Value-Added Design Excellence
Among the many goals for the vision of Lenfest Plaza, three stood out as markers for success: create a unified campus for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts for the first time in the institution’s history; establish a gateway to the “Museum Mile” at the intersection of Broad and Cherry Streets; and identify Philadelphia as one of the nation’s leading art venues, particularly to visitors of the Pennsylvania Convention Center’s main entrance immediately opposite the Academy. Since its creation and as a marker of its success, Lenfest Plaza has graced the cover of numerous magazines and been the subject of countless articles raising the profile of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Lenfest Plaza has improved the Academy’s attendance records, created a sense of place where there was once pass through, and become a symbol for the City of Philadelphia. According to Lonely Planet, “Philadelphia is becoming known as an art capital.”
Most recently, the image of Lenfest Plaza as Philadelphia-identifier was used by Weather.com in their online article, “10 Best Places to Visit in 2013” – Philadelphia ranks number four. This is the strength of design excellence in adding value to place, and indeed, using both art and landscape architecture to create an identity and foster engagement with and for the public at large. Design excellence, and in particular the creation of great public spaces, offers returns that can be measured.