901 WALNUT STREET, PHILADELPHIA, INNOVATIVE REUSE AND DEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR $60 MILLION CLINICAL/OFFICE BUILDING

 

Thomas Jefferson University had several departments and uses competing for this tiny 5,000 sf site, which could not support them all. To obtain outside ideas about both financing and configuration, Jefferson issued a redevelopment RFP to four candidate firms. AthenianRazak was the only one of these who created an original plan for the site rather than parrot the plan issued in the RFP. Ours exploded the basic charter of the request, completely rethinking the approach to the problem with a concept that radically improved the utilization of the ‘sliver’ footprint using a series of innovative techniques:

  1. Aligning the new building with the floors of its adjacent 24 story tower (a building well past due for a rehab not yet scheduled) and bridging at every floor.
  2. Allowing for use of the adjacent Jefferson building’s core elements—elevators, stairs, and toilet rooms—which largely eliminated the need for them in the new building, meaning that the new tower footprint consisted almost entirely of usable floor space.
  3. Cantilevering the new building over another adjacent 3-story Jefferson building, further extending the limited floor area.
  4. Creating a zoning and entitlements approach that allowed the bridging to cross a public alley to the “core” building and obtaining the air-rights for the cantilever.

Jefferson ultimately decided to self-perform creation of this building, but appreciated our concept so much that they built the structure largely as suggested, creating the very successful contextual building at 901 Walnut.
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