This project became an integral part of the urban community of Northern Liberties in Philadelphia. Located on a three-acre portion on the south side of the former Schmidt’s Brewery, this complex comprises housing, retail, office space, public amenities and the conversion of two formerly vacant warehouses. At the center of the project is a public piazza, which is fronted by numerous shops, galleries and restaurants.
The apartment layout aspect of this project features a two-story loft arrangement. Similar to Le Corbusier’s unit housing section, access corridors alternate every third floor, which allow the units to have windows on each side of the building.
The design features thru-building openings that allow light to pass through the facade and soften the presence of the building from the street. These upper level “holes” also allow for elevated balconies and gardens.
At the corner of the development is a glass-clad, multi-story office building that creates a focal point for the neighborhood. Its minimal footprint provides vast amounts of open space for public use.
The project was developed by Tower Investments, Inc.
Evo and Sky Green at Cira Centre South is a new off-campus residential Tower and one-acre park located in University City. The Tower extends the Cira skyline on the western bank of the Schuylkill River and represents a new housing option on a challenging site within walking distance to retail, residential, mass transportation and university facilities. EVO features attractively furnished units with bed-bath parity. It includes a broad array of high-end appointments including a roof top swimming pool, media lounge and a 24-hour fitness center.
The Tower is more than a place to sleep, eat and enjoy the wealth of amenities expected in a contemporary residential tower. This Tower is a critical component providing supportive, human-scaled residential communities. Smartly located “Public Squares” within the building are hubs of intellectual, social and recreational activity that stand at the center of a college experience, bringing together students, faculty, staff and the general public to form shared communities within the larger context of the nearby campuses and the City of Philadelphia.
Dubbed one of the tallest student apartment buildings in the United States, EVO sets new standards for student urban apartment living and along with its one-acre green roof as an added amenity, this project is in line to also establish new standards in sustainability and storm water management, targeting LEED Gold.
2015 – NCSEA Structural Engineering Award – Outstanding Project over $100 million
2015 – AIA Philadelphia Honor Award for a Built Project
The Lumen-Air House was designed in collaboration with Professor Tim Stenson for Upstate, an interdisciplinary center for design, research and real estate founded at the School of Architecture at Syracuse University. Upstate was seeking a sustainable and economical house that would breathe life back into Syracuse’s Near Westside neighborhood. Crucial to Upstate’s mission was the practicality, affordability and adaptability of the house. Per Upstate’s market research, the project would need to be a 1,100-1,500sf home containing four bedrooms that could be built for under $150,000, including fees and site work. The final product would need to represent an example of cutting-edge, sustainable practices, but shouldn’t leave the user feeling as though they were living in an architectural experiment.
The joys of Syracuse weather bring about the challenges of designing high performance, low energy housing in the surrounding area. In August, it is 82 degrees with a pleasant westerly breeze, but in February it’s 15 degrees with a rather unpleasant northwest wind. The challenge is not simply to design a house, but to design two houses in one – a multi-mode environmental device.
The Lumen-Air House is a machine for living – in specific relation to the weather. In the warmer months – May through mid-October – the house opens flower-like to filter sunlight and accept the free flow of fresh air. For the cold gray winter it buttons up. The interior living spaces are protected, insulated, by thermal buffer zones on the north and south faces. Though closed down, the interior of the house glows with diffused daylight through the multiple layers of greenhouse enclosure. In the shoulder seasons – early to mid-fall and mid-to-late spring – the open-closed aspect of the house adjusts to the changing weather. The result is a house that engages directly and intimately with the weather throughout the entire year.
The Lumen-Air House does not intend to camouflage into it surroundings. On the contrary, these types of houses will introduce a conspicuous and positive, yet critical compliment to the character of the Near Westside neighborhood. The houses are optimistic. They are outwardly asserting that architecture can efficiently respond to climate, and, through design-for-better performance, also provide shelter, comfort and environmental benefits. Benefits to the individual include the extensive vegetable planter located on the roof. It is capable of producing enough food in the summer months to feed a family of 5 and still have left over produce for friends, family and surrounding neighbors
Through its particular and striking form, we also intend our design to signal and to critically proclaim that buildings must effectively engage their environment. Though not shy, these houses also conform to and compliment the housing fabric of the neighborhood. They are volumetrically sympathetic with surrounding buildings, and thus can patch holes in this existing fabric.
