Center City

W/Element Hotel with decorative lighting. Photo by Thomas Koloski

Decorative Lighting Tested Atop W/Element Hotel at 1441 Chestnut Street in Center City

In recent days, decorative lighting was undergoing testing atop the W/Element Hotel at 1441 Chestnut Street in Center City, as the dual-branded hotel readies for its grand opening in the coming months (Element Hotel in April and the W Hotel in May). Designed by Cope-Linder Architects and developed by Chestlen Development, the tower’s nighttime illumination will be particularly effective due to the tower’s prominent height of 617 feet and 52 stories, further enhanced by the dramatic design inspired by the ripples on the Schuylkill River. During Superbowl LII, the Lighting Practice, the building’s illumination designer, was inspired by multiple skyscrapers that were illuminated in green in honor of the Philadelphia Eagles and decided to switch from an all-white design to a multi-colored LED system.

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Timber Towers. Rendering via Hickok Cole

Examining Timber Towers, a Visionary Concept for Wood-Framed High-Rises Suggested for Center City

In 2018, architecture firm Hickok Cole published a design concept for Timber Towers, a trio of mixed-use high-rises that would use wood as the principal structural material. The concept, which won an honorable mention in the SKYHIVE Skyscraper Challenge, was designed to span an entire block in Center City to the northwest of the Comcast Technology Center. According to the architects, the 1.9-million-square-foot plan would use 2,075,125 cubic feet of wood products, “easily replenished by North American forests in less than three hours,” and sequester 80,775 US tons of carbon dioxide within the structure, resulting in emissions savings are the equivalent those produced by 12,073 cars within one year.

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12+Sansom at 123-27 South 12th Street. Rendering credit: Studios Architecture.

Updated Design Revealed for 12 + Sansom, a 20-Story Tower Planned at 123 South 12th Street in Market East, Center City

An updated design has been revealed for 12 + Sansom, a high-rise development proposed at 123 South 12th Street in Market East, Center City. Designed by Studios Architecture (with BLT Architects as the architect of record), the 371,700-square-foot structure will stand at a height of 20 floors and 265 feet, and will contain 412 residential units, 94 underground parking spaces, and storage for 138 bicycles.

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17th and Vine rendering via Hiliier Architecture

A Look at an Unbuilt 50-Story Tower Once Proposed at 1739 Vine Street in Franklintown

Nearly 20 years ago, a 890-foot-tall, 50-story skyscraper was proposed at 1739 Vine Street in Franklintown, North Philadelphia (or, by an alternate definition, in Logan Square, Center City). Located just to the north of Vine Street, at the intersection with North 17th Street, the tower would have dominated the northern edge of the skyline core. Designed by Hillier Architecture, the project featured a major setback on the north side and a taller, curved section at the south side, with a spire extending above the main structure. Renderings show a façade of light turquoise glass with white metal highlights.

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Arthaus. Credit: Kohn Pedersen Fox

542-Foot Tall Arthaus Tops Out in Washington Square West, Center City

The concrete structure at the Arthaus condominium at 311 South Broad Street has officially topped out on February 12th, when the last bucket of concrete was lifted to the pinnacle. A celebratory ceremony was held on that day, as work continued on the 542-foot-tall, 47-story tower, located in Washington Square West in south Center City. The skyscraper will house 108 residential units, along with retail situated on the first four floors. The project is developed by Dranoff Properties, which had acquired the site in 2013 with the intent of constructing the SLS International Hotel. Eugene Kohn of Kohn Pedersen Fox has been the lead designer since the earliest stages, when the development was still planned as a hotel.

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