Temple University Mixed-Use Development, North Philadelphia

arch 332 individual studio project | 2019
Lee Washesky, Architecture Lecturer

This primarily-daycare facility located adjacent to Temple University campus in North Philadelphia would be built by the university for use by local residents and university employees. This proposal also includes retail and apartment space, potentially for Temple graduate students, to increase the supply of rentable space leading to decreased effects of gentrification caused by the university.

This development could be a catalyst for future development in the area, including replacement of single-story, suburban-style commercial spaces on N Broad St with dense, mixed use development, especially near subway stations.

The building is designed around a central ‘street’ formed by two sets of labyrinthine walls. This street becomes the entrance of the daycare where it erupts into the east facade, a separation between the two retail spaces on the first floor, main hallways and shared spaces in the daycare’s first three floors, a source of daylighting from the third-floor roof terrace playground, and, as it escapes the building facades for the second time, the south facade of the apartments on floors four to seven.

Negative space ice cube model of central ‘street’

The site accepts different building floors at ground level on the east and west facades with the help of a six foot elevation gain across the site. The east facade’s ground floor is the main entrance of the daycare and the building’s interface with Temple, whereas the west facade’s retail storefronts and apartment entrance are the interface with the community. Within the building, these two floor levels repel each other like tectonic plates, leading to the urban planes of Temple and the community overlapping and interacting vertically through the building’s central ‘street’.

Past the daycare’s east facade entrance, library and support spaces go progressively lower to meet mechanical space in the basement, while the majority of the indoor ‘street’ extends up to the classroom floors. The storefronts on the west facade lead to retail spaces which get progressively higher until they transition through a permeable but secure barrier to classroom spaces. Children can watch the workings of a kitchen or store in the retail space through one-way glass and community members can use apartment elevators to access the gym and roof terrace on the third floor for community events but the daycare can easily be secured separately from other building uses for the safety of children in attendance.

Structure, facade, and floor plate exploded axonometric

Wall section model of one of the central street’s labyrinthine CLT structural walls

This studio project was created in association with an urban analysis of Philadelphia’s street patterns, showing the city’s multiple sets of grids and streets which defy those grid patterns.