Erdy McHenry Architecture, working with the Architect of Record, Holmes King Kallquist & Associates in Syracuse, NY designed a mixed-use housing for approximately 312 beds with a breakdown including studios, one bedroom units, and 2-bed / 2-bath and 4-bed / 4-bath suites.
The complex is composed of a total of five floors, four of which are residential floors. The ground floor includes a combined coffee shop and convenience store; a clubhouse with a fitness center, computer lab and business center and a Department of Public Safety office.
A portion of the facade on Henry Street is pulled westward to create a planted entry plaza, providing a visual separation in the block-long facade. Seating from the retail space on the south end of the plaza provides life to a long-dormant portion of Henry Street while an outside terrace on the western side of the main building lobby allows students a quieter setting for studies.
2013 – AIA Central NY – Citation for Design | Residential: Multi-Family Award
The Courtyard by Marriott is located in the heart of the Philadelphia Navy Yard in a prominent location visible from Interstate 95, directly south of Center City Philadelphia along Broad Street. The five-story, LEED certified Courtyard is a significant contributor in the continued revitalization of the Yard. Accounting for 100,000 square feet, this full service, 172-room hotel is an integral part of the continuing implementation of the Navy Yard Masterplan.
The ground floor houses an enhanced dining and bar/lounge facility, a fitness room and approximately 2,000 square feet of meeting space for use by hotel guests and corporations within the Navy Yard. Preliminary studies were conducted to guarantee the project would maintain the established facade curvature that faces the on-site park, while ensuring day-lighting and views for all of the guestrooms and primary spaces contained within the building. This client request was incorporated into the design for the Courtyard by Marriott, which utilizes curved glass to create both enticing views and the roof that will cover the Rouse Boulevard entrance within the Navy Yard.
The building lobby is accentuated by a continuous ribbon that wraps along the wall, floor and ceiling surfaces in order to direct guests through the space both visually and physically. Utilizing aluminum and wood as part of a material palette reminiscent of those used in ship-building, the ribbon greets arriving guests at the ceiling of the porte-cochère. It extends across the lobby ceiling before transitioning down as the backdrop to the reception area, then forming an apron upon which the kiosks sit. The ribbon continues onto the floor, which visually directs guests to the elevator before wrapping up the ceiling en route to the dining and lounge areas. It finally becomes the field on which sits the communal tables. The balance of the floor finishes are comprised of a custom carpet derived from patterning developed from the Marriott brand as well as a linear-patterned porcelain tile.
The exterior of the building at the guestrooms are clad in a Composite Metal Panel rainscreen system, giving the building an ever changing skin that depends upon the time of day and amount of sunlight. The exterior rainscreen creates a system to reduce the building’s overall heat gain by using a series of sub-girts and custom aluminum clips to prevent transfer of heat to the building sub-framing. The base of the building is comprised of a mix of aluminum storefront and porcelain wall tile that also extends up the vertical circulation towers.
The Radian is a 500-bed, residential and retail center at the edge of the University of Pennsylvania’s rapidly expanding campus. The project was developed by a private developer in collaboration with the university, which owns the land. The design integrates ground-level retail, residential services, and open space into a hybrid building that not only serves its residents and the university population, but the West Philadelphia community as well.
Ground-level retail pushes back from the street to open a public space for informal gathering. The residential entrance exists along this axis and public activity extends up and under the residential tower via a grand stair. This open court aligns with an adjacent quad on the south side of Walnut Street connecting with Locust Walk. Outdoor dining options are provided at the upper terrace level and allow for glimpses onto the street.
The building skin is a pre-fabricated rainscreen wall panel system. The pre-fabrication allows for a tighter tolerance and higher construction and quality. Being manufactured off-site brings an economy to the project which could not be met with typical construction processes.
