30th Street Main Post Office Building

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1 / 11 – Photo credit: Halkin Photography LLC
“Philadelphia’s 30th Street Main Post Office exemplifies the possibilities of adaptive reuse and its potential for urban transformation. In this $167 million project, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson carefully preserved the notable architectural details of this historic 1930s structure, while transforming it into a sustainable, modern office building. The project is playing a key role in the redevelopment of the University City neighborhood.”



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 LEED Gold 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 office spaces created from the former sorting floors. The project reversed 70 years of exterior deterioration, including the use of innovative technologies to restore original bronze windows to both thermal and blast-security criteria without removing historic material. Interior work centered on the original public post office gallery, restoring its finishes while recreating an energy efficient version of its extraordinary 1930s indirect lighting effects.

As the centerpiece of an urban revitalization effort that also includes office and mixed use development and a 23 acre park, the 30th Street Post Office building invigorates its neighborhood with the addition of five thousand office workers to one of the country’s most active transportation, residential and educational hubs.

Project Data

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2007 – 2010
General Services Administration
926,000 SF


Honor Award for Design
Preservation Achievement Grand Jury Award
New York Region Best Projects Renovation / Restoration Category
Commonwealth Award
Best Commercial / Retail / Non-Residential Project
Historic Preservation Award, Public Category
Design Award