The Race Street Pier is one of the first public spaces to be realized as part of the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation’s ambitious master plan for the Central Delaware Riverfront. As such, it was designed to create a strong physical experience that reconnects the City to the River, activates the water’s edge and establishes the pier as a distinctive new public park for the people of Philadelphia.
Formerly Municipal Pier 11, the pier was renamed as the Race Street Pier to further reinforce its relationship to the City and reinstate its historic name.
Construction of the original Race Street Pier began in 1896 including a large building built on two levels to serve different functions; the lower level for shipping and the upper level for recreation. As a nod to its past, the physical design of the new pier is split into two levels – an upper level with a grand sky promenade and a lower level for passive recreation and social gathering. A dramatic ramp rises twelve feet into the air along the north face of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, dramatizing the sense of arriving in the space of the river through a forced one-point perspective and allowing for rare views back to the City. A sun-filled lower terrace supports a multi-purpose lawn, planting beds and seating. The two levels are linked by a generous seating terrace that wraps around the end of the pier and amplifies the sense of magic associated with being on the edge.
With Langan Engineering, CHPlanning, VJ Associates