All posts by drexelplan

In case you missed it (ICYMI): Lancaster Square

If you’ve visited Drexel’s Center City campus lately and/or are a regular reader of our blog, then you know that a large, mixed-use residential/retail development is under construction at 34th Street and Lancaster Avenue. In addition to supplying the beds necessary to meet the sophomore housing requirement, Lancaster Square will increase dining options and retail in the northwest area of campus.

Since the development’s groundbreaking, EarthCam has provided a day-by-day bird’s eye view of the construction. At the link below, you can watch the construction unfold; there is even a time lapse video option. We encourage you to check it out!

A screenshot from today looks like this:

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Have you seen…

Drexel’s University City campus has two new street furniture additions that you should be sure not to miss!

The first is a collection of University City District’s LoopedIN seating, which can be found in Drexel Park until the end of June. Grab a book, grab a friend, and take a walk to Drexel Park to enjoy the seating while it’s here!

photo 3Photo credit: Emily Mitnick

photo 4Photo credit: Emily Mitnick

You may have noticed the second addition if you’ve been spending time around 33rd and Arch Streets. Groundswell Design Group, the firm that brought Philadelphia the PHS Pop-up Garden on Broad Street last summer, created a partially shaded space with ample seating and tables next to the volleyball courts along 33rd Street. Whether you frequent the nearby food trucks and have been seeking an outdoor spot to eat or simply want to sit back and enjoy the weather, this is a fantastic new spot to do so.

photo 1

Photo credit: Emily Mitnick

photo 2Photo credit: Emily Mitnick

Spotlight: Ross Commons

Did you know that Ross Commons is 126 years old this year? The building, which has graced the southeast corner of 34th Street and Powelton Avenue with its presence since 1888, was originally built as a house for Max Riebenack, a Bavarian immigrant who became established in Philadelphia as a Pennsylvania Railroad tycoon. The architect, Thomas Preston Lonsdale, designed the house in a style inspired by Victorian and medieval aesthetics with turrets, bay windows and a wraparound porch, which has since been enclosed and now serves as a sunny dining area for Sabrina’s.

In 1928, the Drexel Institute of Technology purchased the building, which served as a place for female Domestic Science and Arts majors to live and learn to care for children and tend a home. Just shy of thirty years later, the building was named the Grace Godfrey Home Management House in honor of Grace Godfrey, who served as the Director of the Home Economics program.

In 2001, following a decade of closure, Drexel received a generous donation from George and Lyn Ross. Two years later, after undergoing extensive renovations, Ross Commons (named in honor of its benefactors) opened as a student center. Today, Ross Commons is also the home of Drexel Business Services, Spencer Burger, and Sabrina’s Café, a Philadelphia brunch favorite.

Take a look at the photos of Ross Commons below!


rosscommons_135e2fa7e5Source: Drexel University Archives Digital Collections



For more information, check out the following links:


Spotlight: One Drexel Plaza

Today, we know the mammoth building standing at 3001 Market Street as One Drexel Plaza; however, before Drexel purchased it in a 1993 auction, the edifice was known as the Bulletin Building. Built in 1955 and designed by architect George Howe with the help of Louis McAllister, the Bulletin Building was home to the newsroom and presses for The Philadelphia Bulletin, a daily newspaper published between 1847 and 1982 with the slogan “in Philadelphia, nearly everybody reads The Bulletin” ( As noted in Drexel’s 2012-2017 Master Plan, the building was “recognized as a landmark of modern architecture” with its simple form and prominent vertical and horizontal lines. The Bulletin Building was Howe’s final commission of significant size.

The four-floor building has been eligible for National Register status since 1997 and houses Drexel’s Goodwin College of Professional Studies as well as other commercial tenants.

Take a look at an early image of the Bulletin Building that was featured on a postcard at the link below (Philadelphia Free Library). You’ll notice that the east façade was changed to accommodate the series of windows that exists today.

1dp(Photo credit: Emily Mitnick)


Spotlight: Rush Building

Did you know that the building which currently houses Drexel’s College of Computing and Informatics–the Rush Building–was once a hospital? The Hospital for the Treatment of Consumption and Related Diseases was built in 1904 and named in honor of Benjamin Rush, a renowned doctor from Philadelphia. (Fun fact: Dr. Rush lived during the 18th century and signed the Declaration of Independence!) In 1961, Drexel purchased the building and it became the home of the Graduate School of Library Science.  Between 1978 and 1981, the Rush Building endured a series of renovations to make the sole use of its space for the library and information science programs. Since the initial renovations, the Rush Building has been renovated inside and out to accommodate the growing and evolving College of Computing and Informatics. Today, the building offers the iCommons computer lab, Drexel University Libraries, the Information Technology Lab and wireless classrooms with A/V technology as facilities for students, staff, faculty and alumni.

Take a look at photos of the Rush Building below:

Rush_Building_-_Drexel_University_-_IMG_7301(Photo source:

Drexel_Rush_Courtyard(Photo source:

For more information on the Rush Building, visit:

Spotlight: Main Building

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 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:

Check out recent photos of the Main Building below (photo credit for the following photos goes to Emily Mitnick):

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Spotlight: University Crossings

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.

crossings3Photo source:

crossings2Photo credit: Emily Mitnick

crossingsPhoto credit: Emily Mitnick