If you’re reading this, it’s fairly likely you’ve been in the heart of Philadelphia’s Center City, where Broad and Market meet at City Hall to form one of the most impressive crossroads in North America. Add in the world-famous Love Park immediately catty-corner to the northwest, and you have one of the most premier and central locations in the entire region, directly over rail to boot. With the backdrop of this incredible location, the lackluster building at 1515 Market St. fades a bit into the background.
Previously home to the beyond-grand Broad Street Station that was torn down in the 1950s, this rectangular building was the first modern addition to the Penn Center complex which reinvented the central business district as the project grew over the middle of the 20th century. This building, also known as Three Penn Center in the past, doesn’t strike the same architectural notes as some of the other buildings in the area. An aerial of the building and a marketing sizzle reel can give you a better idea of what’s currently on site in case you also needed your memory jogged.
This nondescript building is about to get a surprisingly impactful facelift in the very near future, all thanks to Temple University. 1515 Market St. has been home to Temple’s Center City campus (among other commercial tenants), though you’d be hard pressed to know that unless you were about to walk through the front door. Thanks to a submission to the Sign Committee of the Art Commission, we know that a cherry-colored upgrade is in the works. The ground-level will get a major splash of cherry red paint, with larger signage making it clear that this is a Temple building. Perhaps the most striking, though, is the red band and 12′ tall “T” logo that will light up the top of the building, creating a new landmark on the Center City skyline.
This change is way more dramatic than one would expect given the relatively minor changes to the color of only parts of the building. In addition to helping Temple’s brand presence and beautifying a plaza that’s not always the most welcoming visually, we hope this may also inspire others to think about the impact of a fresh coat of paint. Creatively utilizing paint and signage can transform a building overnight, and this is a wonderful example of a low(ish) cost project that has an immediate positive impact. We don’t usually get DIY inspiration from major universities, but this project has us wanting to throw down a drop cloth and add some color to a wall or two at home. We’ll probably pass on the huge “T,” though.