Philadelphia has recently entered into a new phase in zoning and planning. No one is saying whether or not this building is going to be built, or whether its going to go the way of the Disney Quest in center city, The Stadium in Chinatown or Will Smith’s movie and production venture in north philly. But there is a new motion before the ocean of city council to bring a 1,500 foot high skyskraper into center city
Current Skyline from my Office window
For those of you counting that would be a 500 foot difference between the proposed American Commerce Center and the Comcast monolith currently looming in the center of town. Comcast was a modest increase in the profile of the skyline a graceful arch upwards when compared to the jutting visage of this new idea. The question has been brought up concerning scale, the fact that the closest building would only be 2/3 of the height of the surrounding ones. Its an interesting question. I for one don’t honestly have an opinion of it but i can tell you what it looks like.
It looks like Philly is flipping a giant middle finger skyward towards Jersey, New York and anyone else who we feel slighted by. Frankly when you take it with that in mind it doesn’t really fall all that far away from the attitude of some of the people around here anyway. This would give us the tallest building in the US, and even North America. Which would be cool, the jobs it could create would be cool, and the prospect of seeing the new building dominate the skyline is an interesting one. I used to have a cactus in my office that had a similar problem, it didn’t mean to be offensive, but it was.
Philadelphia is no stranger to attempting to build the tallest building. City Hall, when planned, was supposed to be the tallest building in the world. However by the time it was built the Washington Monument eclipsed it. So it settled for its current title of world’s tallest masonry building. It also had to settle for the heaviest building in North America, which is some foreshadowing for our much later title as the heaviest city in the country as well.
For years in the early 1900′s after it was built people lamented the building as a blight on the city, because of how much taller it was and how stylistically different it was from its surrounding buildings. City Hall rarely raises an architectural stink these days. Detractors usually focus more on the occupants of the building and their conduct than its style. I think in time, if built, the Finger of Philly will have the same affect.