Posted Mar 25, 2009, 3:17 PM
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PHILADELPHIA | Schuylkill River Developments
As many Philadelphians know (and probably some out-of-towners by now), the South Street Bridge is being rebuilt; with that project, as well as the ongoing development of the Schuylkill Banks Park and the recently-announced development of Penn Park across the river, I believe there is enough material in the Schuylkill River area to deserve its own thread.
Now be patient with me--there's a fat wad of archives I've got to plumb through to find the necessary articles and a lot of photos and renders, etc., that ought to go into this thread--so I'm going to try and improve this OP as and when I gets time, but to start you off, here's some current info on each of the three main projects I want to touch on*.
South Street Bridge
The old bridge, dating from ca. 1920, is being demolished and replaced with a new (deck-girder) span with a few aesthetic improvements. The demolition of the previous span is almost complete and the new span will soon start being built.
Render of the new bridge (many thanks to pwp):
Schuylkill Banks Park
Most information found on schuylkillbanks.org
. This project, the construction of a riverfront trail from the Art Museum to Bartram's Garden and eventually Fort Mifflin, a portion of the ECG, is complete south to Locust, with the portion between Arsenal and Gray's Ferry (the DuPont Crescent) set to get underway soon, and construction of the linking section upon completion of the new South Street Bridge. Schuylkill Banks is a master plan including parks, greenways, and neighborhoods throughout the study area, and it is also the master plan under which Station Square is set to be developed.
This article is from http://www.planphilly.com/node/8483
Art Museum Expansion
Penn Park, Phase 1
Model of Penn Park.
On Feb. 26, 2009, Architect Michael Van Valkenburgh unveiled the model for Penn Park, the principal project on the former postal lands. While the plan includes a parking lot for 300 cars, the park is enhancing a desperately desolate concrete landscape into a large, vast open space. David Hollenberg said “it was the first time that Penn had the opportunity to design open space of this magnitude.”
The University did not always show this regard for the neighborhoods around it. For example, in the 1960s and 1970s, the Redevelopment Authority acquired and then demolished residential and commercial neighborhoods (around 6 million square feet in all) to allow for Penn expansion. The most prominent case in point is the University’s superblock at 40th and Walnut, which compressed four city blocks into one, creating three high-rise housing dormitories for students that were out of scale with the original neighborhood.
“In the 1950s and 60s,” Praxis Director Harris Steinberg adds, “the University wanted to create an inward facing campus. In turn, this had a negative impact on the surrounding communities.” Now with Penn Connects, Steinberg believes, the University has had a philosophical change in the way its campus should physically and visually interact with the city. With Penn Connects, Penn hopes to create a beneficial environment not just for its students and faculty, but for all Philadelphians as well. “We wanted to be good stewards of the land” this time, said Anne Papageorge, the Vice President of Facilities and Real Estate Services.
The proposal for Penn Park calls for three playing fields, a dome to cover a field during winter months, a 12-court tennis center, a softball stadium and possibly a ropes course on the eastern edge of campus between Walnut Street and South Street against the Schuylkill River.
Papageorge says the final plans will all depend on funding as some things (e.g. the softball field) take priority over others (e.g. the ropes course). The current design of the park is also environmentally friendly, as it includes storm water management and features native plants of the region. According to Papageorge, the first phase of the park is scheduled to open spring 2011.
“The ultimate goal,” says Papageorge, “is to make this area alive with 24/7 activity.” Over time (and with appropriate funding), Papageorge says the northern edge of Penn Park will eventually become a mixed-used development to include office, retail and residences for the university and city.
Perelmann Center: Complete
Retrofit of old office building at Fairmount and Pennsylvania. Houses garment exhibit.
Underground Gallery Space & Parking Garage: Under Construction
Frank Gehry is doing this one. (Good spot for a blob, IMO, underground).
From the New York Times
Parkway Central Expansion Project
For some, the idea may seem counterintuitive: Frank Gehry, famed for his splashy, head-turning buildings, tackles an expansion of the Philadelphia Museum of Art that will be entirely underground.
But today the museum will announce that Mr. Gehry will handle not only the addition but also a renovation of its existing neo-Classical building under an ambitious 10-year master plan.
After his 1997 Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, and his 2003 Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Mr. Gehry said, he was ready for a quieter commission. “To be under the covers and to try to make architecture that way is a fascinating thought,” he said in a telephone interview. “All architects are intrigued by subterranean things; I don’t think I’m alone in that.”
