Centre Square
Centre Square is an office complex located in Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. The complex consists of two high-rise towers: the 417 feet (127 m) Centre Square I and the 490 feet (150 m) Centre Square II. The concrete towers are the twenty-fourth and fifteenth tallest buildings in Philadelphia, respectively. Designed by Vincent Kling & Associates in the 1960s, Centre Square opened in 1973. The complex is credited with shifting Philadelphia's downtown office district from South Broad Street to West Market Street. A tenant since 1975, management consulting firm Towers Perrin is Centre Square's largest tenant. The complex is best known for Claes Oldenburg's sculpture, Clothespin, located in the plaza in front of the building. A fan of contemporary art, developer Jack Wolgin commissioned three art pieces for Philadelphia's percent for art program. The pieces, Oldenburg's Clothespin, Jean Dubuffet's Milord la Chamarre, and a series of banners by Alexander Calder, were noted for helping Philadelphia gain a reputation for the promotion of public art.

Centre square was designed by Vincent Kling & Associates and developed by Jack Wolgin. Designed in the 1960s, the US$80 million Centre Square opened in 1973 with First Pennsylvania Bank as the lead tenant. The buildings were originally designed to be steel skyscrapers, but were redesigned into concrete skyscrapers right before construction began because the project was over budget. Unlike similar complexes the two towers were constructed at the same time. Centre Square is credited with shifting Philadelphia's downtown office district from South Broad Street to West Market Street. The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife) had an ownership stake in the complex ever since Centre Square was constructed and in 1992 became the sole owners. Metropolitan Life of Virginia took control of the complex around 2000. Wolgin sold his stake in the complex in the early 1980s and in 2002 MetLife put the property up for sale. In October 2002 HRPT Properties Trust bought Centre Square for US$183.5 million plus closing costs. With the acquisition of Centre Square, HRPT Properties Trust began an improvement and renovation plan for the complex. Improvements to the property included modernization of its elevator, air conditioning and safety systems. Architectural firm Daroff Design Inc.'s plans included cleaning the structures and a redesign of parts of the atrium and the plaza in front of the building.

The 1,800,000-square-foot (167,000 m 2) Centre Square comprises two concrete high-rises that are connected by an atrium. Located on Market Street between 15th and 16th Streets in Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Centre Square is right across the street from Philadelphia City Hall. The smaller of the two towers is the east tower. The thirty-two story east tower or Centre Square I is 417 feet (127 m) tall. The forty story west tower, Centre Square II, is located at the corner of Market and 16th Streets and is 490 feet (150 m). Centre Square I and Centre Square II are the twenty-fourth and fifteenth tallest buildings in Philadelphia, respectively. The four story atrium connecting the two high rises is topped by a domed skylight and the floors are connected by a triangular elevator. During renovations in 2008 a tower of changing light pipes replaced the marble encasement that had surrounded the elevator tower. The plaza in front of Centre Square at the corner of Market and 15th Streets has access to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority's (SEPTA) 15th Street Station.

Centre Square has been and is the home to numerous works of contemporary art. Until the company left in the mid 1980s, Arco Chemical Co., whose headquarters was in Centre Square, had a large collection of contemporary art displayed throughout the complex. Philadelphia has a percent for art program, which requires a percentage of construction costs be allocated for art. A fan and collector of contemporary art, developer Jack Wolgin had three pieces commissioned to fulfill the ordinance. The most famous piece is Claes Oldenburg's 45 feet (14 m) Cor-Ten and stainless steel sculpture, Clothespin. Located on top of the subway entrance in the plaza in front of the building, Centre Square is best known because of Clothespin and is often called the Clothespin Building. Wolgin's lawyer said the lead tenant, the First Pennsylvania Bank, had requested a conventional statue of a general on a horse, but Wolgin said, "No. You're getting a clothespin." A second sculpture was also commissioned. The steel sculpture Milord la Chamarre by Jean Dubuffet was placed in the atrium. In the mid 1980s the interior was renovated and Milord la Chamarre was moved outside on Market Street. Also commissioned were eight banners by Alexander Calder. The banners, ranging from 18 feet (5.5 m) to 28 feet (8.5 m), were hung from the atrium ceiling and had colorful sun, flower, moon and night designs. The dyed cotton and silk banners, the only banners Calder ever designed, were removed during the renovations in the 1980s and were subsequently lost. After pressure from the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority art program to search for the banners they were discovered in a storeroom in the early 2000s. In 2009 some of the banners were put on temporary display at the Free Library of Philadelphia while the Redevelopment Authority works to find a place to have them displayed permanently. Wolgin said his goal in commissioning the three pieces of art was "to provide art that would enhance Philadelphia by integrating into the daily life of those who live or work in the city the joy and inspiration derived from great art." Former head of the Redevelopment Authority art program Mary Kilroy said the art installed at Centre Square was the point when Philadelphia began to build its reputation as a great promoter of public art.

The complex's largest tenant is the management consulting firm Towers Perrin. Towers Perrin has had offices in Centre Square since 1975 and after its lease renewal in 2004 occupies between 250,000 square feet (23,000 m 2) and 300,000 square feet (28,000 m 2) square feet in the east tower. Saul Ewing leases 111,000 square feet (10,000 m 2) on the 36th, 37th, 38th and 40th floors of Centre Square II. The law firm has made the building its headquarters since shortly after the building opened. Cable company Comcast made the Centre its headquarters from 1991 to 2007. Comcast moved into the complex after a fire seriously damaged its former headquarters at One Meridian Plaza across the street. It left Centre Square for its new headquarters in the Comcast Center despite attempts by HRPT Properties Trust to convince them to stay. In 1999 Lincoln National Corporation moved from Fort Wayne, Indiana to Centre Square. The company makes 32,000-square-foot (3,000 m 2) in the West Tower its headquarters despite moving 400 hundred employees, including its top management, outside of Philadelphia and into Radnor Township, Pennsylvania in 2007.


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