Dilworth Plaza was built in the mid-1970s as part of an urban renewal project that annexed property to the west of Philadelphia’s City Hall. Dedicated in 1977 and named for former Mayor Richardson Dilworth, the original design included a large sunken plaza to the north and a spiral staircase that interrupts the pedestrian axis of Market Street as it passes through City Hall. A series of walls, stairs, barriers and overgrown trees limited access and blocked the visibility of City Hall. Though surrounded by office buildings, hotels and new residential condominiums, the barren, hard surfaces of the existing plaza were seldom used as a gathering space. Furthermore, the plaza’s poor design led to maintenance problems and unsafe conditions. The intention is to completely transform the prior plaza into a new world class front door for Philadelphia’s City Hall. The design strategies are elegant in their simplicity: First, reestablish the plaza at street level to connect it to the life of the city. Second, surround the space with a green landscape veil that defines an oasis in the city, a new central space with a ground plane of lawn and water. Third, develop a memorable light filled connection from the plaza to the new mass transit hub and concourse below. This last goal is attained through two new glass pavilions to the north and south of the City Hall axis, vastly improving access to the four levels of public transit beneath, providing connections to the subway, regional rail and trolley lines. The renovation of Dilworth Plaza into the new Dilworth Park, which is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2014, transforms the plaza into a welcoming and accessible public gathering place and an attractive link to the commercial and arts districts neighboring City Hall and a vibrant green amenity for thousands of downtown residents. With the expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center’s new front door to the north, the new park will serve as a visitor destination and a link to South Broad Street’s Avenue of the Arts and to the restaurants and shops that line Walnut and Chestnut Streets.
+ Park provides new and improved entry to transit station below. + New destination for residents, workers and visitors in Center City. + Variety of public programs will draw more visitors to park and Center City.