The village center, the rowhouse, and Philly's industrial past provided the inspiration for the WPYSF conceptual design. Once part of an immense rail yard, the proposed development site on Parkside Avenue encompasses vacant industrial land owned by the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, a Philadelphia Streets Department salt storage facility, and an abandoned SEPTA trolley turnaround. A horse stable and six rowhomes are adjacent. The KIPP DuBois Collegiate Academy and Discovery Charter School serve as bookends to the site.
The conceptual design was created for the Parkside Association of Philadelphia by a multidisciplinary team of Collaborative volunteers led by DIGSAU, an award-winning firm practicing contemporary architecture, urbanism and environmental design that provides unique, high-quality design to a diverse client group.
The design really emerged through a number of sessions with the neighbors. We were surprised by the general enthusiasm that the imagery evoked.
Jeff Goldstein, AIA, DIGSAU
“The design really emerged through a number of sessions with the neighbors. We were surprised by the general enthusiasm that the imagery evoked. People of all ages related to this design that emphasizes openness, a sense of welcome, and incorporates elements that reference the neighborhood, such as the galloping rhythm of the façade scrim and the sawtooth light monitors,” says Jeff Goldstein, AIA, a principal of DIGSAU. He adds, “We were excited by the opportunity to stitch together the park and the neighborhood. Mostly, we were energized by the participation of the neighbors and stakeholders and gained conviction in the project as their vision emerged.”
The conceptual design built upon an earlier feasibility study completed for the Parkside Association by DIGSAU through the Collaborative. The proposed building program includes regulation facilities for youth basketball, swimming, and field – and a community fitness center, classrooms, and meeting rooms. A double-height lobby with a large central staircase unites these uses and provides an exciting stage for events and performances.
Site plans and axonometric drawings were also a major product of pro bono preliminary design services. They helped the project’s champions understand and show the implications of two development scenarios – one that retains the existing salt storage facility or one that relocates the salt storage facility.
The jury for the 2018 AIA Design Awards admired the Center’s design but saw the most value in the programming study and phasing options. “The mission of the Community Design Collaborative is to help nonprofit organizations, leveraging the designer’s approach in helping clients solve problems and advance their needs. We appreciate… how important this stage of the design process is.”
The center will breed new life and excitement. The need for other community amenities will become apparent.
Marjorie Ogilvie, WPYSF Steering Committee
Marjorie Ogilvie, chair of the WPYSF Steering Committee, says, “Schools in the area – particularly high schools – lack regulation sports facilities. The center must be multi-generational, multi-ethnic, and offer a variety of assets for an economically diverse clientele… It is envisioned as community hub.” She adds, “The center will breed new life and excitement. The need for other community amenities will become apparent.”
Learn more about the WPYSF conceptual design and volunteer team.