If you’ve ever spent time on Drexel’s University City campus, chances are you noticed the grand, blonde brick and terra cotta building situated between 31st and 32nd Streets on Chestnut Street. This edifice, known today as the Main Building, or more colloquially, “Main,” initially housed every department within the university, administrative and academic alike. The Main Building was designed by architect Joseph M. Wilson and completed in 1891.
Wilson worked closely with university founder Anthony J. Drexel to create a structure that reflected the unconventional focus of the institution: business, commerce and industry (as opposed to an emphasis on liberal arts education featured by most other colleges at the time). The inclusion of all university divisions under one roof and centered around an atrium (the Great Court) provided a fresh model for an urban university building; the space offered opportunities for social experiences similar to those in a busy, commercial core.
Today, if you step inside the Main Building, you’ll notice it gives off a similar feeling. Students, faculty, staff and visitors brush shoulders or wave as they pass through the Great Court or peer down into the atrium from floors above; the building’s core serves as a gathering space for students to talk between classes and is also a prime stop on the university tour for prospective students. Despite undergoing some physical changes to accommodate the growing university and for maintenance, the Main Building has retained most of its original form and remains a significant historic building on Drexel’s University City campus.
If you’d like to view old photographs of the Main Building, visit http://www.phillyhistory.org. Use “3141 Chestnut Street” as the address.
Furthermore, if you’d like to read about the architectural history of the Main Building from 1891-1991, take a look at this article from the Drexel University Archives: http://idea.library.drexel.edu/handle/1860/1258
Check out recent photos of the Main Building below (photo credit for the following photos goes to Emily Mitnick):
Today, we recognize the building at 3175 JFK Boulevard as Drexel’s University Crossings, which opened its doors as a dormitory in 2002. Long before it housed students, though, the edifice (built in 1927) was known as the Pennsylvania Railroad Office Building and provided additional workspace to the Pennsylvania Railroad’s existing headquarters above the former Broad Street Station. The Neoclassical building was designed by the same architects that later planned 30th Street Station (built 1927-1933), Graham, Anderson, Probst & White. In 2003, the Pennsylvania Railroad Office Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Photo source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2b/PA_Railroad_Office_Building%2C_Philadelphia_01.JPG
Photo credit: Emily Mitnick
Photo credit: Emily Mitnick
Updated 03.19.14: The replacement of the existing 900-ton Korman Center cooling tower and installation of two new 750-ton cooling towers is Phase I of a multiple phase project to upgrade the chilled water plant serving the Drexel quad, which consists of the Korman Center, Gerri C. LeBow Hall, Disque Hall, and Stratton Hall. The cooling tower and existing chillers in the Korman Center will be connected to the Papadakis ISB to integrate the systems and allow for backup to the quad if one of the existing chillers is down in either the Korman Center or Papadakis ISB. The project is scheduled for completion this spring.
Take a look at some of the project photos below:
Beginning of construction:
Recent construction photos:
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Second, we want to see Drexel’s campus(es) through your eyes. On Instagram and/or Twitter, tag your campus photos with the hashtag #drexelmasterplan and the handle @drexelplan. We will feature some of them on our various social media accounts, and perhaps the blog. If you don’t use social media, not to worry! Send your campus photos to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your first name and last initial.
We can’t wait to see your photos!
-Drexel Master Plan
Want to find out more about the plans for Drexel’s Center for
Jewish Life? Look no further; check out the link below!
Center for Jewish Life
If you’re curious about a plan for energy use on campus, take a look at the progress report below:
Drexel Energy Plan
The following report consists initial concepts for facade lighting on the Main and Peck Buildings. Take a look below:
Peck and Main Facade Lighting Mockup Report