Philadelphia 1985 and 1990 south elevation. Models and image by Thomas Koloski

YIMBY Presents Massing Animations of The Philadelphia Skyline Growth from 1985 to 1990

In recent months, YIMBY shared multiple publications covering the historical status of the Philadelphia skyline. Though our massing renderings have gone all the way back to when City Hall stood alone in the skyline, the modern skyline largely came into being around 30 years ago, when developers finally dared to pass its 548-foot-high William Penn Statue. Philadelphia YIMBY presents our custom animation of the Philadelphia skyline rising between the years 1985 and 1990, when Center City received some of its most iconic skyscrapers.

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Philadelphia skyline 1905 and 1987 south elevation. Photo by Thomas Koloski

City Hall versus One Liberty Place: Philadelphia YIMBY Compares Massing Renderings of the 1905 and the 1987 Skyline

The 20th Century was a key period for development in Philadelphia, with numerous remarkable structures built in the 100-year time period. At the very start of the century, City Hall was finishing construction in the heart of the city, with the William Penn Statue was topped on the structure six years beforehand. The 548-foot masonry structure was completed in 1901. Flashing forward to 1987, an even more massive monolith was finishing construction: One Liberty Place in Center City, which stands 945 feet tall. Philadelphia YIMBY compares the time periods when the two giants dominated the skyline fresh upon completion.

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One Liberty Place and W/Element Hotel lighting. Photo by Thomas Koloski

Nighttime Lighting Upgrades Possibly in the Works at Several Philadelphia Skyscrapers

The Philadelphia skyline features a fantastic collection of prominent skyscrapers that shimmer during the day. But at night, particularly from certain angles, the skyline can be underwhelming with the amount of darkness, despite a number of bright displays. Many of the towers were not originally designed with decorative lighting, while illumination at others has faded or otherwise deteriorated over the years, so the ones still have well-maintained nighttime lighting are greatly appreciated for their look. The majority of skyscrapers that are illuminated are at some of the tallest in the city, and most of them were built around the same time period in the late 1980s within the same part of Center City. But given a number of recent developments, it is possible that original lighting schemes on a number of skyscrapers are being restored to their original look.

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Philadelphia 2020 and future south elevation. Models and image by Thomas Koloski

Philadelphia YIMBY Compares Massing Renderings of the 2020 and the 2025 Skyline

The Philadelphia skyline has generally maintained its aesthetically appealing, iconic look at least since its major outward and upward expansion in the 1980s. High-rise buildings stack up gradually to the tallest skyscraper in the city, the Comcast Technology Center, which, at 1,121 feet tall, is Philadelphia’s first supertall. A number of other large skyscrapers also rose during the recent construction boom. In the next four years and beyond, Center City and the surrounding neighborhoods will gain yet more tall high-rise buildings. In this feature, Philadelphia YIMBY compares the 2020 skyline to how it will likely look in 2025.

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