All images courtesy of SOM.
Global architecture firm SOM has revealed its masterplan for Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station Precinct, a vast scheme that seeks to develop a new urban centre. The plan establishes the framework for a landmark transportation hub that connects Philadelphia’s two downtown districts — centre city and university city. The historic railway station is a beaux arts building perched on the western bank of the Schuylkill River. Responding to studies that indicate a sizeable increase in transit activity, the plan includes the sweeping transformation of the existing station building as well as its surroundings.
Designed in association with Parsons Brinckerhoff, OLIN, and HR&A advisors, SOM’s masterplan asserts 30th Street Station as not only a gateway to the northeast for the 30,000 passengers who board its trains each morning, but also as a destination in its own right — providing places to shop, meet, and eat. For the surrounding precinct, an improved environment for all users ensures cohesion and creates space for new and expanded buildings for Drexel University.
The scheme anchors a new district with up to 18 million square feet of development. A north concourse expands Amtrak and SEPTA access and opens the station up to the north, while connections through existing back-of-house spaces increase passenger circulation and amenities. Importantly, a new underground concourse, capped by a dramatic skylight, connects the subway to 30th Street Station. SOM’s design can also be experienced in Virtual Reality.