The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, has, over the last several years, led the charge to turn the Delaware River Trail into a lovely and welcoming amenity along the river, allowing for a much more pleasant experience for those biking and walking by the water. Race and Cherry Street Piers have become major attractions for Philadelphia’s eastern border, with the presence of art being one of the main draws. The newest addition to this (at least for the time being) is the stunning Weaver’s Knot: Sheet Bend installation by Ball-Nogues Studio that currently sits between said piers, creating a gleaming new landmark for the arts.

"Weaver's Knot: Sheet Bend" by Ball-Nogues Studio sits along the trail between Race Street and Cherry Street Piers

If you think this is a serious installation, there’s even bigger news ahead for this stretch of the waterfront. Thanks to an Instagram post from AOS Architects, we now know that something else arts-focused is in the works. Philadelphia Contemporary has plans for a two-story, 15K sqft structure which will serve as a floating gallery for a wide range of art from the organization. This barge-like building will have the ability to disconnect from the piers and travel up and down the east coast, creating a mobile museum showing off some of Philly’s best artists.

Current view looking northeast towards Race Street Pier, with the BFB hovering overhead
The new Philadelphia Contemporary gallery would float next to Race Street Pier
Current view looking towards Cherry Street Pier
Another rendering showing off the landscaping and modern design
Light and bright interiors will show off the artwork

We are loving the modern design, as it looks like it will create a clean backdrop to show off the works. The idea of a floating museum is also extremely exciting, creating yet another reason for folks to get down to the Delaware River and check things out. We aren’t sure if/when this will be happening as details are limited, but we sure do hope that we see this amazing concept pop-up soon in this increasingly activated area.

This actually isn’t the first time that Philadelphia Contemporary had plans for a physical space. Several years back, plans for a gallery were released, with a similarly modern building proposed for West Philly near Drexel’s campus. While the designs from Johnston Marklee and MGA Partners never came to be, it sure seems as if those past designs were inspiration for the new floating project. Let’s check out what could have been.

Past plans for a West Philly location that never came to be
Another view shows the modern design amongst the landscaping
An interior shot shows the bright and light plans that have been carried forward

All told, we couldn’t be more thrilled for this project. Bringing high-quality design to a rapidly developing area will make the waterfront that much more enjoyable for everyone. We doubt all of the new residents in the area will be upset to have such an interesting aquatic institution in the future.