We collaborated with the Wynnefield Overbrook Revitalization Corporation to develop a series of commercial facade improvements for an existing commercial corridor on the 1800 and 1900 blocks of North 54th Street in Philadelphia. Buildings on both of the blocks have intricate detailing on not only the storefronts, but also on the window bays and cornices. One goal of our design is to highlight those details by using color to make the brackets and cornices stand out. A set of three signage standards is used to provide a more unified look along both blocks while providing variety among the different businesses. Hanging signs, painted awnings and window lettering, and wall signs provide the variety that allows businesses to be recognized without the signage overpowering the buildings.
The use of plants and vegetation is another element that we recommend for commercial facades and it is incorporated in different ways into these block designs. A variety of planters and window boxes are used throughout the facades to soften the wide concrete sidewalk and to create an inviting zone along the buildings that is intended to welcome shoppers into the stores. We also recommend adding street trees wherever it is possible to bring some needed shade to the block and to provide a future place for string lighting or additional plantings. Corner buildings with an area of blank facade provide an opportunity for a new community mural to add interest to an otherwise blank wall, and potentially be the start of a community gathering space at the vacant lot on the 1800 block. We believe that these renderings of what could happen with a simple set of materials that can be incorporated over time will generate excitement in the business organization, and lead to many future improvements along the corridor.