New Exhibit Will Put CITC, Norman Foster on Full Display


The Comcast Innovation and Technology Center will completely change the Philadelphia skyline forever, yet it just doesn’t seem like people are as pumped about it as they should be. East Market is getting a ton of plaudits. The same can be said for the Gallery. Admittedly, we’ve been tracking the progress at the W Hotel more than the CITC. Here’s a little bit of perspective: the CITC will be nearly twice as tall as the W and feature the Four Seasons Hotel on its top 12 floors. If you’re scoring along at home, that’s Norman Foster, Comcast’s second skyline busting tower full of innovation, a marquee hotel in the clouds and it will be the tallest building in North America outside of New York and Chicago.

Thankfully, the Philadelphia Center for Architecture realizes this and has a cool exhibit starting this week. Designing Our Skyline: The Comcast Innovation and Technology Center by Foster + Partners will run from May 29 through June 21. Not only will you get to learn all about the soon-to-be-tallest building in the city, but there will also be detailed models on display, renderings and “a timeline of concept sketches by Pritzker Prize winning Norman Foster.” It’s also completely free, which makes it even better.

The opening reception for the exhibit will be held on May 29 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Philadelphia Center for Architecture at 1218 Arch Street and feature music, beer, wine and hors d’oeuvers. Register here.

Morning Headlines: Foster + Partners Will Design $1.5 Billion Penn Health Systems Tower Project


There are a few reasons why the in-progress Comcast Innovation and Technology Center is the most important building to be built in Philadelphia in recent memory. Not only can you point to Comcast firmly planting their corporate flag(ship) into the city’s soil (for a second time) with a skyline redefining tower at a height unseen outside of New York and Chicago, but that “game-changer” moniker was completely reaffirmed once it was announced that Foster + Partners would be in charge of its lofty designs. That brings us to today’s headline.

The University of Pennsylvania is no stranger to the upper stratosphere in pretty much every category, including medical care and facilities and architecture and design. So it may come as no surprise that they’ve retained a star-studded lineup of design and construction companies, anchored by Foster + Partners and L.F. Driscoll, to lead their new $1.5 billion hospital tower project, according to a report from Philadelphia Business Journal.

The project would be done in multiple phases over several years. It’s expected that the health system will begin razing Penn Tower sometime this year in preparation to make way for construction of the new hospital.

Foster + Partners will be joined by HDR, Inc. on the design of the project which, if you’ve seen the works of either firm, should be a gorgeous addition to Philadelphia’s built environment–seriously, the Millau Viaduct is a work of art. L.F. Driscoll and Balfour Beatty are in charge of the construction side of the project–which could be a 700-bed hospital tower with 50 operating rooms and other medical services.

Want some more coolness? Here’s Lord Norman Foster himself narrating a video of some stellar drone footage from the Hearst Tower in New York City, ten years after its opening. Might we see one of these tribute videos to the CITC ten years after its completion?
Penn Health System picks development team, ‘starchitect’ for hospital expansion [Philadelphia Business Journal]

Plans for The Gallery, Huge Sinkhole and More!

Gallery: Norman Foster’s Luminous New Apple Store

istanbul apple store

Detail of an image, via Apple, of the new Norman Foster Apple store in Istanbul’s Zorlu Center.

As with all his projects, architect Norman Foster’s new Apple store in Istanbul, Turkey, is getting a lot of press. We don’t think there’s much that needs to be said about it, as the images speak for themselves. What do they say? “He’s coming to you next, Philadelphia. Smile.”

Gallery below.

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Morning Headlines: Civic Design Review Committee Gives Thumbs Up to Comcast & Foster

Rendering of CITC. Photo courtesy of Comcast Corporate.

Rendering of CITC.
Photo courtesy of Comcast Corporate.

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.

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Will the New Comcast Tower Be Good for Pedestrian Life? Or Bad?

Rendering of CITC. Photo courtesy of Comcast Corporate.

Rendering of CITC.
Photo courtesy of Comcast Corporate.

 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.

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Someone Put Adderall in City Council’s Coffee

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.

Rezoning for Comcast approved by Council committee [PP]

Comcast Tower Architect Together With Julianna Margulies

norman foster marseille pavillion

Norman Foster’s Marseille Vieux Port Pavilion in France. Photo by Nigel Young for Foster + Partners

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.”

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Comcast Officially Confirms Skyscraper By Norman Foster at 18th and Arch [UPDATED]

Rendering of Comcast Technology and Innovation Center via NBC10.

Rendering of Comcast Technology and Innovation Center via NBC10.

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.

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