Comments on Children's Hospital for the PCPC

The Design Advocacy Group is eager to support the research facility at 700 Schuylkill Avenue for the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. We have high hopes that the finished project will attract the best and brightest from all over the region and the world, to further the important work of the hospital. We expect that PCPC will assess the merits of this project in the context of planning for the whole central Schuylkill waterfront.


We believe the Commission can encourage revisions that will benefit CHOP, the city, and the neighborhood.


The current project will go forward under its current industrial zoning, but will be rezoned to a more appropriate district as soon as permits are issued. Under the new zoning, CHOP will follow the Civic Design Review recommendation and submit a master plan for future construction, including schematic design of the podium.


A single curb cut on the South Street bridge will maintain safety in the bike lanes and give a more graceful edge to the campus. Small scale storefronts strategically located will mask the garage and welcome visitors to South Street Plaza. One could house loaner bikes for CHOP staff for quick trips across the river, or lunchtime fitness rides along Schuylkill Banks.


Low-rise buildings at the Schuylkill Avenue street edge north of Bainbridge Plaza will make the transition to neighboring row houses and mask the three story parking garage and roadway. The available 30' to 42' is deeper than that at the Edgewater Apartments at 23rd and Race and other sites where good design has cleverly made parking garages disappear. Design of these buildings can make spaces above and below the 5' flood plain to accommodate an artisan coffee shop, raw rental spaces for our millennial entrepreneurs, bicycle repair, shoe repair, flats for visiting researchers, computer repair, day care, a used book store, nutritious popsicles (http://real-pops.com/about), mani-ped, a barber, doggie daycare, a florist - all useful amenities for CHOP staff and neighbors alike, that will bring character to the street level of the facility. 
At DAG we truly believe that Philadelphia is the next great city, and that it is perfectly poised to take advantage in the national upsurge of interest in central city living. When 700 Schuylkill opens its doors, we don't want to see CHOP saddled with a "yesterday" building. Minor changes can make this a real urban landmark of its time.


Kiki Bolender, AIA, LEED AP, Chair, Design Advocacy Group
2118 Locust Street kiki@bolenderarchitects.com 215-731-0390w, 215-888-6393c


CC: Nancy Rogo Trainer, Dan Garofalo, Gary Jastrzab, R. David Schaaf, Alan Urek