The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC), the agency overseeing the redevelopment of Philadelphia’s Delaware River waterfront, has hired San Francisco-based Hargreaves Associates to redesign the ailing riverfront. Among the challenges the landscape architects will face is reconnecting the new park space with the surrounding city. Currently, the waterfront is disconnected by the large Interstate 95 and Columbus Boulevard, an expanse that can reach up to 1,200 feet wide, according to Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron. Hargreaves has won accolades for handling waterfronts and highways in Louisville, KY and Chattanooga, TN.
According to Saffron, Hargreaves will study creating better connections between Market and South streets, but the DRWC has not asked for a study of burying or removing the highway, as local advocates had hoped. Hargreaves will examine improving pedestrian access at existing key points.
Hargreaves principal Mary Margaret Jones told Saffron, that among the strategies she is pursuing is an extension to an existing highway cap with terraces outdoor rooms leading to Penn’s Landing along the river, a new public space that would be the size of Rittenhouse Square. PlanPhilly reported that Jones is expected to be on the groung in Philadelphia this May to study the site’s complex connectivity issues and elevation changes to better understand how a new waterfront could be engineered.
Hargreaves’ study is expected to take six to eight months and forthcoming concept plans will be later refined into designs that could feasibly be built. Joining Hargreaves’ team are New York-based architects FXFOWLE, Guy Nordenson and Associates, KS Engineers, HR&A, RBA Group, Becker & Frondorf.