“There is a kind of modesty thing,” he continued. “Most of us, we don’t set out to do the Bilbao effect, as it’s being called. It’d be a real challenge to do something that’s virtually hidden, that could become spectacular.”
From Denver to Minneapolis to Boston, a central issue in recent museum projects has been whether the architecture will overshadow the art. But Anne d’Harnoncourt, director of the Philadelphia Museum, said the original building, a sprawling 1928 landmark that anchors a nine-acre site above the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, was in no danger of being eclipsed.
“It’s not flamboyant, but it’s a kind of great, exuberant building,” she said. “The challenge is to add to it in such a way that respects that but creates beautiful space within it.”
There is no design for the expansion yet, although Mr. Gehry said he had submitted a preliminary model to the museum to convey some of his early ideas. Yet the architect said that he hoped his new galleries would depart from the “white, changeable, movable box, which I don’t think came off so well at the Museum of Modern Art.” In 2004, MoMA reopened after an $858 million expansion by Yoshio Taniguchi.
In addition to his experience in designing arts institutions like the Guggenheim Bilbao and the Norton Simon Museum of Art in Pasadena, Calif., Ms. d’Harnoncourt said, Mr. Gehry was chosen partly for his respect for art. The museum has world-class holdings of European and American paintings, prints, drawings and decorative arts.
“Any architect who creates spaces for the art to be within — it’s important that they love the art itself,” she said. “Frank is thrilled by the collections.”
Despite its large footprint, the current building does not provide an excess of space for exhibitions. “It’s oddly enough not as capacious as it looks,” Ms. d’Harnoncourt said. “There are great works of art which we’re just not able to show.” Mr. Gehry’s work will include a renovation of the museum’s interiors to create additional space for shows. The museum’s collection of American art, for example, is currently crowded into relatively small galleries through which works like the New Hope School of Pennsylvania Impressionists, early American modernism and contemporary crafts must be rotated. “We’re filled to bursting,” Ms. d’Harnoncourt said. “We were thrilled when we realized how much space could be available.”
Altogether, the project will increase the museum’s public space by 60 percent, adding 80,000 square feet of new galleries and renovated interior spaces at an estimated cost of about $500 million. There is no construction start date yet.
New galleries will be created by excavating under the museum’s east terrace on Fairmount Hill. Contemporary art will move to these new galleries from the first-floor space it currently shares with modern art. The new spaces will have both natural and artificial light and could be darkened to show film, video and works in other media.
Their ceilings will be high enough to accommodate large-scale works by such artists as Morris Louis, Cy Twombly, Anselm Kiefer and Joseph Beuys, the museum said.
The new space will also provide a home for the museum’s holdings from India and the Himalayas, including folk arts, decorative and ritual arts of the 17th and 20th centuries, and a collection of paintings and thangkas, or painted or embroidered textiles. New public spaces will serve as what the museum calls connectors. The museum’s original Great Stair Hall, for example, will double as an events space. Areas that are now inaccessible to the public will be reopened, making room for an education center, a larger auditorium and museum store, as well as a restaurant, cafeteria and visitor center. A loading dock will become a new grand entrance.
The museum will also create a landscaped sculpture garden with Olin Partnership, in collaboration with Atkin Olshin Lawson-Bell Architects, atop a new 440-car parking garage that will be recessed into the hillside on the building’s west side.
The museum, which selected Mr. Gehry after an international search, clearly hopes that his star power will help draw fresh attention to the institution. Efforts to overhaul the museum are already under way.
After assessing its needs in consultation with the Philadelphia-based firm Vitetta, the museum acquired a landmark Art Deco building across the street that is being expanded by Gluckman Mayner Architects. It will contain the museum’s collections of prints, drawings, photographs, modern design costume and textiles as well as its fine arts library, archives and an education resource center. Ground was broken in 2004, and it is scheduled to open next year.
Mr. Gehry said he came to the project with respect for the existing building. “It’s an old war horse; it has character and I like the setting of it,” he said. “So I like the idea of having to treat it delicately.”
Expansion by the Free Library of Philadelphia. Safdie-designed on the north side of the Free Library. I was at the Cherry Blossom Festival the other day and found out they're still pushing for donations to it. Anyhoo,
From the Free Library website
The Schuylkill River Skatepark
The expansion of the Parkway Central Library will seamlessly add 180,000 square feet of space to the historic Beaux-Arts building. New and improved features will include: a Children's Library with a Preschool Center and a Craft Room; a first-ever Teen Center; a new 550-seat auditorium; two new Internet Browsing Centers, outfitted with 300 public-access computers; a new Business Department, with presentation space, online resources and a complete curriculum in business development; and a soaring, glass-enclosed pavilion with shops, a cafe and ample space for community gatherings.
