Friday, October 07, 2005

Top Five Places to Look at the Cira Centre

The Cira Centre, Philadelphia's first new office tower in 15 years, and one of Cesar Pelli's best designs in a decade, quietly began moving in tenants this week, although its grand opening is still a month away. While the tower isn't quite finished, Philadelphians have been cooing over its facets for months. One thing we like about the Cira is its chameleon quality. It looks different from whereever you stand. Here's my list of top five places to admire the Cira Centre:

1 - From Schuylkill Banks Park, north of Market Street. You're so close, you have to look up to see the facets.
2 - 13th and Callowhill Streets. From here, the Cira looks like an iceberg about to crash into the Philly Titanic.
3- 16th and Arch Streets. This is the cropped view that includes glimpses of Aldo Giurgola's white INA Building and Brad Fiske's red Bell Atlantic Building. The Bell Atlantic was the last office tower to go up in Philly and it's nice to know that the office corridor now continues west with Cira blue. The color completes the patriotic theme along Arch.
4 - From an Amtrak train, heading into Philadelphia. The Cira is a banner announcing you're home. Plus its moody glass tells you the weather.
5 - Girard Avenue in Brewerytown. Even from this northern neighborhood, you can see the big ship has docked.

What's your favorite place to look at the Cira Centre?

Read my complete review of the Cira Centre next Friday, Oct. 14, in the Inquirer.


Blogger martha said...

I wouldn't change a thing on your top five... to make it a top seven, I would add:

6. from the ballpark. Simply elegant. Doesn't look like it's just the guy who couldn't afford to build a tower in Center City (and with another architect, it very well could have)

7. from the parkway... I can't recall the precise intersection, but there are places where you almost feel like the Cira is a building along the parkway and helps to frame that space. I could be alone on that one.

12:54 PM  
Blogger mark said...

The Cira Centre is fabulous.Although,I think 25 years from now we may look back and wish the Cira was perhaps 10-20 stories taller. IMO the Center City/University City skyline will continue to grow and this was such a great design that one day may get lost in the shuffle.

Koz zone aside, this building was pretty much built on speculation and it's almost 100% leased before it's opening. Thats very rare and this building easily could have been 10 stories higher.

5:53 PM  
Blogger brand ave said...

The Cira Center IS fabulous! I must admit, when I first heard about the project and saw the renderings, I was somewhat nonplussed. But now that it's built...! It is easily some of Pelli's best work.

- Walking across Hill Field from 34th/Walnut toward 33rd/Chestnut, the Cira Centre rises up directly ahead. Against a blue sky the building looks like a mirage. It's fantastic.

- Approaching Center City on the southbound Schuylkill, the building presents a idiosyncratic counterpoint to CC's towers.

- From the Walnut Street bridge the Cira Centre appears to erupt from the roof of 30th St. Interesting contrast between old and new, heavy and light.

5:19 PM  
Blogger shawn said...

while the view from 30th and walnut might be interesting to birds, the cira centre has destroyed one of the most wonderful and unexpected of philadelphia vistas - the art museum glimpsed through the train sheds and rising prophetically above them.

while cira makes an interesing explanation point in the skyline -but far too short - it is philadelphia's most anti-urban building in ages (okay, since the Kimmel Center). it has no front door for goodness sake! the design spits in the face of philadelphia's pedestrian tradition. i see no reason it couldn't have been both striking and humane.

12:47 PM  
Blogger albert said...

my favorite view of the building is from 23rd st

3:41 PM  
Blogger Vladimir said...

From the middle of the parking lot at Eakins Oval-- it floats among the trees of the Schuylkill River park like a sculpture in an English garden, its eastern corner pointing ambitiously upward.

6:12 PM  

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