The Ultimate Annotated Guide to the New Comcast Skyscraper

Humanoid robots, Donovan McNabb and great glass elevators. What more could you want?

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By now you’ve seen the plans for the new Comcast Technology and Innovation Center, the eventual tallest building in the city that will include a “vertical campus” — look at Comcast talking like a Silicon Valley tech firm! — the Four Seasons, NBC 10, et cetera. A lot of people have been down on the design, but I like it. It’s not another glass tower, adding a completely different look to the skyline. The spire on top is silly, but I think all skyscrapers are required to have decorative nonsense now. Plus, it’s a giant middle finger to West Philadelphia from Center City. You leave your nonsense on that side of the river, college kids and crust punks! (Just kidding.)

But it’s hard to get through all the renderings and associated video. There’s just so much! Well, don’t fret. I spent hours examining the renderings for the new CITC — is this what we’re going to call it? — and have boiled down what you need to find in them.


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Sorry, sorry, I'm done. That is a really cool mural, though.

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Yes, apparently this building is going to have incredible, Willy Wonka-style glass elevators on the sides. Will there be normal elevators, too? People who are afraid of heights aren't going to be able to work here if not! How much of the engineer pool is Comcast losing with this decision?

On the other hand, this town needs some glass elevators. The only ones I can think of off the top of my head are in The Gallery and in the parking garage at 11th and Filbert. (Also: The garage the Fox and Hound is in.) Finally, Philadelphia has upped its glass elevator game.

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Here's a cross-section of the lower floors of the building. You will note that it has underground parking — I think that's a K-Car — and also an enormous Slip-N-Slide. Those are not safe for adults! (And maybe not for kids.) Still, I like Comcast's commitment to fun.

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What you really want to see, though, is inside the building. How will the building help Comcast employees work together there? That dude in the cardigan and the bro in the headphones will probably get fired for slacking off, but everyone else should have fun doing crossword puzzles. Kathy Matheson will have to get a job there!

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It's amazing how Comcast has pretty much perfectly depicted how engineers dress in most of these renderings.

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Also, there will be ghosts. Ghosts with an amazing view!

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Now here's where the building gets cool. First off, there is a slide. A slide! Why doesn't every atrium-type room have slides? (Or at least fireman poles.) Think how much time you'd save going from the third floor to the first! Norman Foster combined McDonaldland with The Gallery and created the greatest room ever. Also, like all futuristic renderings, there are humanoid robots. Maybe Comcast is going to build a robot to change channels for me!

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The video that this still is from showed great plays from throughout Eagles history. But primarily it was the early-2000s Andy Reid-era Eagles, when the team won four straight division titles and made it to the Super Bowl. Is Comcast promising Eagles success with this new building? Maybe the quarterback of the future is not Nick Foles, but a humanoid robot! (The downside: The NFL will probably not let Comcast show games in this room.)

If you're wondering what sports team runs this city, keep in mind that Comcast owns a Philadelphia sports team and did not feature it in this video.

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Incredible. I want to go there right now.

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  • philaman01

    It is definitely a cool looking building, yet they should have made it taller by 200-300 feet. I suppose at this stage, they can still change their minds.

  • PicklePaul

    I could do without the snarky and childish comments on the pictures, PhillyMag. It’s so 15 years old and Mad Magazine. Really!

    The building, on the other hand, is truly creative, uplifting, and will hopefully prove to be an incubator for some real innovation by connecting the serendipity of the city with the tower. I love the building interior and the effort to create public spaces at various levels. Ever since I saw Norman Foster’s work in Berlin, I’ve been in awe of his genius. I hope the exterior turns out as brilliant, but that’s a nit given all the gifts it seems ready to bestow. Kudos to Comcast and Liberty!!

    • sertsj1

      Ohhhhhhh, Paul. You sophisto!!!

    • Dan McQuade

      Mad magazine! You couldn’t have given me a greater compliment.

      • PicklePaul

        Hi Dan — Maybe I was complimenting you. You’ll never know. ;-) Hey, I realize that a little fun is OK and apologies if I came off as snarky. To be honest, I just wanted to see Philadelphians be a little more celebratory and proud. We are allowed to be proud, right? ;-)

        Anyway, as you know, great architecture can help important cities on the rebound, and Philly certainly qualifies in both areas. Cool urban design and buildings can help us project our pride, coolness, and vitality as a city. So, this is overall a very good thing, I think.

        So, from a kind of serious guy, I guess I can say Dan keep making us laugh, but also help us appreciate how far we’ve come and how far we can go. Thanks.

  • fishlips19106

    Great that the evil empire gets a taxpayer subsidy on top of it’s monopoly to rape it’s customers. Let’s celebrate!!

  • xia

    The first Comcast building looks bad with its “unfinished” top. This building is worse. It ruins the skyline. It’s horrendous. Blocks the view of the majestic and beautiful Liberty Place buildings.

    • IdleEyes

      I personally liked the first Comcast building a lot, I think it fits the skyline pretty perfectly. But this thing is horrendous. It doesn’t fit the skyline at all and blocks views of much prettier buildings, like the Mellon Bank Center, and the Liberty Place buildings you mentioned.

    • https://twitter.com/EpicEuropean Kreft

      No. It’s those buildings fault for being too short.