The Center City District’s $55 million renovation of Dilworth Park in 2014 has created a major destination for more than 30,000 people each weekday. Situated atop the region’s transportation hub and managed by the CCD, Dilworth Park is now a welcoming civic space and signature transit gateway programmed year-round with public activities and events for all ages.
In designing the park, the CCD commissioned internationally recognized sculptor Janet Echelman to create an innovative work of public art.
Echelman, who reshapes urban space with monumental experiential sculptures that respond to environmental forces, was inspired by the site’s historic associations with water and transportation. Her piece, Pulse, is embedded in the park’s 11,160-square-foot fountain, and traces above-ground in real time the movement of the three subway lines below using four-foot-tall thin curtains of dry mist in the colors associated with each train line. Described by the artist as “a living X-ray of the city’s circulatory system,” the orange, blue and green mists move across the fountain, evoking the steam emanating 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 once stood across the street.
During the construction of Dilworth Park, significant infrastructure was constructed to accommodate the installation of Pulse. The trench system and connections to underground water lines are in place. The complex fog-creation system has been fully designed and tested. Fully installed, Pulse will come to life, creating a captivating experience that is engaging, kinetic and unforgettable. Mist, ephemeral by nature, will help define the space with its rapid movement across the fountain surface, visible by day, glowing at night, to become a defining element of the Dilworth Park experience.