Personality is one thing the City of Philadelphia has never lacked. Historically overshadowed by Gotham to the north and the nation’s powerhouse to the south, Philadelphia has undergone a dynamic transition. While headline events like the recent Papal visit may have put us back on the international map, tribute Philly’s new attitude to countless innovative projects. Here’s the scoop on a few of my personal favorites.
As a fit city, Philadelphians are now fully enamored with Kelly Drive’s extension: the Schuylkill boardwalk. This addition to the famed Schuylkill running trail allows users to essentially walk on water towards the South Street Bridge, rather than abruptly stopping at Locust Street. Don’t just take my word for it; the tried-and-true trail for running, biking, rollerblading, walking, and everything in between was named the best urban trail in the country by USA TODAY 10BEST.
The Schuylkill Banks are more than a simple outdoor spot for city dwellers. The entire trail runs about 60 miles long, stretching into the Greater Philadelphia Region. The Schuylkill River Development Corporation has a number of projects on deck that will more than double the trail’s current mileage, acting as a junction for the city and even more of its outlying suburban neighbors.
Similar to famous boulevards like the Champs-Elysées in Paris, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway serves as a major focal point for the city of Philadelphia; how epic is the sight line from the Philadelphia Museum of Art to LOVE Park (AKA John F. Kennedy Plaza)? The park/plaza duo was originally constructed in 1965 as a city visitor center. Today, LOVE Park offers a noteworthy fountain, a gathering of food trucks at lunch time, ample outdoor seating, and an instagram-worthy sculpture. Yet, with new parks popping up all over the city, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation noticed that this gem is in need of some love.
Teams from both Hargreaves Associates and Kieran Timberlake are hard at work redesigning the space, which PLANPHILLY reported is to include a large influx of much-craved green space. In addition to an extended lawn, the fountain will be revamped, continuing its service as a backdrop to the LOVE statue. Rest assured that the Visitors Center building, lovingly dubbed the “SpaceShip” building, will remain and actually be transformed into a restaurant. The building’s new design will feature transparent glass walls that literally glow at night. These factors, along with more updated plans, are being presented to the Art Commission next month with intentions of reopening in 2017.
One Liberty Observation Deck
Catching up with the famed Willis Tower and One World Observatory, One Liberty Observation Deck is a vital addition to Philadelphia’s prospering tourism industry, where breathtaking views of Center City and beyond will tell the real Philly story to tourists and locals alike. The enclosed deck, standing 883 feet tall at the top of One Liberty Place, is set to open in November of this year. Gensler was engaged for interior design and is reportedly creating angular walls to echo the faceted shape of the tower, allowing for fluid foot traffic. Creating unique and complementary spaces in skyscrapers like Liberty Place is a truly efficient way to ensure buildings seize their full potential. What better indication of the city’s architectural sophistication than this flock to vertical integration?
Reported in PhiladelphiaStyle, Evan Evans of Montparnasse 56 Group, the company behind One Liberty Observation Deck, depicted the experience best in saying, “It’s amazing what happens when people enter our space. Everyone rushes to the window to look for something they can identify and identify with. There are powerful emotions as you identify things in the view: Grandma’s house, your high school, an old hangout, that great restaurant you forgot about. The memories are unlocked by looking for things that are familiar.”
These are just a few examples of what’s going on in the City of Brotherly Love…what’s caught your eye?