Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Marketplace Design Center

With the Schuylkill River transforming into "Downtown Philadelphia" before our eyes, PMC Property Group planning to transform the Marketplace Design Center into a 22 story office and residential complex. If you're not sure where that is, look for the whale mural facing the river. 

Given Cira Centre, One Riverside, and CHoP's Schuylkill Avenue expansion, it isn't the most ambitious design. On its own, it's not bad. But pictured from another angle, one from the south in which the PECO Building would be in view, that's an awful lot of black paneling and dark windows. Paired with the river's emerging crystalline skyline, Market Street might feel like Happy Hour on the Death Star. 

That's not to say a break wouldn't be bad. 

Every new building blooming from the banks of the Schuylkill looks like a shard of quartz. Handsome buildings on their own, but grouped together they look like the Starfleet Academy. Currently complemented by the Art Deco 30th Street Station and IRS Headuarters, even PECO's foreboding facade, they could use a bit more to dull the monotony, and 2400 Chestnut isn't cutting it.

In fact, giving the boomtown the riverfront is becoming, it might be time for 2400 Chestnut to think about skinning its facade in something a little more interesting. Flanked by soon-to-be Darth Vadar's condo and my pipe dream that Mandeville Place will ever return, 2400 Chestnut is the riverfront's lone pimple. It might soon be time to OxyCute it. 

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