After more than two years of meetings and revisions, the Philadelphia Art Commission granted unanimous concept approval to an ambitious $50 million overhaul of Dilworth Plaza, adjacent to City Hall.
More than 185,000 people each day are within a 10-minute walk of Dilworth Plaza, including 50,000 workers in nearby office buildings. The renovations will have a major positive effect on Center City.
Click here for our initial overview of the design plans.
Previously-revealed elements include new plantings, a lawn with potential use as a concert or event space, a programmable fountain with three-foot-high jets fed with recycled rainwater, a cafe with outdoor seating and two iconic glass entrances to the underground concourse.
And even more details are now set in stone. For example, the overhauled plaza will include a public art installation on the north side; artist Janet Echelman unveiled her proposed creation, a sheet of lighted dry mist that rises from the ground in time with the movement of the subway lines beneath it.
Developers are working with C&G Partners, the graphics firm behind New York’s 9/11 site renovation, to develop a system of real-time digital transit and visitor information and to make City Hall’s attractions interactive with personal handheld devices.
Plus: the sustainable design of the plaza will help achieve many of the objectives of Greenworks Philadelphia by reducing by 38% the existing impermeable paving, adding dozens of new trees and other landscaping and reducing storm-water runoff through an irrigation system with water supplied by a rain-collecting cistern.
With the Commission’s stamp of approval, Dilworth Plaza moves one step closer to becoming a high-quality, well-managed civic space, gateway to transit, and a centerpiece that links together the primary districts of Philadelphia. Construction is to begin in September and should last about 27 months, hopefully being completed in December 2013. We can’t wait.
Additional images, below.