Philadelphia’s South Square is situated at a crossroads of the new Philadelphia. The impeccably quaint neighborhood of Fitler Square to the north has been one of the cities most desirable neighborhoods for classic brownstones and quaint townhouses. The Graduate Hospital neighborhood to the s south rose to fame as the setting of “Sixth Sense” and came to symbolize the resurgence of Philadelphia in the 2000’s after decades of decline. South Square itself is the first commercial space on the South Street thoroughfare as it crosses the Schuykill river from the University of Pennsylvania campus on the way to Center City.
Bloc23 was designed at the inspection of LABhaus and was ultimately a deeply personal project. LABhaus Creative Director and founder Steven C Nebel played an instrumental role in the redevelopment of South Square as the developer of Thirteen+Eleven, a mixed use project on the 2200-block of South Street which featured the first commercial storefront to forego the apologetic metal bars of the previous area in favor of glass storefronts and modern design, offering a more optimistic view of the neighborhood’s future.
Bloc23 was designed as a world-conscious modern mixed-use building. Forgoing the safety of the nearby neocolonial development of Toll Brother’s Naval Square project to the south and west, Bloc23 sought to bring a globally relevant soul to the neighborhood. The project is comprised of three stories of residential set over an open commercial ground floor and multi-level parking below. The main floor is constructed of concrete steel with a prefab residential above.
The façade was designed with a unique metal shutter system. Each residential unit featured a series of private balconies, wrapped in tropical hardwoods and finished with a yellow glass rail. Custom sliding white metal screens offer privacy and the opportunity to manipulate the relationship of each balcony to the street.