Dilworth Plaza redevelopment breaks ground
OLIN is a landscape architecture, urban design and planning studio which is part of the multi-disciplinary team that will transform Dilworth Plaza into a dynamic, sustainable civic space. The groundbreaking for the project took place on Monday, 30th January, 2012 at a venue overlooking the existing plaza, which will be completed in January of 2014.
The ceremony included statements from U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, City Council President Darrell Clark, Congressman Chaka Fattah, Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, Center City District’s President and CEO Paul Levy, and other noted civic leaders. OLIN’s fellow collaborators on the award-winning renovation include Urban Engineers, Kieran Timberlake, CVM Structural Engineers and CMS Fountain Consultants.
Located on the west side of Philadelphia’s City Hall, the newly designed plaza will be an appropriate gateway to the historical building while becoming a major transit hub for the subway, surface trolley and regional rail lines that run below the site. The new plaza will connect the Pennsylvania Convention Center’s new Broad Street entrance to South Broad’s Avenue of the Arts, tie together East and West Market Streets, and become an anchor for the iconic Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
“Dilworth Plaza is perhaps the most ambitious recent public works project in Philadelphia, and one which will completely revitalise the main plaza of our City Hall. Under the leadership of the Center City District, the design team began work on this project in 2006 and we’re thrilled to officially begin construction to transform the plaza into a landmark civic space for residents and visitors to enjoy,” said Partner Susan Weiler.
OLIN’s design brings the entire plaza to street level and incorporates a unifying border of planting areas with trees, shrubs and groundcover, as well as key programmatic elements to serve the public. Two glass structures create monumental gateways for the transit concourse below, and a gently sloping lawn panel provides seating for passive recreation as well as events such as concerts, films, and sporting event screenings.
The centrepiece of the plaza design is an interactive, lit scrim fountain that will be transformed into an ice rink during winter, and includes an art installation by Janet Echelman titled ‘Pulse’, which uses atomised water and lighting to reference the history of the site as a major railway thoroughfare. On the north end of the plaza, a garden café with moveable seating will cater to commuters, tourists and locals alike and, in the winter, will offer ice skate rentals.