Historic Building Becomes New Home for Aspiring Artists

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

B&F oversaw seven phases of design and construction that transformed a 1920s-era industrial building into a vibrant new arts education facility.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts 2
ProjectPhases I-VII - Hamilton Building
TypeHistoric Preservation and Interior Renovation
Total Project Cost$60M
Project Size250,000 square feet
ArchitectSaylor Gregg Architects
ProjectPhase VIII - Lenfest Plaza
TypeUrban Park New Construction

Seven Phases and Ten Years of Transformation

Historic Building Becomes New Home for the Arts

Before PAFA purchased the Hamilton Building on north Broad Street, they had classrooms, offices, and studios scattered throughout the neighborhood. B&F worked with PAFA to carefully plan renovations to their new historic Center City home, identifying an initial scope of work critical to move-in and prioritizing projects to be phased over a ten-year period as funds became available.

Becker Fondorf PAFA Exterior Building

Strategic Planning for Student Safety

The School's diverse needs, from studio spaces, galleries, and libraries to foundries that generate extreme heat, required strategic infrastructure planning and safety measures to protect students through each stage of renovation. All phases of the project were delivered on budget and on schedule.

Becker Fondorf PAFA Blueprint

Complexities of Constructing a New Plaza

We also managed the construction of the Lenfest Plaza, an open-air gathering and art exhibition space. We navigated complex issues, including securing approvals to permanently close a portion of Cherry Street, coordination with SEPTA to construct the plaza over an active subway, and the protection of nearby telecommunications infrastructure.

Becker Fondorf PAFA Exterior Torch Daytime

B&F's Ventures in Trigonometry

Our team also oversaw the successful installation of Pop Artist Claes Oldenburg's monumental public sculpture, Paint Torch. Working in tandem with the artist, engineers, and builders, we led the process of ensuring this sculpture was installed in the correct position and angle to be seen from Broad Street on both sides.

Becker Fondorf PAFA Exterior Torch Front View
Becker Fondorf PAFA Torch Interior

Client Testimonial

“Erecting and securing a 53-foot long piece of public art at a dizzying angle on one of Philadelphia’s busiest downtown streets is no small feat. Becker and Frondorf’s diligent work dealt with all of the behind the scenes details to ensure that the installation went off without a hitch. The firm’s efforts helped achieve the vision that both PAFA and I had for the project. The vision became a reality.”

Claes Oldenburg, Pop Artist, "Paint Torch"

Becker Fondorf PAFA Blueprint
Becker Fondorf Philosophy skyscraper

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