Philly’s University City to undergo a ground-up rethink by Ayers Saint Gross, ZGF, and OLIN

ZGF Architects designed a tower programmed for offices, retail, and apartments that look out onto an OLIN–designed public square. (Courtesy ZGF)

ZGF Architects designed a tower programmed for offices, retail, and apartments that look out onto an OLIN–designed public square. (Courtesy ZGF)

In West Philadelphia, a team of developers, planners, and architects are asking one of urbanists’ favorite questions: How can a mega-development be made to feel like a neighborhood, and not a bland corporate campus plopped in the middle of the city? Lead developers Wexford Science + Technology and the University City Science Center are spearheading the from-scratch transformation of a former superblock into a sort of mini city within a city.

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Drexel University Breaks Ground on Perelman Plaza Campus Center Redesign

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013
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Perelman Plaza is hoped to become the new social campus center of Drexel University. (Courtesy Andropogon Landscape Architecture)

Perelman Plaza is hoped to become the new social campus center of Drexel University. (Courtesy Andropogon)

The 32nd Street corridor at Drexel University in Philadelphia has become a hub for student gatherings, interaction, and events. Situated between Chestnut and Market Streets in the campus center, the corridor’s current design, however, does not serve the social and functional needs of its college population. In March, landscape architecture firm Andropogon released primary renderings and plans for a complete redesign of the space now known as Perelman Plaza. In August, more comprehensive images were revealed, and now the project is underway. Two weeks ago, Andropogon broke ground in Phase One on the site, razing the existing awkwardly angled hardscape to begin construction of a practical design for the coexistence of human traffic and nature.

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