The Most Defining Buildings on the Philadelphia Skyline

The Philadelphia Skyline is undoubtedly not the most prominent one. However, what makes it the best in its history and age of some of the buildings. Its architecture is varied and dynamic. Today, we are breaking down the most iconic buildings that you can explore. Each of the Philly skyscrapers will bring something exciting and different. The tallest building currently stands at 974-foot, Comcast Center that was completed in 2008.

1. Philadelphia City Hall

The structure sits on 14.5 acres of land and is made up of more than 700 rooms. It took 30 years to construct and was designed by Thomas Utsick and John McArthur, and was officially opened in 1901. Then, it was the tallest building in the world. Until 1987, it was the tallest building in Philadelphia. City Hall was the first Philadelphia structure high enough to be measured as a skyscraper. It is 167 meters high, making it the world’s tallest masonry building. The building also has a giant sculpture on any construction globally. Besides, City Hall is considered the biggest municipal structure in the U.S.

2. 30th Street Station

This is one of the last remaining train stations in the U.S. It was designed by Graham, White, Probst, and Anderson. It was built between 1929 and 1933 with a neoclassical exterior. The most striking feature at the train station with a concourse stretches the length of two football fields with a ceiling 95 feet high. The structure is being updated, and we should expect some contemporary updates very soon.

3. Cira Centre

Cira Centre is a 29-story building that Pelli Clarke designed. It earns a spot on Philly’s skyscraper list because it was the first new building to cut through the Philadelphia Skyline. It is a glassy diamond-like structure with four sides at its base and six at the top. Cira Centre is no longer the tallest building in University City, but it is essential because it helped kick off the neighborhood’s development boom. The building is made up of about 1500 attractive LED lights. The lights are programmed to show artistic features.

4. National Museum of American Jewish History

It faces the independent Mall and glimmers like a star at night. The National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) is a must-see while exploring the city. It is not hard to notice the stunning glass prism that is part of the building’s terracotta exterior.

5. Philadelphia Museum of Art

In 1893, a prominent architect, Horace Trumbauer, was tasked with designing the city’s new art museum. The building is built at the top of Fair Mount. The structure is made more outstanding for its prominent role in the Rocky movies. Its construction was completed in 1928. Today, the museum is under renovation worth a whopping $196 million. If you aim to explore an incredible collection, then here is where to find them. It houses excellent paintings, prints, and photographs of the city’s illustrious residents.

6. Vanna Venturi House

Vanna Venturi House was built by a native architect Robert Venturi for his mommy. It makes it to the list for being part of the buildings that made it to 10 Buildings That Changed America. It is a residence that fascinates many explorers because of its fanciful curves, a staircase to nowhere, and a pitched roof. You can now visit the place since it’s under new ownership.

7. Boathouse Row

This is a series of a dozen of Philly skyscrapers. This part of town is one of the most significant and memorable. Boathouse Row is a host of uniquely designed structures designed by architects that include the Wilson Brothers and Frank Furness. When exploring this row, expect anything ranging from Colonial Revival to Victorian Gothic and everything in between. Today, the local rowing clubs use structures on this stretch but are still good during their glory days.

8. Fisher Fine Arts Library

A trip cannot be completed to Philly, a visit to the University of Pennsylvania. The university is home to the Fisher Fine Arts Library. The building is conspicuous from a distance because of its bright red facade. When exploring, begin from the towering reading room before heading to the soaring rooms in its interior. The ambiance of this facility cannot be matched to any within the locality.

9. The Wanamaker Building

It is the most prominent Philly skyscraper. The Wanamaker Building once housed the department store which shared its namesake. Yet, like the towering Marshall Field’s structure in Chicago, it’s now a Macy’s. Even if spending on shopping isn’t on one’s travel plans, you should probably stopover at the facility’s Court. All you need is to relax and take in the dazzling possessions and take pleasure in the pipe section while you are in the facility.

10. Comcast Innovation and Technology Center

The original Comcast Center is among the predominant structures in Philadelphia. Today, there is a new glossy Comcast Technology Center that opened recently. Its designs are mainly meant to complement the original building. It comes with designs that bring creativity and nature to its appearance. The original Comcast building, however, is super industrial with a contemporary design. The lobby on its first floor is covered in wood. On the second floor, there is an impressive middle that is made of live-growing trees. In the cafeteria, the walls are adorned by multi-colored wall painting that runs throughout the entire floor. At the top of the center, the Four Seasons hotel gives its customers a 360-degree view right from the top.

11. One Liberty Place

One Liberty Place will go down in record as the first structure to overthrow Philadelphia’s City Hall as the tallest structure in Philadelphia. It broke the gentleman’s agreement which discouraged any establishment from being more elevated than that of William Penn statue atop City Hall. The 61-story structure was built in 1987 and was designed by Helmut Jahn. Its structure compares to that of the Chrysler building located in New York City. One Liberty Place’s front is made of glass, while its structure at the top is geometrical.

12. Eastern State Penitentiary

This is one of the best locations when you are planning to visit a city close to Halloween. The Eastern State jail was built in 1829 and is located in Fairmount. This was the first prison in the U.S. Besides, and it is the largest and prominent globally. The Gothic Revival penitentiary sits on 11 acres of farmland called Cherry Hill. Its structure and location were meant to make the prisoners regret doing their crimes. Today, the facility is open for tourists and stays open all year round.

13. Christ Church

It was one of the oldest church structures in the U.S. This is because it has housed on its pews several prominent world leaders such as George Washington. It existed before electricity and before the development of the principal, the Comcast Technology Center. Then, it was the only skyscraper. With the tower rising to 196 feet in 1754, the brick and stone place of worship put Philadelphia on the map, literally. George Heap and Nicholas Scull designed it. Many people consider it the skyscraper of the old days besides being the most critical structure in all colonies when it comes to religious matters.

14. Kimmel Center

It was built in 2001 and designed by Rafael Viñoly. It was constructed to create a district exclusively for performing art along South Broad Street. It is dark red and has a glass-domed at its top. Though it has not gone without its critique, the Kimmel Center remains one of the noticeable structures in the Avenue of the Arts zone.