News Highlights of the Week: March 22 ' March 28, 2008
With the unveiling of a 1,500-foot-tall building designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), Philadelphia could be the next U.S. city to join the super-tall tower club, The Philadelphia Inquirer’s architecture critic Inga Saffron wrote on March 22. While it’s entirely possible that the current economic climate might scuttle the developer’s plans, she noted, the city’s long-term prospects for property demand are good because Philadelphia erected only a handful of new towers during the last decade and many of its existing buildings are showing their age—opening the door for future developments. KPF’s handiwork, dubbed the American Commerce Center, would include a mix of offices, shops, and hotel rooms. The design is a work in progress and Saffron hinted that it could use some extra time for refinement. Her review included the adverbs “oddly” and “dully” to describe, respectively, the amount of office space afforded by the programmatic organization and the way in which corners of the tower would be sheared off. The design also appears to lack a certain amount of originality. “Despite the center’s boast of soaring 1,500 feet, its office tower would top out at just 1,200 feet. A 300-foot spire would poke out from its asymmetrically sliced crown—like a toothpick in a martini glass. That crown, incidentally, is a virtual clone of the original design that Daniel Libeskind submitted for Freedom Tower in 2003,” Saffron wrote.