PSFSbuilding which is now known as the Loews Philadelphia Hotel is a 32storey building that was opened in 1932. The client of the buildingwas the Philadelphia and Saving Fund Society, a company which soughtthe 12 Market Street, Philadelphia City, Pennsylvania because of itspotential for business. The construction combined two architecturedesign from different world, as the designer were familiar withdifferent design Howe with local design and Lascaze with Europeandesign (Robert 4). The building has received various accolades andpraises from a different organization to influence the design ofother buildings in the country. The T-shaped skyscraper was qualifiedas an international design because it went against the conventionaldesigns that incorporated domes and other beautification features(Groflart par. 2). Although the building is currently owned by theLoews Hotels Corporations, the company only renovated it to restoreits magnificence but retained its name, written in neon sign at thetop to retain its identity.
Thispaper examines the design of , its history, its uniquedesign and the influence in the architectural industry.
The32-storey Skyscraper was funded by the Savings and Fund Society andthe project was managed by two architects Howe and Lascaze. Thedesign of the building is based on a combination of the AmericanBeaux-Arts and the European Modernism. Howe was well familiar withthe traditional design of building in the United States and the Stateof Pennsylvania which Lascaze, on the other hand, has a goodexperience with the European modernism (Finkel, par. 3). Theircollaboration is well captured in various aspects of the buildingwhich also helped meeting the desires of the client, James Wilcox.The 491 feet skyscraper in the Market East in Philadelphia,Pennsylvania is a modern facility that encompassed the architecturedesign from American and Europe. The skyscraper is based on 557,000square feet (52,000m2)(Groflart par. 3). The base of has a banking hall andretail stores which are covered with gray granite walls and floor.The back side of the building is covered with the black brick whichmatches with the sand-colored limestone fronts of the offices.According to Groflart (par. 3), the construction of the building tookapproximately $8 million. The international design collaboration wasobserved as a good strategy for the PSFS Company to expand itsoperations that win international investors. The design of PSFStherefore synchronized with the plan of the management of theSociety. The cross bar that splits the building serves as thebackbone of the , in addition to setting two openingsfor the subway entrance to the building. In his analysis of the PSFSbuilding, Robert argued the unique structure combined with thegranite and limestone finish made the building to stand out ascompared to other building used other traditional finish tiles (2).
Locationand architectural developments
Accordingto Groflart (par. 4), the construction of PSFS was influenced byvarious buildings which include the German buildings, Mendelsonhndepartment stores and Tagblatt tower and Art-Deco Sketch of 1929. TheTagblatt tower is a German high-rise building that was constructed inthe 1920s. The Tagblatt Tower by the Ernst Otto Oßwald embracedinternational design because it was constructed at the time whenthere was spread out the discussion for high rise buildings. Thecomparison of the PSFS tower with the Tagblatt tower is because theyalmost look the same on the outside appearance, only that the PSFStower has a more sophisticated quality finish. The planning of the was based on targeting a place that will help attractmore customers and business into renting the spaces. PSFS contains abank and other corporate offices. James M. Wilcox had the idea ofsetting an office building tower in market streets since the year1926 before it was started being worked on in 1927. According toRobert the design of the building was meant to capture theconventional design in the City combined with the modern architecturedesigns in other countries in Europe (6). The location was ideal forthe building because of Market Street. Philadelphia is characterizedby business operations because of its proximity to the middle andupper middle class. James Wilcox’s desire for a unique and elegantlocation for the headquarters of Philadelphia Saving Fund Society wasdue to his good understanding of the trends in the European buildings(Finkel, par. 5).
Uniqueaspects of the building which are revolutionary
PSFSbuilding revolutionized the City of Philadelphia because thearchitecture shifted from the traditional architecture styles anddesigns that were characterized with the city. The skyscraperdeparted from the traditional designs of putting domes and otherornaments that were easily seen on other buildings in the city. Thearchitects, William Lescaze and Geoge Howe, were more focused onembracing international designs which included modern Europeandesigns in order to move from the traditional boundaries. In 1976,PSFS was named a National Historic Landmark because of its uniquedesign that matches the international architecture.
Howis the building appealing or putting off
The32-storey skyscraper appeals to both the public and the experts inthe architectural industry because of unique design and finishing.The T-shaped building was designed by two architects with theirexperience inclined to different locations. Howe was familiar with acommon design that finishing that was employed in many building inthe United States which Lascaze was familiar with the European models(Deborah and Richard par. 5). Therefore, when they collaborated, theydeveloped a design with the touches from the indigenous design andinternational designs which were termed as the European modernism.Although the designs of the is said to have beeninfluenced by other buildings in the country, it still stands outbecause of its additional features including the tough steelstructure, granite structure, the use of granite and limestonefinishing. The elegant additions finish such as the neon sign on topand being the first building to be fully air conditioned contributedto it being named as a National Historic Landmark.
Thebuilding failed to bring originality in the architectural industrybecause it was based on the previous buildings of other architectssuch as Mendelsohn Erich from Germany. On the other hand, the designwas criticized for lacking the international touch as it was claimedby the architects. However, the criticism of the design was seen asbased on the fact that the architects went against the conventionaldesign in the country (Finkel par. 7).
The was constructed in 1932 bringing a new revolution tothe architectural industry in the country. At the time of itsconstruction, the architects in the city were mostly based on usingindigenous traditional design which was in the markets with dome andother forms of decorations. However, the new building owned by thesavings and fund society under James Wincox, brought a new breed ofdesigns which incorporated the indigenous style and the internationaldesigns from the Europe. Having gone against the convention, the PSFSbuilding has remained a landmark in the city and influenced a widerange of subsequent buildings. The steel structure, granite, andlimestone finish makes the building to be one of a kind. The designof the building was influenced by German designs from buildings suchas Stagblatt and buildings by the Mendelsohn, a Jewish architect fromGermany. Even after the Savings and fund Society Company closedafter it went bankrupt, the Loews Corporations took over, renovatedit and maintained its magnificence without removing the PSFS neonsign at the top.
Deborah,Stephens and Richard Webster Burns.Pennsylvania Architecture: The Historic American Buildings Survey1933-1990(Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission), 2014.
Finkel,Ken.“Modernism Remaking the Workaday World”2013. Web. 6 April. 2017http://www.phillyhistory.org/blog/index.php/2013/06/psfs-modernism-remaking-the-workaday-world/
Groflart.“LostPotential: Banking on A Better Future for PSFS Building”2015. Web. 6 Apr. 2017 <http://hiddencityphila.org/2015/06/lost-potential-banking-on-a-better-future-for-psfs-building/>
Robert,Sterm, George Howe: Towardse a Modern American Architecture. YaleUniversity Press, 1975
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