From sky bridges to glass balconies to literally splitting a building in-half, The Darien is a new mixed-use development complex unlike any in Philadelphia.
Comprised of two mid-rise buildings along Poplar and North 8th Streets, the pair of plush properties features 212 residential units, 6,000 square feet of retail space, a 12,000-square-foot roof deck, and ground-floor parking.
The overall goal of the design was to take these two unique buildings and construct a connection between them, while also visually drawing people to The Darien’s contemporary aesthetic.
The buildings are angled to visually frame a view of the rail catenary and the smokestack of The Poplar beyond. To further frame these views, a soaring glass and steel sky bridge connecting the wings of the building was introduced. In massing, the 9th street building appears to be two distinct structures, but acts as one.
Southern view of The Darien
Eastern view of The Darien
The building massing was further differentiated with the idea of splitting the building east and west via different materials and window types. The western facades were designed as a nod to the original Quaker storage building (now The Poplar) they face. These facades make use of factory glass windows and a sandy, large format porcelain façade to reflect a more industrial aesthetic. On the other hand, the eastern facades harken to something more current, with expanses of glazing and white brick facades that harmonize with the Darien’s overall color palette.
The sky bridges along 9th Street also act as a gateway to a courtyard which serves as a central green of The Darien “campus.” This green space unites the 9th Street and 8th Street structures while also providing an implied connection to the Poplar’s entry court on the opposite side of the rail line. Residential entries are also located off this courtyard, which provides some green relief to an urban site.