an octagon to form the crown. Spherical metal decorations are all over the tower, including at the top, where a large sphere appears similar to the one atop the Daily Planet Building in the Superman comics and the extended DC Universe.
As seen in our massing renderings, the tower is still the most massive structure on the skyline. If built, the tower would have greatly complemented The Drake as both have curvy walls that run up to a circular top. The building would also have a more traditional feel as it is way more ornate that the current iteration. The past design would be seen from multiple angles, with the best views being from New Jersey.