Functioning as a critical element to the success of this mixed-use development, The Radian’s green roof is located on an elevated terrace above ground-floor retail and adjacent to an outdoor dining area. The goal for its location was to make the roof approachable and to maximize the visibility of the system in order to bring residents and users of the terrace closer to understanding its eco-value. As a result, the roof functions as an environmental and educational amenity for the project. The 12,000 square foot green roof covers 20% of The Radian’s total footprint and was originally designed to satisfy the city’s stormwater control regulations.
The Rutgers Camden Graduate Student housing project was aimed at boosting on-campus enrollment and revitalizing the city’s downtown. The 12-story building on Cooper Street, the first new student housing in Camden in more than two decades, houses about 350 students and includes about 7,000 square feet of retail space on the ground level.
Erdy McHenry Architecture teamed with Michaels Development Company (MDC) for this very important project. MDC’s university housing division, University Student Living, develops, constructs, and manages student housing communities in areas adjacent to colleges and universities across the country.
It has been a goal of the Rutgers Student Governing Association to increase on-campus population. This housing and retail complex brings new energy to this campus and creates critical mass, which will likely expand to surrounding downtown Camden, encouraging future development. The 7,000 sq.ft. of retail space, defining the building at street level, re-establishes a language of community, greeting pedestrians and residents alike. Through innovative building practices, coalesced with a distinct neighborhood vernacular, the project is taking part in revitalizing Camden’s community while creating a distinct collegiate environment.
2012 – AIA Philadelphia Merit Award – Built Category
Situated in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia, this apartment building contributes to the continued growth of the area by providing loft-type apartments above a small ground-floor commercial space. The mass of the building is lifted off the ground to allow parking at the ground level, but also to invoke a sense of weightlessness in the upper portion of the building. The facade is composed of shallow balconies, full-height windows, and brick panels that slide between concrete floor slabs. This works as a counterpoint to the traditional punched-opening scheme that is abundant among Philadelphia architecture, both old and new.
Each unit plan is centered around a utility core that includes a kitchen, bathroom, laundry, closets and a gas fireplace. The object-like quality of the core allows for free circulation around and through each unit, lending the space a loft-like sensibility. Sliding partitions add to this pinwheel movement of space and allow the dweller to place furniture and other objects at their discretion. A significantly thick exterior wall stands in opposition to the openness of the plan and provides window niches deep enough for a reading chair. Encompassing an integral feel to the interior, shallow balconies draw daylight into the living space, as opposed to deeper balconies which tend to feel separate and shadowy.
A mixture of unit sizes and configurations accommodate family groups of different sizes and a shared roof deck overlooking Center City encourages a lively sense of community.
The building’s massing acts to elevate the existing context by creating a form that is consistent with the remaining urban fabric of “freestanding” row homes. The two bar shapes (chapel and dormitory) represent row home forms and create a safe interior gathering space and recreation area. The two forms are connected at each level by translucent bridges that subtly reveal silhouettes of the members as they move toward the chapel. This revealing of the circulation seeks to connect the exterior to the activities of the interior.
The building will stand as a positive element of the community and have a prominent presence at street level, as well as a recognizable facade from the Ben Franklin Bridge. The new center will be a four-story, 20,000-square-foot facility that will have a 45-bed residential capacity, a chapel for worship and group meetings, and an exterior recreational area.
Drexel University’s history and reputation are heavily rooted in engineering and technology disciplines, so it seems only appropriate that those aspects of its built environment occupy a more prominent place in the conceptual infrastructure of the campus. This new dormitory is a building that is more than a superficial or decorative relationship, but rather a collaboration that respects and reflects the fundamental pedagogy of Drexel’s historical roots.
This project was a collaboration between Erdy McHenry Architecture and Cecil Balmond, one of the worlds leading structural engineers. The building is the first at Drexel to establish and promote a design approach that embraces an integrated design team where the systems and structures are the conceptual drivers.
The dormitory plan strives to achieve a high level of efficiency by locating all stacked core elements toward the center of the plan and through allowing the students rooms to radiate about the edge of the core. While the core maintains the same orientation throughout the entire height of the building, the students’ rooms rotate about the core.
