In Summer 2014, convention attendees in Philadelphia can look forward to exploring a brand new space just a stone’s throw from the Pennsylvania Convention Center, as the area surrounding City Hall transforms into a vibrant green civic space for visitors, workers and residents. Dilworth Plaza — the outdoor area at the heart of Center City Philadelphia between the Convention Center, Avenue of the Arts and the beginning of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway – is starting to take shape following more than a year of demolition and extensive underground construction and is on schedule for its grand debut next summer. The plaza will boast an improved gateway to the city’s subway lines as well as shady seating areas, an outdoor café and a programmable fountain fed by rainwater, stored in a cistern below the plaza. The space will also feature a lawn surrounded by seating areas, making it the perfect place to relax or catch a bite between convention sessions.
Public art is way of life in Philadelphia with more than 3,500 murals, sculptures and mosaics integrated into the landscape. From small village-like streets with historical churches and homes, to modern day piazzas, skyscrapers and grand open space, Philadelphia boasts a creative spirit unlike any other, so it comes as no surprise that artwork plays an important part in the design of Dilworth Plaza. A specially commissioned work of art created by internationally recognized artist Janet Echelman will be integrated into the fountain and will trace the path of trains traveling on the three lines below the plaza in real time, coded to the colors associated with each transit line.
As a city committed to sustainability, with a plan created by Mayor Michael Nutter to make Philadelphia the greenest city in America, the sustainable design of the plaza will add dozens of new trees and other landscaping, providing a welcoming environment for commuters using public transportation. The space is able to accomodate up to 8,000 people for outdoor concerts and events.