Park It

Dilworth Park was designed to allow stormwater to be collected, filtered and reused for irrigation, eliminating the need for potable water. | Photo by Sahar Coston-Hardy for OLIN

After seven years, Dilworth Park (formerly Dilworth Plaza) reopened in September. Looking to reestablish William Penn’s original Center Square, the $55 million revamp features a fountain, café, large glass entrances to SEPTA transit and soon an expansive Great Lawn, public art installation and walkways to South Penn Square.

The project’s design team was led by Urban Engineers, and included architects from KieranTimberlake and landscape architects from OLIN, which planned the park to have a number of sustainable elements, including the 11,600-square-foot computer-programmable shallow fountain, which uses recycled rainwater and will be transformed into an ice rink in the winter. The entire park was designed to allow stormwater to be collected, filtered and reused for irrigation, eliminating the need for potable water.

Seventy-six new trees were planted around the park, increasing the existing tree canopy by 26 percent, and the two 96-foot-long glass pavilions will allow daylight into the concourse level, reducing the need for artificial lighting. Approximately 12,000 square feet of granite pavement and 5,000 square feet of wall finish in the new concourse was reused from the old Dilworth Plaza. The park and concourse were also designed with the most effective passive heating and cooling strategies in mind.

Hungry visitors can enjoy Cuban fare at the Rosa Blanca café by Jose Garces, and events and activities are planned throughout the year, including a beer garden for Oktoberfest.