Significant renovation work on the existing building has already been completed, including the restoration of the Parkway Central Library's Main Lobby—as well as the original skylight above the grand staircase—and the replacement of the building's entire roof. Another exciting addition to Parkway Central opened on April 16, 2008; located on the Library's main floor, the H.O.M.E. Page Cafe is the result of a partnership between the Free Library and Project H.O.M.E. Open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., the café offers Parkway Central users beverages, baked goods, and lunch fare, as well as a seating area with free wireless internet access.
As the heart of the Free Library system, the new Parkway Central will directly benefit all 54 Free Library of Philadelphia locations by serving as an administrative and informational hub, as well as an ideal proving ground for new types of programming to be adopted and expanded by the regional libraries and branches.
While these are certainly exciting changes—and more are underway!—the new Parkway Central still needs your help to become a reality. A donation to the Campaign for the New Parkway Central, in any amount, will be valued and appreciated. Your support will make possible dramatically increased public access to the Library's extensive collections, as well as a multitude of important new services.
Nestled on a small ridge between West River Drive, the Schuylkill Banks Park, and the Fairmount Tunnel portal, this new skateboarders' park will create important visual and pedestrian connections between the Art Museum and the river, as well as provide for a number of 'programming' uses, such as being at times a stage and at other times a staging ground. The park was planned in conjunction with landscape designers, the City, and potential-user input, and its principles are shrouded in Baconesque aesthetics and language. When built, it should provide a much-needed transition and attraction along this stretch of the river. In addition, the East Coast Greenway is likely to be routed through this park, in order to leave the riverbank and plunge into the city.
Landscaped Parking Garage and Rooftop Sculpture Garden
This is the project that's turning that peninsula by the Fairmount Dam into an island, guys, so stop wondering!
Thanks to logansquare for providing the link.
North End Improvements
In addition to the landscaped parking facility, rooftop sculpture garden, and relocated surface parking, the City of Philadelphia is committed to providing the following additional public amenities in the area bounded by Lloyd Hall, Waterworks Drive, the Italian Fountain, and the Schuylkill River:
* The current "silt peninsula" in the Schuylkill River will be improved and made publicly accessible by dredging a channel between it and the river wall. The newly created island will be accessed by a pedestrian bridge and will feature boardwalks with built-in seating and interpretive graphics. Additionally, invasive vegetation on the island will be removed and replaced with native plants. The density of plants will be thinned to open views to the river from the adjacent park area and recreation path. The island is envisioned as a place for environmental education and quiet contemplation.
* Between the existing Waterworks Drive parking and the river wall, the City will install an interactive water feature and children-themed sculpture.
* A new handrail will be installed on top of the existing river wall. A section of the railing may include sculptural panels.
* Themes for the interactive water feature, children's sculpture, and handrail sculptural panels have not been chosen. Possible themes include the history and animals of the Schuylkill River and the history, plant, and animal diversity of Fairmount Park.
* The existing paved recreation trail will be relocated to accommodate the new 27-space parking lot. The realigned trail will pass close to the interactive water and sculptural elements, enabling the public to engage with these amenities. It will include lighting, benches, and trash receptacles.
* The landscaped area around the Italian Fountain will be widened to reduce pavement and provide a more appropriate and accessible setting.
Design and construction of the environmental island, interactive water feature, sculptural elements, handrails, increased Italian Fountain surrounds, and associated landscaping will be funded by the City of Philadelphia. The Museum will fund the design and construction of the relocated recreation path and associated site amenities (lighting, benches, and trash receptacles) in and around the new 27-space parking lot.
(includes a pocket plaza)
North End improvements will include a paved plaza near Martin Luther King Drive, river overlook, pergola, stairs to a lower trail, and increased landscaping. Work is already underway, and the project should be complete by Fall 2009.
If you look at the design, you'll see that this annex is in a scrap of land between the Trail, MLK Drive, and the acreage where Paine's Park's proposed to be.
Taken January 27, 2010
The building will rise along the Parkway between the Free Library (Logan Square) and the Rodin Museum. Completion date is currently unknown, but by the looks of current construction speed, I would guess mid-2011.
A separate thread dedicated to it can be found here
These links are most useful in finding out what's going on:
*All photos credited to either phillyskyline.com
unless otherwise noted.
Last edited by hammersklavier; Jan 28, 2010 at 1:29 AM.