Monday, May 14, 2007

Philly's Best New Company HQ? Forget Comcast. Try Urban Outfitters

It's a good day to zip down on the Broad Street subway to the old Navy Yard to lunch in the hangar-sized, public commissary of Urban Outfitters' new headquarters. Not only is the weather just right for sitting in the great, Crystal Palace of a space, and watching the South American freighters cruise by heavy with fruit, but the architects, MS&R of Minneapolis, have just won a coveted Urban Land Institute award. Their commissary, which serves as a sort of town hall for the entire Naval Business Center is where Urban's fashionistas
rub elbows with Navy engineers, Vitetta architects and soon, Tastykake bakers. Steve Poses, of the old Frog Commissary, dishes out the chow, so there is lots of good stuff to choose from.
If you poke you head into the lobbies of Urban Outfitters' palazzo-style headquarters building, you'll see that the historic rehab is unlike any other in Philadelphia. The typical renovation tries to restore a historic building to a fixed moment in time, but MS&R's seeks to preserve multiple layers of the past and the memory of the tens of thousands who labored there for the U.S. Navy. You'll be surprised how easily Urban's dress-making operation has settled into the factory lofts where the armaments of war were once made.
The renovation is getting lots of press. It's been noted on the prestigious design blog, Decor8. I also have a piece in the May Metropolis, now out on the newsstands. Once they update their site, you should be able to read it here.
(FYI to subway riders: Take the train to Pattison Avenue, then walk upstairs where there should be a Shuttle Bus waiting to the Navy Yard.)
In case you missed it, Friday's Changing Skyline went to Chester to visit the new Harrah's racino, a harbinger of the casino development planned for the Delaware waterfront. Wouldn't you rather have more development like Urban Outfitters and fewer slots barns and eight-story garages?

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

working down here...I can say it is a great environment

2:43 PM  
Blogger rasphila said...

Haven't been there, but the photos make me want to go. Just gorgeous!

3:36 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

I go to lunch at the Frog, the atmosphere is outstanding!

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's beautiful, they have dog runs and a yoga studio, but no childcare... A bit of a drag.

8:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"urban" outfitters.....

1:47 PM  
Blogger chris said...

It really is gorgeous. The decision by the architects to maintain the "broken-in" landscape legitimizes this space as a place where ideas evolve into a tangible good. its great that urban decided to mover to the navy yard as oppossed to finding space in CC; hopefully it just the beginning of development here.

12:02 AM  

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