Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Cool New Norman Foster Skyscraper Set for Philly
Media giant Comcast has announced plans to build a new 59-story, Norman Foster—designed skyscraper in center city Philadelphia. This is great news for Philly, urban planners, and architectural fans.
The concept behind the new building is a “vertical urban campus” with the kind of open creative spaces for techies that’s now associated with suburban settings. The (hopefully) LEED Platinum building – the tallest in the city – will also house a hotel. It will sit next to the existing Comcast building, near City Hall, and connected by underground concourse to the Suburban Station regional rail hub. (Story here, video here.)
Transportation notes: Yes, connection to Suburban Station is great, but the quality of some of those underground “concourses” could use some significant upgrading! Also, the connection to regional rail is very good, but the Philly subway system still misses the mark. The city’s two subway lines cross at City Hall, but there is no unified City Hall station! Instead, there are more pedestrian tunnels connecting separate stations on the two lines. And there is no Market-Frankford station between 15th Street and 30th Street, omitting service to one of the busiest areas of center city, including the new Comcast tower, which will be sited between 18th and 19th streets.
But the real pressing question: what should the nickname be for the new building? As the YiP story points out, Foster was the architect of the “Gherkin” in London, so the Philadelphia building should get a good nickname too. (Of course London also has the “Shard” and the “Walkie-Talkie.”) Unfortunately the name “Flashdrive” – which I like – is already taken by the original Comcast building next door.