Skyline

Philadelphia 1905 and 2020 south elevation. Photo by Thomas Koloski

Looking Back At The Creation Of The Philadelphia Massing

For over a year, Philadelphia YIMBY has been providing extensive publications and visuals depicting new developments planned for the future as well as notable towers that have risen in the past. We have offered images from drawn schematics, custom-made renderings, and skyline massings to give the public a clear look at the structures featured. Any time new high-rise buildings have been revealed or design changes were made, YIMBY reports on the changes with three-dimensional skyline views from various directions. In this feature, we look back at the creation of the 3D skyline massings that we continue to provide to this day.

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Philadelphia 1945 aerial looking east. Models and image by Thomas Koloski

Observing the “Chinese Wall” Rail Viaduct on the 1945 Cityscape

In the late 1800s, the city of Philadelphia made a bold move that greatly transformed and influenced both mass transit and the cityscape when they allowed Pennsylvania Railroad to construct a massive rail viaduct in Center City. One of the largest transportation projects in the city, dubbed to citizens as the “Chinese Wall” due to its appearance and presence, had a dramatic effect on the city’s planning for years to come. Designed by the Wilson Brothers, the rail line stood next to Broad Street Station, which sat on the current site of Dilworth Park, and stretched out all the way to West Philadelphia. The structure saw busy rail service for decades, yet it ultimately met its fate in 1953 after it was demolished to make way for future development. Today YIMBY presents an exclusive massing mock-up of how the structure appeared on the cityscape in 1945.

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Philadelphia skyline from the Walt Whitman Bridge September 2021. Photo by Thomas Koloski

YIMBY Observes the Arthaus, The Laurel Rittenhouse, and the Rising Philadelphia Skyline from the Walt Whitman Bridge

A few months ago, during the beginning of spring, Philadelphia YIMBY published a feature that looked at major developments in Center City from the Walt Whitman Bridge. This 378-foot-tall, green-painted suspension bridge was completed in 1957, and has since transported millions of people between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The bridge span rises 153 feet above the Delaware River, and offers a fantastic view of the skyline to the northwest. The western side connects to the sports complex in South Philadelphia, while the east side joins Gloucester City, NJ. In this new feature, Philadelphia YIMBY presents an updated look at several major developments in the skyline as seen from the bridge.

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The Laurel Rittenhouse in the skyline from South Street Bridge. Photo by Thomas Koloski

Observing the Philadelphia Skyline from South Street Bridge

Philadelphia offers a great number of that showcase the growing skyline. Though photographers always seek a new perspective of the skyline, the time-tested, iconic spots are still available to capture for the sake of the beauty in frame that has been captured for multiple years. On the list, the most iconic spots include the walkways of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the view from Spring Garden Street Bridge, and lastly the South Street Bridge view. Today, we observe the skyline from the South Street Bridge, which puts multiple new developments in the spotlight.

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Center City from South Philadelphia 2020 and 2021. Photos by Thomas Koloski

Comparing the 2020 And 2021 Skyline as Seen from South Philadelphia

Over the past year, Philadelphia YIMBY has showcased the skyline on a constant basis, which has seen nearly a decade of constant construction. A number of projects have spawned all around the city, producing massive growth. Center City of course receives the most developments, as it is the busiest neighborhood. Other nearby neighborhoods are also joining in on the growth, such as University City. In this feature, Philadelphia YIMBY compares sections of the Philadelphia skyline via photographs taken this and last year.

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