Photos, story by Lou Perri
Mayor Jim Kenney joined officials of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the Fairmount Park Conservancy to celebrate the highly anticipated start of the renovation of the Welcome Center at LOVE Park, and announced Saint-Gobain will be the Presenting Sponsor of the Welcome Center, which is anticipated to be completed in spring 2017 in tandem with the rebuilding of LOVE Park in Center City. During the ceremony held at the Municipal Services Building-Thomas Paine Plaza (1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.), city officials and Saint-Gobain unveiled an “interactive” rendering to help Philadelphians and visitors see themselves in the future of the Welcome Center. Other city officials and representatives in attendance included City of Philadelphia Managing Director Michael DiBerardinis, City Council President Darrell Clarke, Commissioner of Parks & Recreation Kathryn Ott Lovell and Executive Director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy Rick Magder.
“We are in the midst of a parks renaissance, and the partnership between city government and the private sector is stronger than ever,” said Mayor Kenney. “Saint-Gobain’s commitment speaks to its understanding of the value our parks play in Philadelphia.”
The Fairmount Park Conservancy, in partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, has convened partners and the community around the vision for the future of LOVE Park. Saint-Gobain is making a five-year, $700,000 commitment that includes cash and in-kind building materials and services from its family of companies to help restore the LOVE Park Welcome Center, commonly known as the “flying saucer.” In return, Saint-Gobain will be the Presenting Sponsor of LOVE Park’s Welcome Center for the next 10 years. Saint-Gobain’s commitment represents approximately 20 percent of the total budget for the renovation project.
“The redesign of the Welcome Center at LOVE Park demonstrates Philadelphia is not a city of the past, but one of the present and future,” said John Crowe, President and CEO of the Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed Corporations. “Over the course of our amazing 350-year history, Saint-Gobain has helped restore many iconic destinations to make them better and healthier for the environment and the people who enjoy them. Saint-Gobain is deeply honored to be part of the renovation of a building that sets the stage for the Philly experience for people that come here from all over the world.”
The company’s building scientists are working closely with the architects from Hargreaves Associates and KieranTimberlake to identify the exact sustainable products from Saint-Gobain Glass and CertainTeed that will be used to help make the architects’ vision of restoring the building a reality. “Our goal is to bring back the original concept for the Welcome Center, where it is truly transparent by day and luminous by night, providing visitors with a wonderful perch from which to view the city,” said Richard Maimon, partner of KieranTimberlake. “The latest glass technology from Saint-Gobain allows us to realize the original intent for the building as a transparent pavilion in the city.”
The commitment also includes a promise the City of Philadelphia and Saint-Gobain will work together to promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, building science and new technologies to students across the area. “We’ve already begun discussing how our partnership can enhance STEM education programming by using the Welcome Center as an example to young people about how sustainable design can help protect the past and improve the future,” said Crowe.
“For the first time in a generation, Philadelphia is growing again. People, especially young people, want to live and work here. One of the big reasons for this is we are focused on delivering lively public spaces that bring people together from all walks of life to exercise, relax, learn and enjoy all that Philadelphia has to offer,” said Lovell.