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Ginormous Garage + $137 Million Building at Temple

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By Jared Brey

In the core of Temple University’s North Philadelphia campus—between, say, Broad and 11th streets, Norris and Cecil B. Moore—not much has changed since the 1960s, architecturally speaking. The bulk of the academic buildings—the halls of Curtis, Barton, Beury, Ritter, Annenberg and McGonigle, along with Paley Library—all went up between 1956 and 1969.

Recent construction has replaced Curtis Hall with Alter Hall, and produced the main campus Tyler School of Art building and a brand-new home for the architecture school. And there’s the monolith-looking, questionably-non-minority-hiring new residence hall going up at Broad and Cecil B. Moore. But the dominant landmark is still the weird, sort-of-combined Anderson and Gladfelter towers at 12th and Berks, which share an open, concrete lawn thingy one story above ground level. And those won’t look the same much longer.

A few weeks ago, half of the 12th Street sidewalk between Norris and Berks was cordoned off, and a giant drill appeared on the lawn outside the west entrance to Gladfelter Hall. Hard hats have dug that lawn up and begun sinking I-beams to support what Temple is calling the Science, Education, and Research Center, a six-story building that will connect Gladfelter (and Anderson, sort of) to the engineering building at the corner of 12th and Norris. Designed by USA Architects, the “SERC” will cost the university $137 million.

Also: the dirt lot. The one at 11th and Montgomery where, if you went to Temple, you’ll remember, cars double-parked each other all day long. Apparently that’s turning into a real parking garage for at least 1,000 automobiles, five stories high, with the first floor dedicated to retail. The garage was planned by Timothy Haahs and Associates, an engineering/architecture firm which has planned a number of parking structures around Temple’s campus.

“He has a Temple heart, too,” said Michael McCann, Temple’s chief architect.

He meant it literally. Haahs told us himself: he had a heart transplant at Temple hospital in 1999. So, ya know, go Owls.