One Liberty Place and Two Liberty Place

1987; 1990

Left: One Liberty Place; right: Two Liberty Place

According to Philadelphia Architecture: A Guide to the City," when new office buildings were developed west of City Hall in the 1950s, an informal 'gentleman's agreement' limited new buildings to a height no greater than the 491 foot City Hall tower, thereby enabling the statue of William Penn atop the tower to preside symbolically over the city" (132). However, these two office buildings, finished by 1990, violate that agreement. One Liberty Place, the tallest building in Philadelphia, is 960 feet to the top of its spire. Both towers have blue and silver metallic glass and masonry bands in gray granite.

One Liberty Place

Skyline identity--Post-Modern elegance

Repetitive gables define the top, reminding one of the much earlier Art Deco Chrysler Building. This 60-story, mixed use building is also trimmed with neon along the gable edges, giving it a spectacular night-time identity.

Left: view through my hotel atrium; center: corner entrance

Both towers are set on podiums in granite. At ground level the base is divided into bays, some of which are gabled, reducing the monumentality and also relating to neighboring buildings and shops.

Two Liberty Place


Central arcade with rotunda

The two towers are connected with an arcade containing retail stores and a food court.

Work Cited:
Foundation for Architecture, Philadelphia. Philadelphia Architecture. A Guide to the City. Second Edition. Philadelphia: Foundation for Architecture, 1994.

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© 2008 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.