Adaptive Reuse of the 30th Street Main Post Office Building

General Services Administration, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The linchpin of a major redevelopment at the gateway to West Philadelphia, this 926,000-square-foot adaptive-reuse project transforms a five-story, 1930s-era mail distribution facility into a modern office building. The centerpiece of the renovation is a new four-story light well that forms a long, narrow atrium in the center of the city block-sized industrial floor plate. Bringing daylight deep into the building, the atrium humanizes the building's scale and is the focus of the modern office spaces created from the former sorting spaces. The project reversed 70 years of exterior deterioration including the removal of an intrusive pedestrian bridge over Chestnut Street. The original bronze windows were restored and, through the use of innovative technologies, now meet both thermal and blast-security criteria without the removal of any historic material. Interior restoration focused on the original public post office located on the building's first floor. Spectacular finishes, and an energy efficient recreation of the extraordinary 1930s indirect lighting effects were restored. This preservation and modernization effort achieved LEED Gold certification.

A diverse group of stakeholders came together to realize the vision of a revitalized West Philadelphia entrance that includes a 732,000 square foot office tower, a twenty-three acre park, and a mixed used development with additional phases planned for the future. In that context, the restoration of the 30th Street Main Post Office invigorates the neighborhood with the addition of five thousand office workers adjacent to one of the country's most active transportation, residential and educational hubs. The newly cleaned and lit exterior forms an impressive gateway to Philadelphia with its also recently refurbished fraternal twin 30th Street Station.


2012 Honor Award
National Trust for Historic Preservation
2011 Design Award
Society of American Registered Architects (SARA)
2011 Best Commercial / Retail / Non-Residential Project
National Housing & Rehabilitation Association, J. Timothy Anderson Awards For Excellence In Historic Rehabilitation
2011 Commonwealth Award
10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania
2011 2011 New York Region Best Projects Renovation/Restoration Category
Engineering News Record
2011 Historic Preservation Award, Public Category
Preservation Pennsylvania
2011 Preservation Achievement Grand Jury Award
Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia
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News: 30th Street Main Post Office Honored with National Preservation Honor Award
Client: Other projects for General Services Administration