10.09.2007

Navy Yard

I met a colleague of mine for lunch today at the Navy Yard, which, as
the name suggests, was an old naval shipyard that is in the midst of
an impressive redevelopment by the public and private sectors. My
colleague told me that the Navy Yard wasn't just any shipyard, either,
but the main gathering point for people and ships before heading out
to Europe and points east. So there's a lot of history in that real
estate.

And, in true Philadelphia fashion, that history has been creatively
co-mingled with the present and future. Faux industrial looks are in,
but this place has a real industrial look: old iron girders, barracks,
and docks give the place a unique look and feel to it. Inter-mixed
with that is new stuff like Urban Outfitters' headquarters and an
inviting cafeteria run by Frog Catering. It's a really, really cool
campus to live, work, and play in. And that's exactly the goal:
commercial uses will soon be joined by housing units, retail, and open
space, with a main subway line being extended out to shoot people back
downtown.

What was particularly cool for me was to envision the economic
synergies that can take place in such a setting. Here you have, for
example, the confluence of three very different kinds of design work:
the US Navy's high-end engineering stuff, heavy manufacturing that
capitalizes on the infrastructure and waterfront, and chi-chi techy
stuff that the graphic design crowd is working on. The agglomeration
could make for some really out-there collabs and some really
interesting innovations.

I'm doing some work that's related to the location, so it's likely
I'll be back. And now I've got some visuals to associate with the
place. I encourage you to visit, too, and take in the sights for
yourself.

http://navyyard.org/MasterPlan.htm

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