Features

Philadelphia skyline 1985 south elevation. Image and models by Thomas Koloski

Philadelphia YIMBY Presents Massings of the 1985 Skyline

In the mid-1980s, the Philadelphia skyline rose as an even, roughly 500-foot plateau, particularly when viewed from the north and south. Though the skyline spanned a great expanse length-wise, it remained at a low profile, in great part thanks to the “Gentlemen’s Agreement” to not build above the 548-foot-tall pinnacle of the City Hall, which sat just beneath the 37-foot-tall statue of William Penn, the state’s founder. Philly YIMBY presents exclusive massing renderings of the city skyline just as it appeared in 1985, just before One Commerce Square and One Liberty Place both broke ground, starting their challenge to the skyline in the summer.

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Philadelphia's South Street Bridge. Looking northwest. Credit: li2nmd via Wikipedia

The History Behind the South Street Bridge

Many locations offer views of the Philadelphia skyline, yet some spots offer uniquely dramatic vistas that effectively catch the eye and stay etched in one’s mind. South Street is home not only to a popular stretch of retail, restaurants, and markets, but also to the South Street Bridge, which crosses the Schuylkill River and connects Center City and South Philadelphia to University City in West Philadelphia. For over a century, the bridge has offered sweeping skyline views to locals and visitors alike. Today Philadelphia YIMBY looks at the history behind the iconic bridge.

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The Laurel Rittenhouse Square in the Philadelphia skyline from Walt Whitman Bridge. Photo by Thomas Koloski

Listing Some Of The Most Impactful Additions To The Philadelphia Skyline Since 2017

The Philadelphia skyline has long provided an iconic image for the city and the state, with high-rise buildings dating back to the late 19th century, the most iconic being the City Hall, which topped out in 1894 as the tallest habitable building in the world, a title it held until 1908. Each era of skyscraper construction has made a significant impact on the skyline, with prominent types of skyscrapers defining each time period. The city has recently seen a skyscraper construction boom, which began around 2017, with many high-rises completed and under construction since that time. Philadelphia YIMBY looks at some of the most impactful structures that the city has received during this period.

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One and Two Liberty Place. Photo By Thomas Koloski

Designing the Tower at Two Liberty Place

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.

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