Philadelphia Skylines

Philadelphia Skylines
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Philadelphia Skylines

by Michael O’Brien

Steeped in culture and history, the city of Philadelphia is among the oldest cities in America. Having twice served and the nation's capital, Philadelphia has its roots in the American Revolutionary War and the fight for independence from Great Britain. This great American city is considered by many people to be the birthplace of modern democracy, though at one time it was one of the largest cities in the British Empire. The Philadelphia skyline features an eclectic blend of old and new architectural styles with some buildings that date back to the 18th Century.

The skyline of Philadelphia also reflects a history and diversity that makes this one of the world's great cities. City founder William Penn the name Philadelphia from the Greek meaning City of Brotherly Love. From the row houses on the west side to Independence Hall to the tallest modern skyscrapers, pictures of the Philadelphia skyline are timeless.

The skyline of Philadelphia features a magnificent blending of architectural styles from modern skyscrapers to the classical Georgian styling of Independence Hall. Quaint streets filled with row houses can be throughout the north and west sides of the city. Classic examples of Victorian architecture the row house style of building can be seen in other American city such as Baltimore. Examples of modern architectural designs can be seen in structures such as One Liberty Plaza and the Comcast Center.

There is seemingly no end to the historic buildings and structures one can find in Philadelphia. From the Valley Forge National Arch, the Merchants Exchange, Independence Hall and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, history and striking beauty can be found all around this historic city.

Philadelphia City Hall

The Philadelphia City Hall building reigned as the tallest structure in the city from its opening in 1901 until 1987 when the 945 foot One Liberty Plaza building was completed. The rectangular lines of the City Hall Building are a classic of Second Empire architecture that adds to the grand styling of the building. Rising over 540 feet above Penn Square the tower is capped by a bronze statue of William Penn, who is regarded as the founding father of Pennsylvania. With its signature clock, the Philadelphia City Hall graces the Philadelphia skyline like no other building in the city.

Comcast Center

The Comcast Center is the tallest building towering over 970 feet above John F. Kennedy Boulevard. With over 1.2 million square feet of space, the Comcast Center the gleaming glass and steel exterior combined with specially designed exterior lighting, makes this monolith a very prominent and recognizable feature of the Philadelphia skyline. The height of building combined with its shape necessitated the incorporation of a sophisticated damping system. The damping system is designed to minimize the amount of sway the building experiences in high wind conditions.

One and Two Liberty Place

Designed by the world renowned architect Helmut Jahn, One Liberty Place is the second tallest building in Philadelphia, rivaled only by the Comcast Center. Rising over 940 feet above Market Street, the top portion of the building bares a very close resemblance to the Art Deco styling of the Chrysler Building in New York City. One Liberty Place offers a combination of office, commercial and hotel space. Not as tall as its sister building, Two Liberty Place still claims the title as the third tallest building in the city. Featuring 58 floors and an Art Deco design style these two giants dominate the Philadelphia skyline.

Mellon Center

Capped with a distinctive pyramid, the Mellon Center is part of the larger Penn Center building complex. Completed in 1990, the Mellon Center stands over 790 feet above Market Street.

The Bell Atlantic Tower

This monolithic tower features over 1.3 million square feet of office and commercial space. The red granite and glass exterior enhances the 53 story structure that stands nearly 740 feet above the city.

The Historic Philadelphia Skyline

While modern skyscrapers dominate the Philadelphia skyline, many smaller, but very historic structures add charm and a deep sense of pride to this great city. The history of America is evident on every corner and neighborhood.

Independence Hall

A testimony to the struggle for liberty and revolution, Independence Hall has stood witness to the some of the most important events in American history. Taking some 20 years to complete, the hall was completed in 1753. Constructed of brick, Independence Hall reflects a classic example of Georgian style architecture. Visitors to the Independence Hall are treated to a close up look at the famous Liberty Bell which was once mounted in the building's bell tower.

Serving as the home of the Second Continental Congress, Independence Hall was the sight of two historic seminal events in American history. The United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were both signed here.

Benjamin Franklin Bridge

Adding to the beauty and history of the Philadelphia skyline is the historic Benjamin Franklin Bridge and was briefly the longest bridge of its type in the world. One of the oldest steel suspension bridges in the country, the BFB spans the Delaware River traversing over 1700 feet.