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.
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.”
As Hidden City first reported in September, Comcast will indeed break ground for a Center City skyscraper designed by Norman Foster, as the company announced today, at 1800 Arch. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, quoted by NBC10, said he envisions the building as “an urban vertical loft.”
Once construction is complete, the Comcast Technology and Innovation Center will be the tallest structure in Philadelphia, surpassing the company’s current headquarters by 150 feet, and among the top 10 tallest buildings in the country.