Drexel Square: A deliberate mix between a plaza and park

Posted on 5th February 2020 by cedstone

Drexel Square in Philadelphia shows the power of public spaces in facilitating deeper connections between people and their community.

CED Stone North America were an integral partner in the significant success of this project, from concept and initial design input, stone selection, all shop and bespoke piece drawings and finally supplying over 60 container loads of natural stone seamlessly.

Drexel Square at Schuylkill Yards, Philadelphia

Project Description

Drexel Square Park opened to the public in June 2019. Conceived as an intimate space for the community to gather, the park serves as the gateway into University City and provides a clear transition from downtown Philadelphia’s urban grid to a lush, verdant enclave.

Taking the shape of an expansive ellipse, the 1.3-acre park completely transformed an underutilized parking lot outside Amtrak’s
30th Street station. Its pathways are a projection of the earth’s meridian lines, with sparkling white granite contrasting the lush green grass and 23 fully-grown Dawn Redwood trees flanking the natural stone planters along the perimeter.

A deliberate mix between a plaza and park, Drexel Square is designed to be an inviting addition to the existing vibrancy of the
neighborhood. With this space, the first among a network of parks that will eventually comprise 6.5-acres of the 14-acre Schuylkill Yards neighborhood. These greenspaces will eventually connect 6.9 million square feet of workplace and lifestyle
environments as part of the developer’s vision.

The designers brief for the stone was thoughtfully considered and precise; this special project needed a durable material for the plaza and a contrasting clean material for all the planters and walls. Materials were sourced from the north and the south of China respectively.

To achieve the contrast element to the vast expanse of the space, the pavers were made to have two different finishes.
The planters and ellipse posed the most complexities, so we opted for a 4th generation factory that uses a combination of modern CNC technology, as well as hand crafting to ensure a perfect result. The planters steps down from the main plaza to the roadside and the design team were passionate to have the copings follow the same shape without breaking the continuity and flow, whilst it twists and turns a corner. Each planter had a unique size and corner profile that meant all pieces were made bespoke to fit the relevant space.

These complexities were overcome by careful planning, detailed CAD work and factory inspections at source to ensure all pieces were
produced correctly.

The solid granite benches also had unique features, e.g. LED grooves and anti skate deterrents while it weaves in and out around the
planters. Step entries were custom made to form unique corners and contrasting nosing pieces were installed to the edge of the steps as a visibility aid. Additional unique pieces included wall cladding, curved step treads, water grids for drainage and transfer nodes on elliptical bands.

For more pics on the project click here for our full gallery.

Contact us for exceptional projects

CED Stone North America offers bespoke service and can also source and supply natural stone into any form, shape and style imaginable to meet your unique requirements. Be it for public or private use, indoors or out, traffic or pedestrians, our specialist team will find the right materials for your project. We offer delivery in Quebec and Ontario as well as Canada and North America.

Visit our website at https://www.cedstone.ca/ or call us on +1 (866) 918 4298.


A deliberate mix between a plaza and park