Monday, February 1, 2010

Then and Now: Southeast corner of Broad and Walnut Streets, Philadelphia


The 17-story tower that stands at the southeast corner of Broad and Walnut was completed in 1911 as a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, designed by Horace Trumbauer. The first five floors of the tower's façade were remodeled in a Modernist style in the mid-1950s (pictured above), and the interior was also presumably also converted into offices at that time.

211 S. Broad Street was hit hard by the office market recession of the early 90s. By 1993, all but the ground floor spaces of the building had been vacated. Fortunately, it was purchased in 1997 by the University of the Arts, which initiated a complete renovation of its interior into classroom and studio spaces. The University also undertook a faithful reproduction of the building's original façade on the second through fifth floors, using fiber-reinforced cast stone. The roof cornice however, has yet to be rebuilt, if ever. Now renamed as the Daniel J. Terra Building, its Broad Street façade is illuminated nightly by LED lights as part the Avenue of the Arts lighting initiative led by the Center City District.

A quick recap of the Terra Building renovations [Philadelphia Weekly]

1. Adamu, Fatima. "A brief history of the illuminated buildings along the Avenue of the Arts." Center City District.
2. Gorenstein, Nathan. "U. of Arts to purchase Broad Street building." Philadelphia Inquirer. 10 Jun. 1997.
Original photo: Mallis, Atheniasis T. "Public Works-44385-8." 1956. Philadelphia City Archives. Philadelphia Department of Records. 29 Jan. 2010.

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