CCD is a recognized leader in the use of lighting to enhance public safety, animate the city at night and create visual excitement.

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Since 1996, CCD has installed more than 2,800 attractive, pedestrian-scale lights throughout Center City. These 15-foot-tall lights have doubled, or even tripled, the level of illumination, making downtown sidewalks lighter, brighter and safer and encouraging a vibrant nighttime scene.  In addition, CCD has installed hundreds more 30-foot-tall vehicular lights to illuminate downtown roadways.

Avenue of the Arts

Using light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures with a nearly infinite array of possible patterns and colors, CCD has lit the façades of a dozen historic buildings along South Broad Street (the Avenue of the Arts), allowing for programmed lighting effects ranging from subdued seasonal palettes to dynamic, special-event sound-and-light shows. Philadelphia is the first American city to light multiple, privately-owned buildings this way in a coordinated manner.  The Avenue of the Arts lighting is designed by The Lighting Practice, a Center City-based lighting design firm, and funded by CCD, The Pew Charitable Trusts, William Penn Foundation, The Lenfest Group, the Wachovia Foundation, Avenue of the Arts, Inc., the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development and Broad Street property owners.

Center City District South Broad Street Lighting Event

Benjamin Franklin Parkway

The art and architecture along the Parkway are beautifully aglow at night, thanks to CCD lighting initiatives.  The CCD dramatically illuminated 20 works of art and the facades of eight landmark buildings along the Parkway in a two-phase project during 2003 and 2004. The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and individual donors funded the project.  The buildings lit by CCD are: The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Free Library of Philadelphia, Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, The Franklin Institute, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Moore College of Art + Design, and Friends Select School.  CCD lit these outdoor works of art: Washington Monument (Rudolph Siemering, 1897), The Thinker (Auguste Rodin, 1929), Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Memorial (Hermon Atkins MacNeil, 1927), Shakespeare Memorial (Alexander Stirling Calder, 1928), Galusha Pennypacker Monument (Albert Laessle, 1934), Aero Memorial (Paul Manship, 1950), All Wars Memorial to Colored Soldiers and Sailors (J. Otto Schweizer, 1934), Kopernik (Dudley Talcott, 1973), Jesus Breaking Bread (Walter Erlebacher, 1978), Thaddeus Kosciuszko (Marian Konieczny, 1979), Three-Way Piece Number 1: Points (Henry Moore, 1967), Monument to Six Million Jewish Martyrs (Nathan Rapoport, 1964), Deinonychus (Kent Ullberg, 1987), Joseph Leidy (Samuel Murray, 1929), Swann Memorial Fountain (Alexander Stirling Calder, 1924), The Lion Fighter (Albert Wolff, 1892), The Mounted Amazon Attacked by a Panther (Auguste Kiss, 1929), Francisco Di Miranda (Lorenzo Gonzalez, 1977), The Price (Horace Trumbauer, 1934) and Ericsson Fountains (John F. Harbeson, 1969).  

City Hall

City Hall lies at the geographic and symbolic heart of Center City. In 2004, CCD began illuminating portions of the monumental structure nightly from its base to the tip of the William Penn statue atop the tower - almost 550 feet in the air. The project was completed with support from the City of Philadelphia, the Market Street East Improvement Association, generous adjacent property owners, businesses and other donors. In 2007, the CCD permanently illuminated the north, east and west portals of City Hall. In fall 2015, CCD installed and illuminated four pairs of new monumental gates at City Hall, 146 years after architect John McArthur, Jr. designed the ornate, decorative gates for the north, south, east and west portal entrances to City Hall’s central courtyard. CCD managed the project on behalf of the City of Philadelphia, which funded the majority of the $1.5 million project. CCD raised the remaining funds through a generous grant from the William B. Dietrich Foundation. In 2016 City Hall was bathed in blue and white stars for the Demoncratic National Convention.

Special Events

As part of its continuing exploration of the potential for light to enliven the downtown, CCD has twice retained Artlumiere, a French firm that specializes in the spectacular lighting of architecturally significant buildings worldwide, to bring lighting magic to Philadelphia.

Artlumiere's dazzling holiday light display at City Hall in 2005 and its projections onto Avenue of the Arts buildings in 2007 drew thousands of spectators. In addition, CCD collaborated with the University of the Arts to teach artistic façade lighting techniques.