The presentation for this concept was scheduled for September 17th, 2001. The project was cancelled following the events of September 11th.
The vertical profile of Philadelphia’s skyline had been shaped by two distinct architectural moments in the city’s history. City Hall, built in the 1871, at the intersection of the city’s two major, center city streets - Market and Broad, established through an informal ‘gentlemen’s agreement’, the maximum height of any building was not to exceed that of William Penn’s hat, which stands atop the 20 story clock tower.
That agreement stood until 1985, when Willard Rouse built Liberty Place 1 and 2, a few blocks west of Broad Street. The office and retail complex redefined the future of Philadelphia’s skyline with the topping off of Liberty 1’s fifty plus stories.
In 2001, a consortium of investors sought to locate a World Trade Center franchise on the banks of the Delaware River that would establish the WTC as a global business draw for the city and be the catalyst for a new ‘downtown’ area of development.
The mixed-use complex consists of office, hotel, retail and residential components. The architectural solution had to address the intensity of the site’s borders – the six lane, Columbus Boulevard, I-95 and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge while at the same time, form a monumental gesture back to center city.
Three office towers and one residential tower were grouped as a composition of undulating, crystalline forms, each successively shifted off the ‘grid’ slightly more than the next, creating an ever changing series of vertical windows to the east. The towers are sheathed in glass, which, from bottom to top progresses from most reflective to transparent.
The collection as a whole rests on a 5 story ‘plinth’ of parking, car drop off and security zones. This plinth raises the pedestrian street above the fray, visible to multitudes of travelers that encircle the site. This plaza, a city within a city, is home to shops and restaurants, hotel, residential and office lobbies, creating a vibrant, organic spine of public and private activity that buzzes with global commerce.