Strategic Improvements: Chestnut Street Food Pavilion

Chestnut Street between 32nd and 33rd Streets is set to become a new center of community for Drexel and its neighbors. In addition to Chestnut Square, the university has plans to construct a food pavilion across the street next to Stratton Hall. This pavilion will provide a venue for food vendors to anchor their culinary ventures as well as an attractive outdoor terrace.

Take a look at the plans and renderings below by Olaya Studio, which depict design possibilities for the Chestnut Street Food Pavilion:

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16 thoughts on “Strategic Improvements: Chestnut Street Food Pavilion”

    1. Chris, the food trucks are not being relocated to the Chestnut Street Food Pavilion. This project is part of a greater retail master plan, which we are in the process of working on. As you can see in the post above, we have just wrapped up initial concept drawings; we do not currently have an estimated construction start date.

      1. I really like the concept. With the new dorms (both at Drexel and soon to be at Penn on Chestnut) plus the hotel, you are going to have a lot of foot traffic right there. Though, from your reply, it makes me wonder if this is not going to be a while before anything is done on the concept.
        Also, curious question – will you be repainting the orange bricks on the building?

  1. I like that, it takes an awkward wall and creates a space that engages the street as well as creating two additional ways of accessing the quad behind the buildings.

  2. Why is it that accessibility is always seemingly an afterthought? When you have that amount of space on Chestnut Street, every access point to Stratton should be physically accessible. Physical accessibility = accessibility for everyone.I would be very put off with the design of this brand new space if I were a disabled student or even a disabled donor! Remember, people only have disabilities if society disables them by putting up barriers in front of them – otherwise they are just differently abled. While your design is aesthetically pleasing, it is disabling.

    1. To my knowledge, this project honors ADA accessibility requirements, and all of Stratton Hall’s entrances will remain wheelchair accessible. I will clarify this with the project designer.

  3. I’m such a huge fan of the recent additions to the campus. However, this is by far my least favorite new addition. It makes the campus look like a county fair, will there be corn dogs? If not I’ll have to settle for a gordita from the library.

    1. I agree with Neil. I really like the idea (and even design) of the pavilion above. The upward slope toward chestnut will help hide traffic, parked cars, etc. from the Quad. It gives much more depth to the quad as well. Now, when it comes to the vendors below, the design reminds me of a “fair ground” as well. I think something below the plaza/pavilion above that takes on a sense of “permanence” would fit much better here. What about something similar to Northside Dining Terrace where the vendors are located inside of a glass curtain wall open to the street. It could be extended further to the east toward Stratton’s loading dock where Stratton meets the sidewalk. This would also help hide some of Stratton’s dated style from street view.

      Great idea/design for the plaza, only the street level retail should be reworked and enhanced!

    2. Does seem a bit county fair. Might also pose pedestrian traffic issues with people waiting in lines. Having a cheaper option other than high end food is nice though. I would think there would need to be a design standard to menus, graphics, logo sizes, etc so it doesn’t look like a mess. Maybe it could be for crafters? as in pottery or?

    3. This addition does not belong on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia… reminds me of the little league world series.

      Inadequate design

  4. I’m not talking about ADA Accessibility standards…I’m talking about how a person is made to feel when they cannot enter a building the same way in which their peer, parent, child, professor can. I’m sure ADA standards are being met but there’s something greater that needs to be considered…which rarely is (and not just by Drexel). That’s the humanity of people with disabilities. How would you feel if you saw this beautiful structure being built and you realized you’d have to leave your party to make a probably 3-5 minute additional tour around the other side of the building. What might you miss in that period of time? I would feel differently about this if it weren’t so clear from the drawings that you bascially made what could have been an accessible pathway to the building – inaccessible by building the pavillion fronting on Chestnut Street. You went for aesthetic over functional and practical and accessible. Next time you have the chance, humor me and take only the routes that are accessible – only curbcuts, only accessible entrances and pathways. You will have a better understanding of what I mean.

    1. While I understand your concerns, I don’t think they will come into play with this particular design.

      The sloped pavement on the western side of this pavilion is sufficient for disabled members of the community. It appears that taking this route instead of the stairs would add only an additional minute or two to reach the terrace. Also, this stretch of pavement will be helpful to get from Chestnut Street to the Korman Center and businesss buildings.

      One of the more absurd ramps on campus is the one between Stratton and Disque Halls. It seems like this terrace design will not be like that.

  5. Multi-story engagement directly on a major city artery – I think you’re designing the first step in Drexel’s future, Richard! After living almost two years in Powelton Village, and 7 altogether in West Philly, this much needed density + intrigue is a vast improvement on the semi-useless lawns and paths wrapped around tall buildings set back from the street. All those were built in a shrinking Philadelphia – and are more suited to a growing Charleston, South Carolina. This is exactly the opposite, and the sooner the better! Looks great!

  6. While I can see this as being a nice addition in the Spring/Summer months (permitting the food is decent), I’m not so sure about the Fall/Winter months. Sure I could grab something from one of the venues and then take it inside a nearby building to eat it, but let’s be honest, all of the nearby venues have pretty limited seating. PISB? Best bet is the small cluster of sofas on the main level. Disque-Stratton? Seating is virtually non-existent. Creese-MacAlister would be the best bet. But, I would rather not share my student center with all of the public, especially some of the less desirables. We seem to be attracting a lot more of those lately to the point I’ve had to call a few in to Public Safety (all of which could’ve been seen if cameras were actually being monitored). Save for what appear to be a whopping four tables under the “roof”, I see no added seating in the renderings, unless you count the really goofy stairs running along the side. It does look better than the current retaining wall though, I’ll give you that much.

    1. I find myself agreeing with this concern. Perhaps instead of trying to shoehorn in a food pad here–and this is immediately across the street from Drexel’s main dining hall–a superior option would be a single turnkey space?

      P.S. While I realize this is currently classroom space, which Drexel has a rather finite quantity of,, a turnkey space in the corner of Stratton at 32nd and Chestnut would also be an excellent urbanistic intervention.

  7. Regarding food pavilion….I guess it would be a good snack time area for small vendors, however, aren’t there already enough eating options like this from food trucks? Perhaps this can instead be a fresh food market on one day per week where people sell organic produce, pies, etc like we saw on South Street…then students can do fresh shopping versus going to grocery stores…AT other times there could be some street vendors like jewelry, arts and crafts, paintings, etc so that people can buy gifts/accessories that are unique and help support the creative community of Philadelphia. I think there are already many food options scattered along campus and that the food could be overdone in another pavillion unless there are other venues included as I suggested above

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