Saturday, September 12, 2009

Then and Now: Northeast corner of 17th and Market Streets, Philadelphia


This is a street level view of what was formerly Broad Street Station's viaduct and massive train shed north of Market Street, now part of Penn Center. Though it definitely lacks activity outside of the workday, it remains a functional downtown district that seamlessly connects with its adjacent neighborhoods. In that respect, Philadelphia fared much better than many other cities which lost their train stations to decidedly very lackluster replacements.

For the most part, the Penn Center area is one massive showroom for the works of Vincent G. Kling & Associates. Though Kling never obtained the same international notoriety and acclaim as fellow Philadelphian architects Louis Kahn and Robert Venturi, no firm proved to be nearly as influential as his own in shaping Philadelphia's modern downtown thanks to a privileged relationship with the city's Planning Commission. Kling was behind Seven Penn Center, pictured in the center, Five Penn Center behind it, as well as the iconic Centre Square complex and the Municipal Services Building.

Original photo: "City Archives-828-0." 1912. Philadelphia City Archives. Philadelphia Department of Records. 7 Sep. 2009.

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