In response to Drexel University’s acute shortage for undergraduate student housing, the new dormitory was designed, engineered and constructed in fewer than 13 months. The project was organized by the university as design-build in order to accommodate the necessary fast-track schedule. This allowed for a more transparent process that brings together client, architect, builder, and subcontractors as active participants in the design process.
The new dormitory enhances the current and future campus pedestrian circulation. Taking cues from the university’s master plan, the housing space rises up from the ground to allow passage through the site, which enables a stronger connection between residential and campus areas of the university.
A cast concrete plinth mediates the sloping site topography and establishes the entry sequence for the dormitory. The transparency of the first floor exposes the shared program elements for the building, which include: gathering/ recreation space, mail and package room, vending, administrative services, and laundry area. The corner areas of each floor contain quiet reading areas and a shared kitchen/ meeting space. Mechanical space, maintenance shops and bicycle storage is accommodated within the plinth.
The bedroom floors consist of four-bed suites with a shared living room. The layout configuration allows the suites to be mirrored in plan regardless of location. The exterior panel configuration reflects the location of the living rooms on the interior, adding variety to both the facade and the access corridor.
Systems selections were evaluated based on speed and constructability. The structural system is precast concrete plank set onto a steel frame. The exterior wall panels are shop-fabricated and were placed on the building as a finished, water-tight assembly consisting of brick, aluminum, glass and ribbed metal.
The program for this 1,200-bed residence building and 91,000 square foot retail building was designed to address the continuing renewal along the North Board Street Corridor. Adjacent to Temple University, this revitalized city block has become an active commercial and residential center that extends beyond the campus.
The project is comprised of two buildings, each organized to serve a different function. The commercial building occupies the active Broad Street edge, while the residential building sits toward the western boundary that’s adjacent to existing residential stock in the community. At the northwest corner, there are eight existing buildings, which were spared from demolition and provide a wonderful juxtaposition between old and new.
Two access strategies were implemented to connect the residence building to the neighborhood. The first access strategy is a diagonal pedestrian walk running northeast into the heart of Temple’s campus. The second is a drop-off parking lot and access point from the southwest. This diagonal circulation creates a unique opportunity for student-oriented commercial connection in the base of the residence building.
The residential building’s interior is borne of a need for the utmost in flexibility. Given the building’s program as a private dormitory, rooms needed to be able to be rented as students desired. A four-bedroom unit serves as the standard arrangement throughout the plan and all units are derivative of it. This system offers each floor an unlimited number of unit arrangements. Given that each bedroom has its own bathroom, units are able to be divided by 1, 2, 3 or 4 room leases according to demand at the time. This allows the building to adapt to students needs and wants over time.
Coatesville’s location along Brandywine Creek was central to its early development. The relative flatness of the valley allowed for agricultural development, and its proximity to the creek provided ample natural resources for the region. In 1787, Moses Coates, a prosperous farmer and the area’s first postmaster, purchased land that now comprises the center of Coatesville. Today, Coatesville consists of three neighborhoods, from east to west: the primarily residential east end, the central business district, and the residential west end. The Brandywine Creek and the wide industrial belt that follows the creek divides the city into two ends. The vacancy at the geographic center of town, paired with an under-used waterfront, provides enormous possibilities for reinvigorating the city through a large-scale and multi-use project.
The site occupies a prominent location at the intersection of the Lincoln Highway and Brandywine Creek. It is further distinguished by a rail viaduct that cuts through the north portion of the site, while the south end of the site is bordered by several steel mill buildings. Development of this nexus is absolutely critical to restoring a sense of vitality to Coatesville. The redevelopment aims to recall the vitality of this once booming steel town. The master plan calls for large-scale construction, which will create new jobs for the area and a sense of excitement that only comes with this type of economic resurgence.
2005 – AIA Philadelphia Silver Medal for an Unbuilt Project
This 12,000 square foot project began when Goldman Properties contracted Erdy McHenry Architecture to transform an existing vacant building, located at the corner of 13th and Sansom Streets in Center City, Philadelphia, into loft apartments. The six-story structure was renovated into five, single-story lofts with a ground floor that’s comprised of retail space. Each apartment is now equipped with new kitchen and bath facilities, hardwood acoustical flooring, private elevator access, and a balcony overlooking Sansom Street.
