You wait all day for one and then two come along at once. No, not buses—skyscrapers, of course.
Two new skyscrapers by Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA) have been proposed to sit along the Camden waterfront in New Jersey.
Liberty Property Trust, the developer firm behind other Philadelphia projects such as RAMSA’s Comcast Center and the Navy Yard complex, is backing the project with a $1 billion investment, the largest Camden has ever seen.
Located just south of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, this project might be the long-awaited catalyst for economic growth that the neighborhood has yearned for after schemes such as the Adventure Aquarium and the $30 million Campbell’s Field baseball stadium failed to reinvigorate the area.
Included in the scheme is a coterie of smaller buildings that will offer retail, office, and residential spaces as well as a hotel and park area.
In a departure from their more traditional style, RAMSA has opted for a contemporary approach, an outlook that is perhaps reflective of Camden’s holistic progressive ambitions. Meghan McDermott, a partner at RAMSA who is leading the current design effort, said that the firm intends to “create a new urban neighborhood,” and that the key goals of the project are to “fill in the gaps along the waterfront” and link to other attractions such as the aquarium.
McDermott also said that the new structures will boost Camden’s image among locals, since the towers will be clearly visible to residents on the other side of the Delaware.
The buildings don’t just accommodate views for Philadelphians, though. The smaller of the two buildings is sculptural, with a river-facing facade that appears to have been carved away, facilitating sight lines at street level and along the rivers banks to allow clear views of river; strongly underscoring RAMSA’s goal to “connect the city to the waterfront.”
The taller structure is noticeably different. Further from the water’s edge than its counterpart, the adjacent building, which is markedly smaller at its base, is part of RAMSA’s attempt to create a distinct semiotic form along the river and give Camden a visual iconography. The very size of the structure ensures it will be easily spotted from anywhere in its vicinity, which helps to integrate it with residents’ perspective of the community. The large floor plan at the top is not only a revenue booster, but more occupants of the building can enjoy the sweeping views over New Jersey and over the river.