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May 10, 2017
Member News

Cecil Baker + Partners Completes Architectural Design of One Riverside

By Mary Tasillo
The building’s architecture springs from the uniqueness of this riverside site and seeks to integrate with the surrounding parkland.

Cecil Baker + Partners, an architecture firm committed to pursuing contemporary design that advances and embraces the urban community, has completed the architectural design of One Riverside in Philadelphia’s Fitler Square neighborhood. Dranoff Properties’ 22-story luxury condominium building at 210 S. 25th Street is the first new construction of its kind to be completed in Center City, Philadelphia since 2010.

Cecil Baker + Partners has worked with Dranoff Properties since 2012 to transform a long underutilized site along the banks of the Schuylkill River. Formerly a surface parking lot, the site is nestled between the Schuylkill River Park and one of the entrances to the Schuylkill River Trail, a popular pedestrian and bike path leading to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The building’s architecture springs from the uniqueness of this riverside site and seeks to integrate with the surrounding parkland.

“One Riverside’s relationship to its environment is intrinsic to the way we designed the building,” said architect Cecil Baker. “Every element was chosen in specific connection to this prime location along one of Philadelphia’s great waterways. The building’s East-West orientation and sleek profile are in deference to the river and in response to what we saw as One Riverside’s responsibility to the neighborhood.”

Cecil Baker + Partners, which this year celebrates 35 years in business, took great care to identify how One Riverside should interact with and give back to its surrounding residential community. Early in the design process, the architects identified the building’s responsibilities: to preserve view shed and permeability; to present approachable, residential architecture; to provide a full, squared-on presence on 25th street; to minimize reflectivity and glare onto the nearby community garden; and to reinforce the public gateway to the Schuylkill River Trail.

As such, several elements of the building’s design and site plan respond to the neighborhood’s needs. The residential tower is oriented east-west at the southern end of the site in order to minimize view shed disturbance. For similar reasons, vehicle parking was placed underground, below the water table.

One Riverside’s 68 residences, including two penthouses, are available in one- to five-bedroom floor plans with 10-foot ceilings and banks of windows with extraordinary views. The layouts are open and spacious and most have private terraces. There is one bi-level penthouse, and the rest of the residences offer single-level living.

“Floor to ceiling glass gives residents a sustained connection to their urban environment,” Baker said. “Something as simple as the light from cars crossing the Schuylkill River bridges at night becomes beautiful when viewed from within One Riverside. Residents are reminded that they are part of a great urban center.”

One Riverside is uniquely positioned to offer residents access to the urban fabric, without leaving green space behind. Outdoor spaces are a main component of the property. Many of the new condominium owners are moving from the surrounding suburbs, so it was important to provide plenty of open space and a lush outdoor environment. The project includes a large, landscaped garden and lawn for residents, a ground-level terrace with an outdoor kitchen, grill and fire pit overlooking a rain garden, and a sundeck off the indoor lap pool.

The lobby entrance is off a private motor court separate from city traffic. Luxury amenities include a fitness center with saunas and steam rooms, an exclusive clubroom and boardroom, a guest hospitality suite, valet parking and a bike share program. Originally designed to include 82 units, the building and its floorplans continued to evolve throughout the design process, as buyers purchased multiple units which the architects then combined into one. Cecil Baker + Partners met with several condominium buyers to understand the needs of their families and lifestyle that necessitated additional customization.

Dranoff Properties and Cecil Baker + Partners, along with other members of the building team, including The Harman Group, Intech Construction and Studio Bryan Hanes, celebrated the Grand Opening of One Riverside on May 2. Residents will continue to move in throughout the spring and summer.

Cecil Baker + Partners is an architecture firm providing design services to governmental, educational, institutional and private sector clients. Established in 1982 and based in Philadelphia, the firm's services include feasibility studies, programming, design of new structures, adaptive reuse of existing structures, and interior design.

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