The 4th place on Philly YIMBY’s December 2021 Development Countdown goes to Arthaus, a 542-foot-tall, 47-story condominium high-rise under construction at 311 South Broad Street in Washington Square West, Center City. Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox and developed by Dranoff Properties, with INTECH Construction as the contractor, the tower will offer 108 condo units, serviced by an extensive amenity package, as well as ground-level retail and underground parking.
The building, one of the city’s tallest structures to the south of City Hall, was topped out in the first half of the year, with the glass curtain wall catching up over the following months. By now, the building’s exterior is mostly complete, with work focusing on the ground levels as well as the interiors.
Arthaus towers over both the neighborhoods of Washington Square West to the east and Rittenhouse Square to the west and makes a dramatic statement on the South Broad Street canyon. However, the building stands out not only due to its sheer height, but also thanks to its exquisite design. The architects started with what has become a zeitgeist cliché form of a “blue glass box” and elevated it to the level of refined High Modernism via the use of crisp white mullions, which add definition to the form and texture to the surface without compromising coveted floor-to-ceiling windows and the light and air that their offer. Horizontal bands along the floor plates along the balcony-bearing corners add a horizontal element that balances out the otherwise vertical composition and lends a sense of scale to the structure by clearly delineating the floors. The tower rises in gentle yet powerful setbacks that harken both to Art Deco prototypes such as the Empire State Building and Modernist icons such as the Willis (former Sears) Tower.
Arthaus is a fine addition to South Broad Street, also known as the Avenue of the Arts along its Center City portion, and makes for a welcome addition for the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts across the street, another icon of modern architecture. The building will enhance both the skyline, where it will anchor the South Broad Street high-rise cluster, and at the street level, where the retail space will enliven the streetscape and reinforce the connection between Center City proper and South Philadelphia. We look forward to the building’s completion in the coming year.