Dilworth Plaza Glass Pavilions: Philly Fanatics will say Fabric

By going Fabric, TIGER money can be used more efficiently and Philly residents will thank you

A proposed $55 million Dilworth Plaza redesign is being planned for one of Philadelphia’s busiest transit stations at City Hall. The project, supported by Philly’s Center City District, received $15 million in funding from the federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) II grant program.

TIGER grants from the Department of Transportation are being awarded nationally to fund innovative transportation projects, spur economic development, and improve environmental benefits.

What isn’t covered by the grant is going to be paid by you know who.

The redesigned plaza and station are expected to improve commuter convenience and increase the station’s efficiency. The design includes two-20 foot tall glass pavilions which will feature artful lighting and allow natural light in to the concourse.

All sounds good. Who is going to pay for this?

Designed by Urban Engineers with Kieran Timberlake and landscape architects Olin, I would highly recommend that one look at the cost of these pavilions ASAP. There may already be an opportunity for early value engineering.

Value Engineering?


Transit projects all over the world all seem to come over budget. I would challenge someone to show me one that has been built under budget.

Who pays for the bill of these over runs?

For Dilworth Plaza, a good place to start to keeping an eye on its cost might be the iconic glass pavilions. Don’t be surprised if those glass pavilions come in at over $500 sqft.

By changing the glass pavilion to an innovative fabric structure, I believe you will be able to save some significant money which could be used in other areas that will spur economic growth and improve environmental benefits.

Fabric Structures are a cost effective alternative to glass structures at probably a third of the price . They will provide a perfect backdrop for artful lighting and provide diffused natural light into the concourse better than glass.

A combination of glass and fabric might even be the best way to satisfy both designers and fiscally conscious people.

The fabric structure can also be designed to collect water and divert it into the new underground cistern being considered.

Construction on the plaza is not expected to start until next summer, but construction documents are being prepared and the project is expected to open in late 2013.

If I can’t help Philly, maybe your transit station could benefit from a fabric structure.


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