By the start of the 1990s, Philadelphia had acquired a new image thanks to a number of then-recently built skyscrapers. Philly YIMBY presents exclusive massing renderings of the 1990 skyline as it stood just after the 1980s skyscraper boom in Center City, which has changed dramatically since its appearance just three years earlier (as presented in an earlier YIMBY feature).
Two Liberty Place at 50 South 16th Street in Center City is a 848-foot-tall skyscraper similar in style to the complex’s anchor tower One Liberty Place at 1650 Market Street, with its floor boosted by an extension on the north side of the structure. Designed by Murphy/Jahn and developed by Willard G. Rouse III of Rouse and Associates, the tower was erected in 1988 and stands 58 stories tall. Philly YIMBY looks at the design process through drawings by Helmut Jahn that date to 1986.
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.
The Philadelphia skyline has grown enormously over the past few decades, yet there are many formerly planned towers that were once planned yet were never completed. Philly YIMBY recently ran a series of articles that shined a spotlight on a number of unbuilt buildings. The designs came in various unique shapes: some featured curves, some boxy, and others with sharp angled cuts that gave them distinct character. While some were notably more appealing than others, even the most subpar of these designs would have dramatically elevated the city’s already impressive skyline to a new level. Today we present what the skyline would have looked like if all of these developments were built.
The Comcast Technology Center at 1800 Arch Street in Center City has stood as Philadelphia’s tallest skyscraper since 2017, with a height of 1,121 feet, and Philadelphia YIMBY takes a look at various concepts through schematics and models of the tower before the design was finalized.