Tom Stoelker, associate editor of the Architect's Newspaper, interviewed beleaguered New York architect Peter Gluck, who shared the latest renderings of his Race Street Tower—to be built at 205 Race Street—with a very disgruntled Old City Civic Association (OCCA) a couple nights ago. The group opposes the building, and it's not hard to see why: The 16-story tower would loom over the neighborhood at 197 feet—a scale that's familiar to Center City residents but unheard of in that historic quarter.
A prior plan for the building suggested it would be 100 feet, not 197, and the shift in height certainly contributed to OCCA's dismay. But Gluck told Stoelker that the height increase was actually a response to neighborhood context.
The initially approved building was 100 feet high all the way around its perimeter. The architect said the new design creates a lower parapet at 56 feet along Race Street, before setting back 14 feet and allowing the 197-foot high tower to rise. The setback would make way for a green roof and a two-story cutout into tower along the Race Street side. If it all goes as planned, the tower will have a large ground-floor retail space—perhaps, says Gluck, for a supermarket. "Old city desperately needs population and retail," he told Stoelker, "the kind of things that make a city work."
· Race Street Rising [A/N]