Dilworth Plaza is being transformed from an inaccessible, multi-level, unattractive, hard-surface plaza into a sustainable, well-maintained, green public space with no stairs or barriers from the street. By covering existing openings and removing walls, steps and barriers that make the plaza inaccessible in the past, the renovated Dilworth Plaza is adding 20,571 square feet of new useable area (an increase of 21%) and will result in an expanded 120,557-square-foot public space. The new plaza will have a large lawn, tree groves, a programmable fountain and space for 400 benches and chairs. The underground is being dramatically improved as a new transit gateway, providing entrances to Broad Street and Market Street subways and the trolley lines. New elevators will make the transit levels accessible for the first time. A construction contract was awarded on November 16, 2011 and on January 13, 2013, with a lot of support from SEPTA, a major milestone was reached in underground construction as new structural steel supports for the transit concourse and plaza were installed over operating transit lines.
To see the phases of construction until completion in June 2014, Click Here.
Support for the plaza's transformation has been made possible by funding from the Federal Transit Administration through a TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant; the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through its RACP program (Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program); SEPTA; the City of Philadelphia, the Center City District; the William Penn Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; and surrounding property owners and individuals.
Coming to Dilworth Plaza in 2014
The fountain (185 x 60 feet) holds a thin scrim of water with programmable three-foot- high spouts that create a dancing water feature throughout. Sections of the fountain can be turned partially or completely off to allow for concerts, events or movies. Rainwater, stored in a cistern below the plaza, feeds the fountain and is redistributed to irrigate the plaza's landscaping.
Public Art Installation
A specially commissioned work of public art created by internationally recognized artist Janet Echelman will be integrated into the fountain and will trace the path of trains traveling on the three lines below the plaza in real time, coded to the colors associated with each transit line. Thin columns of dry mist will emanate from the fountain, evoking the water from the city's first water- pumping station that was located on this site as well as the steam from the trains at the Pennsylvania Railroad Station that was located across the street. Echelman's use of dry mist enables people to walk through the installation without getting wet. A video presentation by Echelman, including a simulation of this work of art, entitled Pulse, can be found by clicking here. For more information on the artist, visit www.echelman.com
A café located along the north side of the plaza will seat 25 diners inside; seating for just over 100 people will be just outside the café. The café will be visible from the Pennsylvania Convention Center's North Broad Street entrance. Patrons can experience a light meal inside or al fresco while enjoying the mile-long vista along Benjamin Franklin Parkway to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
This raised lawn (115 x 60 feet) surrounded by seating areas is a perfect place to picnic, read a book or just relax with friends. It is slightly sloped to facilitate handicapped access and provides views of the fountain located to the north. The lawn is designed to host events such as movies and outdoor concerts.
The Market Street Walkway
The Market Street Walkway is the plaza's central axis, running from 15th Street, through to Market Street between the plaza's head houses, creating a "bridge" as it passes through the fountain and art installation. Along the walkway, changing digital images mounted on railings at the head houses will provide a variety of historic and current information for those living, working in and visiting the city.
There are six tree groves located on the plaza, providing shade and creating an oasis in the center of Philadelphia. The tree species selected are conducive to city settings and include Honey locust, Black locust, Katsura and London plane. These tree groves will help lower air temperature as well as make the air healthier.