Conceived of as a place as opposed to a building, the café creates a quiet respite for visitors to reflect on their visit to Independence Mall and absorb the vastness of both the monuments and history that make up Philadelphia. Located just across from Independence Mall Visitor’s Center, the central location acts as a catalyst for activity midway through the mall sequence.
The café structure provides food-service support for the upper terrace and allows for a variety of menu and drink options. Building on the National Park Service’s long history of open picnic/dining facilities, the café is a minimal, open-air structure that provides moderate protection from the elements. The east and west facades of the structure are comprised of movable glass walls that can be fully open or closed depending on weather conditions. This flexibility enables the café to extend its usable seasons for visitors.
In phase 2 of the project, a hyperbolic paraboloid tent structure will provide shade and moderate protection from the elements, which further defines the site as a space for café visitors. This more intimate setting will provide an area for outdoor educational programming.