Blue Roof, Green Space, New City

 

Between two towers: Cira Green rests between Evo (pictured) and FMC Tower, currently under construction | Photo: Bradley Maule

Between two towers: Cira Green rests between Evo (pictured) and FMC Tower, currently under construction | Photo: Bradley Maule

As planning and design inch the much anticipated Rail Park forward on the long-unused Reading Viaduct, another space across town beat it to the title of Philadelphia’s first elevated park. Cira Green officially opens today, a 1.25-acre oasis of green between two blue towers in Brandywine Realty Trust’s growing urban inventory.

Cira Centre South, Brandywine’s “vertical neighborhood,” features Evo, the already-open 33-story residential tower designed by Erdy McHenry and aimed toward college students, FMC Tower, the 47-story mixed-use tower designed by César Pelli under construction, and the nine-story parking garage between them. Now, the garage is topped by a sloping, landscaped park with a blue roof stormwater management system that will keep its trees, shrubs, and grasses green, and take at least a little pressure off of the city’s sewers. The design comes from the collaboration of Erdy McHenry,„ Roofmeadow, and„ AKF Engineers.

At 95′ above street level, Cira Green affords views of the city’s growing skyline, with many nearby cranes changing the shape of West Philly, including one right over your head building the tallest tower west of the Schuylkill River. The view of Center City is especially great if you’re a fan of 2400 Chestnut, the white rectangular tower directly across the river.

Its opening marks the latest phase of Brandywine’s growth in Philadelphia that took off in earnest with the opening of Cira Centre in fall 2005. In the ten years since, Brandywine, a publicly-traded company based in suburban Radnor, has refined its urban developments around transit nodes. In Philadelphia, that’s included adding existing buildings like the Bell Atlantic Tower (since renamed Three Logan Square) and the twin Commerce Square towers to their portfolio in addition to the new construction at Cira Centre, Cira Centre South, and 1919 Market. And last week, Stephen Stofka reported on Brandywine’s preliminary plans for developing 2100 Market Street.

While Cira Green stands to make Brandywine very little revenue, it illustrates a commitment to the community they’re shaping in the way of a unique public amenity. With the exception of private events, the park will be open to the public 7AM–8PM most of the year and 6AM–10PM in summer months. To get there, enter on 30th Street between Chestnut and Walnut Streets. (Another access point will be available upon completion of the FMC Tower.) Look up for the “CIRA GREEN” on the underside of the sloping lawn, a sign you’re heading in the right direction.

Click any of the thumbnails below to launch the gallery.

About the author

Bradley Maule is co-editor of the Hidden City Daily and the creator of Philly Skyline. He's a native of Tyrone, Pennsylvania, and he's hung his hat in Shippensburg, Germantown, G-Ho, Fishtown, Portland OR, Brewerytown, and now Mt. Airy. He just can't get into Twitter, but he's way into Instagram @mauleofamerica.



2 Comments


  1. Truly a fantastic development for Philly. But it seems bizarre to me that Brandywine decided not to install some sort of screen on the side of the garage facing center city. Incredible that they are willing to spend the money to place a park on-top but can’t install any sort of camouflage for the garage? I guess we can hope the railyard in front is eventually covered and that development could help hide the garage. I will say that when viewed from above the garage, IRS building, and 30th street station share similar massing, which doesn’t look terrible.

  2. “The view of Center City is especially great if you’re a fan of 2400 Chestnut, the white rectangular tower directly across the river.”

    I see what you did there. Nicely played! That said, I’m looking forward to checking out this space and seeing if & how it is used by the public and/or the local apartment dwellers as it’s not as easy accessible as a street-level comparable space would be.

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
The True Center Of The City Revealed

The True Center Of The City Revealed

October 13, 2017  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

City Hall may be the "heart" of Philadelphia, but an unassuming corner in North Philly is the true center of the city. Harry K. explores the evolution of Penn's greene country towne and how Philadelphia has a history of being the center of attention > more

LIGHTS! MUSIC! ACTION! Historic Lansdowne Theater Poised For A Comeback

LIGHTS! MUSIC! ACTION! Historic Lansdowne Theater Poised For A Comeback

October 11, 2017  |  Vantage

After 30 years' slumber, Lansdowne's sumptuous Art Deco movie palace is ready to wake up, and rouse Main Street too, with music and community spirit. Ben Leech has the story > more

Wish You Were Here: Postcards From The Past Recall

Wish You Were Here: Postcards From The Past Recall “Real Philadelphia”

October 10, 2017  |  Vantage

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia's new exhibition, "Real Philadelphia: Selections from the Robert M. Skaler Postcard Collection," puts elusive images of working class city life in the limelight. Contributor Karen Chernick has the review > more

Designing The Future Of Healthcare With Stephen Klasko

Designing The Future Of Healthcare With Stephen Klasko

October 4, 2017  |  Vantage

Dr. Stephen Klasko wants to disrupt traditional hospital care and integrate medicine into our everyday life. Through service and information delivery systems similar to Netflix, Apple stores, and virtual reality, the president and CEO of Jefferson Healthcare System believes the future of our well being lies in smart design. Contributor Hilary Jay, founder of DesignPhiladelphia, sits down with Dr. Klasko to discuss breaking the status quo of the medical industry with user-minded health care > more

Mid Mod Prison-Motel On The Schuylkill River Paroled

Mid Mod Prison-Motel On The Schuylkill River Paroled

October 3, 2017  |  The Shadow Knows

It's a Mid-century Modern motor lodge. With prison cells. It's one of Philly's most perplexing landmarks on the Schuylkill River. The Shadow has the lowdown > more

Four Policy Tools To Advocate For At The Mayor's Historic Preservation Task Force Meeting

Four Policy Tools To Advocate For At The Mayor’s Historic Preservation Task Force Meeting

September 29, 2017  |  Soapbox

On Tuesday, October 3, Mayor Kenney's new Historic Preservation Task Force will hold an open meeting inviting the public to voice opinions and concerns over the state of preservation in the city. Contributor Starr Herr-Cardillo presents four effective policies adopted by cities across the country that could aid in solving Philadelphia's ongoing preservation crisis > more