The Interstate 76 is a 434-mile long highway that runs from New Jersey to Ohio and was completed in 1964. In Philadelphia, it cuts through Center City and hugs the Schuylkill River from Conshohocken to Grays Ferry, and passes next to the 736-foot-tall FMC Tower at 2929 Walnut Street in University City. Today Philly YIMBY looks at the skyline as it appears from the highway.
In the early 1900s, construction has just finished at Philadelphia City Hall (completed in 1901), with the clock tower dominating Center City. The skyline was not yet filled with massive towers. Instead, low- and mid-rise buildings made up the urban landscape. At the time, the city was growing rapidly, and a new generation of notable buildings was completed by the turn of the 20th century, including City Hall and the Masonic Temple. Today Philly YIMBY presents massing renderings of the Philadelphia skyline as it appeared all the way back in 1905.
Multiple highways around Center City offer great perspectives of the Philadelphia skyline. One of the best vantage points located along the Interstate 95, which presents a look at the skyline where the towers scatter in broad view from east to west, with underway developments in multiple neighborhoods easy to pinpoint. Of course, the Center City skyscrapers stand out prominently, and even smaller towers rising in Center City West can be seen from the view.
Over the past five years, the Philadelphia skyline entered a new stage where the addition of new high-rise buildings with imposing heights and impressive floor space has greatly elevated the city’s skyscraper profile. The new developments range greatly in height, and includes the city’s first supertall skyscraper, the Comcast Technology Center. The growth that is happening now is nearly as impressive as the 1980s skyscraper boom in Center City, which brought a series of iconic structures with creative designs, such as Liberty Place, the Mellon Bank Center, the Bell Atlantic Tower, and others. Today, Philadelphia YIMBY tracks the rise of the skyline rising from a single location several miles away in New Jersey.
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.