In addition to a complete overhaul of the building’s interior space, a historical renovation of the exterior was implemented. This entailed the replacement of damaged windows and metal paneling on existing bay window projections, and installing new balconies to replace the existing egress balconies.
The original building structure was slender in nature, which enhanced the ability to maximize natural light as part of the renovations. Three bay windows on the south façade provide expansive views of the city while flooding the space with sunlight. Similarly, a western bay window is placed in each dining nook adjacent to the lofts’ kitchens.
Above each kitchen stands a platform that holds a small sleeping loft. The sleeping lofts are held tight to the building’s elevator shaft. Each apartment is serviced by a new ADA compliant elevator with individual key access for security that allows users to communicate with either the building lobby or apartment.
This thin, 17-story condominium tower slides into place beside the Cunningham building on Chestnut Street, an early 20th century building of similar proportions. The primary gesture is that of a vertical plane which is then folded and draped over both the existing and new buildings. The folded plane is then sliced and peeled back to reveal stunning views of its dense Center City environment. The addition is to be comprised of modern condominium housing with a small retail space located on the ground floor as well as a mezzanine. This 18-story space would serve as a beacon to the rejuvenated 13th Street corridor neighborhood. Ultimately, the new site would help to elevate the developing neighborhood to the status of the more highly regarded blocks of Chestnut Street located west of Broad Street.
The Cunningham Building addition enables an extremely high rate of efficiency because the majority of the services and circulation space are provided within the existing Cunningham Building. In this manner, the addition is viewed as a parasite to the existing structure, taking advantage of the existing utility chases, vertical and horizontal circulation spaces and a portion of the structure.
However, the relationship of the two structures should really be classified as a symbiotic parasitic relationship. The addition is designed to provide a structural brace frame that would allow the existing structure to meet more stringent seismic code requirements for high-rise buildings. Additionally, the new structure provides a more visible profile from the street, enhancing the identity of the existing building while drawing interest to the streetscape.
The large, tooled surface of the west façade is designed to become a landscape that activates the three visible facades, circumventing the usually monolithic scheme of a tower, while enabling more light and air onto the city street. The various cut-outs, set-backs and terraces create exterior space for all of the dwelling units while sliver windows bring light and view to the usually dark middle of the building.
The interiors are designed to take advantage of long views through the narrow footprint of the building, drawing attention to the full height glazing that affords views of the Center City skyline.
2007 – AIA Philadelphia Honor Award for an Unbuilt Project
An underutilized, two-story structure in a vibrant urban strip in Center City Philadelphia presents a challenging adaptive reuse opportunity. This feasibility study commissioned by Goldman Properties (Soho and South Beach fame) examines three possibilities for adding on to the existing building structure, ranging from a one story addition that will utilize existing bearing wall structure, to a multistory overbuild. Proposed uses are to complement the existing retail environment at the lower levels with upper stories intended as flexible office or live/work environments.
This Tower Loft scheme activates the street with a three-story retail component that carves out a well adjacent to the sidewalk in order to incorporate the basement into the retail component. The two stories above the grade combine to offer a dramatic three-story space for a single large retailer or can be divided to create a multi-retail opportunity.
The overbuild, needled through the existing structure, emphasizes the different use in both form and expression. The front wall is louvered to control the southern exposure while the north side opens to accept natural daylight for artist lofts or other live/work scenarios. The side walls separate themselves from the property line, denying the bearing wall model that dominates the urban low-rise context. This separation allows slotted windows to introduce natural light to the center of the loft floors and to frame unique views of the city skyline and the urban squares that surround the site.
The loft spaces offer a twenty-foot ceiling height, which provide the option of large, sun-drenched interior space or the introduction of partial mezzanines as part of the fit-out to allow for efficient deployment of support functions and services.
The tube scheme a was bold approach to the challenge of creating an addition to a building within an urban context. The form and texture of the addition force the building to have an important role within the existing streetscape. This presence among the context allows an opportunity for retail display. This option also affords the tenants an outdoor terrace in the rear of the building, which reinforces the coexistence of public-retail and private-residential relationships.