Parks & Plazas

A number of city parks feature small recreational buildings with dynamic folded-plate roofs. This typical example was built in Columbus Square Park at 12th and Reed Streets in 1960.

A plaza at the foot of the Ben Franklin Parkway had been contemplated as early as 1932, when Edmund Bacon’s  Cornell student thesis included a park on the site of what was eventually dedicated as John F. Kennedy Plaza in 1967. The design by Vincent Kling included the saucer-like Hospitality Center designed by Harbeson, Hough, Livingston & Larson and built in 1961 before the first block of the Parkway was vacated for the underground parking and surface plaza now known popularly as Love Park for the Robert Indiana sculpture installed in 1976.

Ferko Playground in Juniata Park features these interesting concrete picnic structures built c. 1970.

Independence Park Visitor Center and its monumental bell tower were originally conceived to house the Liberty Bell during the 1976 Bicentennial celebration. When the bell moved instead to Independence Mall, the tower was used for the Bicentennial Bell, England’s gift for the festivities. One of the last surviving examples of Mission 66-era national park architecture in the city, the Cambridge Seven-designed structure once slated for demolition will now house, at least temporarily, the new American Revolution museum being planned for the site at 3rd and Chestnut.

Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates’ 1976 Franklin Court famously employs steel “ghost” structures to mark the site of Benjamin Franklin’s former home and gardens.  With underground museum space currently undergoing renovation, the plaza continues to be a popular Old City gathering place and pedestrian byway.

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