PSFS Building

Second scheme of the PSFS Building. Image via George Howe and William Edmond Lescaze

YIMBY Presents Massing Renderings of the Second Design for the PSFS Building

In recent weeks, Philadelphia YIMBY has shared a series of publications on the historic PSFS Building at 1200 Market Street in Market East, Center City. Yesterday we looked in detail at the first iteration of the building designed by architects George Howe and William Lescaze, who partnered in 1929. In this feature, we present massing renderings of the second design. The roof height of the current building stands 491 feet above the ground, which is likely as high as the iterations analyzed here would have also risen.

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First scheme of the PSFS Building. Image via George Howe

YIMBY Presents Massing Renderings of the First PSFS Building Design

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.

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First scheme of the PSFS Building. Image via George Howe

Looking Back at Early Iterations of the PSFS Building

Earlier this year, Philadelphia YIMBY ran two features (one introductory and another covering construction) on the iconic PSFS Building at 1200 Market Street in Market East, Center City. The sizable high-rise, developed for the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society, was a modern marvel at the time it was built, and to this day it still makes an impression with its height and history. The 36-story building stands 491 feet tall, with the antenna bringing the total height to 792 feet. The tower was designed by George Howe and William Edmond Lescaze, who made a few iterations of the design before arriving at a version that became one of the first major International-style skyscrapers.

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PSFS Building. Image from Hagley Digital Archives

A Look Back at the Construction Of The PSFS Building at 1200 Market Street in Market East, Center City

In the early 1900s, skyscrapers of ever-increasing heights began to rise all over the world, including in Philadelphia. By the late 1920s, the Philadelphia Savings and Fund Society was looking for extra space in the city and was looking to construct a new building for their needs. The PSFS selected architects George Howe and William Edmond Lescaze to design a skyscraper that would stand at 1200 Market Street. Upon its completion in 1932, the PSFS Building not only dominated the skyline with its height of 491 feet and 36 stories, but was also notable as one of the first major International-style skyscrapers in the world.

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PSFS Building. Image from Hagley Digital Archives

A Look Back at the PSFS Building, the First Modern Skyscraper in the United States

The Loews Philadelphia Hotel, formerly known as the PSFS Building, located at 1200 Market Street in the Market East section of Center City, is a remarkable skyscraper for Philadelphia as the building was ahead of its time when it was built. Upon completion, it was the most massive structure in the skyline as the large, T-shaped tower rose almost as high as the clock tower of City Hall. The 36-story building originally stood at a height of 491 feet, the first skyscraper to be built just under the informal Gentleman’s Agreement height limit. The International Style tower was designed by George Howe and William Edmond Lescaze. William later on went to design One New York Plaza just three years before his death in 1969. The developer of the skyscraper was the Philadelphia Savings and Fund Society, which still has their iconic initials attached to the east and west sides of the blue crown above the main roof.

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