Philly YIMBY recently posted a brief overview of a $60 million expansion proposed at the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center campus in University City, West Philadelphia. The main feature is an eight-story, 493,039-square-foot parking garage planned at 3800 Powelton Avenue. Designed and engineered by Pennoni and THA Consulting, the structure will roughly triple the amount of on-campus parking even while demolishing an existing four-story garage and reducing the total ground footprint used for parking. The project also involves the demolition of a seven-story treatment facility, as well as streetscape improvements and 6,460 square feet of new retail. Today we look at how the project shows that high-rise design benefits urban planning, no matter what function it takes, and why it may be a precursor to further development at the campus.
In the mid-1940s, the Philadelphia skyline still maintained the general look it received during the construction boom of the 1920s and 1930, when several new towers added significant mass to the Center City skyline. The Philadelphia City Hall still topped the skyline at 548 feet tall, but by the 40s more high-rises were nearing the top of the clock tower, with several rising in the 300-foot range. A number of Art Deco buildings stood out, with predominantly light and dark brown shades. Today Philly YIMBY compares massing renderings of the 1945 skyline and the 2020 skyline.
Philly YIMBY recently shared new site plans and renderings for Torresdale Manor Residences, a townhouse development planned at 3600 Grant Avenue in the Academy Gardens section of Torresdale, Northeast Philadelphia. Designed by Abitare Design Studio, the project will rise at the former site of a once-renown aquatic center, shuttered after a devastating 2017 fire. The proposal includes 30 single-family residences, a new roadway, and a nature trail along the adjacent Byberry Creek. Today we take an in-depth look at the development and the insight it offers into incorporation of positive, pedestrian-friendly elements into otherwise car-oriented master plans.
In February, Philly YIMBY published an examination of the Twin Independence Blue Cross Tower proposal that was planned in the mid-1980s. The Independence Blue Cross Tower were designed by WZMH Architects, who also designed the CN Tower in Toronto, Canda. The developer, The Linpro Company, intended to build two 45-story towers on the 1900 block of Market Street. Each would have stood 625 feet tall, located 1901 Market Street and 1919 Market Street in Center City. If built as a twin pair, they would have stood next to the 565-foot Commerce Square towers, another pair of twin high-rises.
During the 1920s, “the Roaring Twenties,” the nation saw a major economic boom that lasted nearly a decade, until it came crashing down in the 1930s with the Great Depression. Major cities were vibrant and illuminated, with ballrooms and theaters spreading around cities. The growth also positively affected the skylines of American cities, including that of Philadelphia, which saw the construction of multiple office buildings in Center City, mostly around Broad Street and Market Street.