It’s Skidmore, Owings & Merrill for 30th Street Station

The legendary firm has been tapped by Amtrak to create a local master plan.

30th street station revision

Rendering of the new vision for the area around 30th Street Station via Amtrak.

As first reported by PhillyDeals, Amtrak has announced the members of the team that will, in the next two years, develop the joint master plan for the Drexel-funded development project around 30th Street Station.

The group will be led by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), one of the most influential architecture, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world. They’ll work in partnership with Parsons Brinckerhoff, OLIN, and HR&A Advisors, but be guided by a “coordinating committee” consisting of representatives from (deep breath, now) Amtrak, Drexel, Brandywine Realty Trust, SEPTA, PennDOT, City of Philadelphia, New Jersey Transit, CSX Corporation, Penn, PIDC, Schuylkill River Development Corporation and University City District.




Will there be many meetings? There will be many meetings. (Feel free to send the leftover bowls of candy this way, guys.)

Amtrak's goal here -- and that of all the participating entities, but especially Drexel, which is developing an adjacent neighborhood project -- is to create a thriving community anchored by the train station. Here's the language used in the announcement:

With master planning efforts currently being advanced in Washington, DC, Baltimore, New York, Chicago and now Philadelphia, Amtrak is poised to turn congested and tired rail stations into the centerpieces of thriving urban neighborhoods that appeal to the millennial and baby boomer generations.

As these populations continue to flock to cities to live, work and play, they are demanding walkable communities with vibrant arts and cultural institutions and access to transportation hubs such as 30th Street Station.

SOM is a terrific choice for this project, as their master planning and urban planning experience runs deep. They've created numerous master plans for transportation-related projects, and at the moment, Denver Union Station's Redevelopment is, as Amtrak noted in its announcement, the largest public transit project under construction in the U.S.

Founded in 1936, SOM has completed more than 10,000 projects in 50-plus countries.Those projects include the Sears Tower, the John Hancock Center, One World Trade Center, the Burj Khalifa, Lever House, and so many other high-profile projects (a little NATO here, a few airports there) that it's impossible to even characterize the breadth of work. The company has 1,000 employees in offices in Abu Dhabi, Chicago, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Washington, D.C. The New York employees will be working on the 30th Street Station project.

Firms tapped for Phila's 30th St. plan [philly.com]

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