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Construction begins on Love Park’s Welcome Center with $700K pledge

The flying saucer is getting a makeover

The construction site at Love Park in Philadelphia, looking past the fences toward the Welcome Center, a round, midcentury modern structure.
Construction on the Welcome Center at Love Park is underway.
Photography by Melissa Romero

Construction on Love Park’s iconic Welcome Center, affectionately known as the "flying saucer," is underway with the announcement of a $700,000 commitment from a sustainable building company.

St. Gobain, which specializes in sustainable building materials, announced yesterday with the likes of Mayor Jim Kenney in attendance that it would be making a five-year, $700,000 commitment toward the Welcome Center renovations. It represents 20 percent of the total budget for the project.

"Love Park is part of our lives, part of the Philadelphia experience," Mayor Kenney said at the announcement at Thomas Paine Plaza. "Now we’re going to love our Love Park even more."

The $700K commitment includes both cash and building materials and services from St. Gobain, which will be the presenting sponsor for the center for the next decade. The city first announced its partnership with St. Gobain in June 2015, after it was decided that the midcentury modern structure would remain the focal point of the park.

John Crowe of St. Gobain, City Council president Darrell Clarke, and Mayor Jim Kenney stick their heads through a large rendering of Love Park.
From left to right: Jim Crowe of St. Gobain, City Council president Darrell Clarke, and Mayor Jim Kenney pose for the "interactive" rendering revealed at yesterday’s announcement on Love Park.

The city broke ground on the $16.5 million renovation project in February earlier this year. Hargreaves Associates and KieranTimberlake are behind the re-design, which will have an emphasis on green lawns, fountains, gardens, and light fixtures. The Welcome Center will also double as an art installation, with Haddad | Drugan’s Chromoscope interactive light mural.

Construction on the Welcome Center marks the start of the second phase of the project. Love Park is scheduled to re-open in 2017.