The Civic Design Review Committee may not have the final say as to which projects get the go-ahead, but yesterday their approval of Comcast’s proposed Innovation and Technology Center, designed by London architect Norman Foster, ended the regulatory process for the building. Developers are now permits away from commencing construction this summer.
John Pron, a former professor of architecture at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, has a problem with Comcast’s burgeoning corporate campus. In an article published in last month’s Art Matters (recently made available online), Diane M. Fiske asks Pron what he thinks of the Norman Foster-designed CITC. Like most, he looks forward to the new building on Arch, even referring to it as “marvelous” and “dramatic.”
But Pron worries about pedestrian life. As it is, he says, pedestrian life between 15th and 30th along the stretches of Market and JFK suffers from little opportunity to connect with pedestrian activity along Arch Street and around Logan Square. Not helping matters is the north/northeast side of Comcast One, whose sidewalk-level design blocks pedestrians from easily entering Market and JFK.
The city has never been more efficient. From PlanPhilly:
Less than six weeks after Comcast announced it would build a second tower in Center City, in what the company is calling the largest private investment in the history of Pennsylvania, nearly all of the approvals are in place for construction to begin. On Tuesday, two City Council committees approved five bills that would allow the project to move forward.
Apart from its towering height (1,121 feet, 59 stories) the upcoming Comcast Innovation and Technology Center will have high rental rates. Surprise, surprise. In fact, it’ll have the most expensive in Philadelphia.
According to Liberty Property Trust CEO Bill Hankowsky, prices will be in the $30-$40/sq.ft range and will depend on how close to the space is to the top (higher up, higher prices). Read more »
February’s issue of Architectural Digest features The Good Wife‘s Julianna Margulies on its cover. You have to imagine this kind of cover probably sells more issues than a cover like this one, but the story is legit: Margulies’ comparatively modest SoHo apartment was designed by Vicente Wolf.
In the same issue, a mere 22 pages away, a pavilion by the chosen architect for the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center is celebrated as one of 10 recently completed projects that represent “the best of the field’s cutting edge…projects that impress and amaze.” Norman Foster’s Marseille Vieux Port Pavilion in France is singled out as distinctive, compelling and a “sublime study in simplicity.”
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.
As we all know, the reason for the Phillies ending the city’s 25-year sports championship drought was not Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley or Jimmy Rollins. It was the decision to put a miniature William Penn statue at the top of the Comcast Center. A Philadelphia sports team hadn’t won a title since the city broke the “gentleman’s agreement” not to build anything taller than City Hall.
When the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center towers over the Philadelphia skyline at 1800 Arch Street, it will also include a restaurant at the base as well as one at the top. Also at the top of the tower will be a brand new Four Seasons hotel.
The new Four Seasons hotel will be significantly smaller than the current location at Logan Circle. The new hotel, with a lobby high in the sky will have 200 rooms, significantly less than the current location’s 357.