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3-acres, a full city block in the new Market Street West business district

Index to Projects in Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Gross Floor Area
2.2 million s/f
including 175,000 s/f underground parking

Maguire Thomas Partners & IBM Real Estate and Construction Division, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Time Frame
Planning: 8/84–
Phase I:
   Construction 6/85–
   Completion: mid-1987
Phase II:
   Construction: 7/90
   Completion: 7/92

Commerce Square

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Phase I completed 1987
Phase II completed 1992


Lead Designers:



Henry N. Cobb
Douglas Gardner


Twin tower with public courtyard, retail and parking

Click on image to enlarge

Twin 40-story office towers frame the richly landscaped urban space that gives this 2.2 million-s/f center-city project its name. With floor plates ranging from 15,000 s/f at the top to 33,000 s/f at the base, the towers are shaped in such a way as to create a distinctive identity on the skyline while affirming the primacy of public space and public life at street level.

The granite-paved courtyard that is the heart of Commerce Square was designed in collaboration with the landscape architect Laurie Olin. A lively fountain framed by seasonal plantings occupies the center of this sun-filled plaza, which is surrounded by shops and restaurants that help to make it a space much used and enjoyed — a contemporary contribution to the tradition of public squares initiated by William Penn's great plan.


Major Components

1.85 million s/f offices on 39 floors; 92,000 s/f lobby/retail; 30,000 s/f courtyard and plaza; 175,000 s/f underground parking for 625 cars


Pei Cobb Freed & Partners services

Master Planning; Architectural Design; Interior Design of public lobbies and IBM Spaces;  coordination with associate architect on construction documents and construction administration


Associate Architect

Ballinger, Philadelphia, PA (Contract Documents / Administration)



CBM Engineers, Inc., Houston, TX



Cosentini Associates LLP, New York, NY



Hanna/Olin, Ltd., Philadelphia, PA



Photo credits

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