Ever since Philadelphia began taking its waterfronts seriously a decade ago, it has dreamed of shores lined with lithe, elegant, Vancouver-style towers. Master plans were assembled, new recreation paths were laid, parks were created. Yet only a few high-rises have materialized, none of them the least bit thin or urbane.
That may be about to change. Developer Carl Dranoff is planning a 21-story apartment building on the Schuylkill that has the potential to raise the bar for all waterfront design in Philadelphia.
Before we venture further, a strong note of caution: The project is still at an early stage, when only the site plan and the tower’s basic form, or massing, have been established. We don’t know crucial details, like the color of the building or the material. But the tower’s profile is svelte enough, and its architect good enough, that it is possible to imagine something special emerging. Then again, we should keep in mind that Dranoff is the same guy who gave us the giant Pepto Bismol bottle called Symphony House.