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The Plaza at PPL Center

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2003, Robert A. M. Stern and Kendall/Heaton Associates and Atelier Ten. 835 Hamilton St.
  • (William E. Fischer, Jr.)

Three major department stores once stood on Hamilton Street; all are gone. Now a seven-story office building occupies the site of the demolished Hess Brothers’ store. A development project of Pennsylvania Power and Light Company, the building is set back from the street behind a public forecourt. The glass-walled structure is fronted by a handsome projecting glass screen wall covering floors three through six. Inside, the building focuses on a central atrium rising through all seven floors. Two two-story south-facing “winter gardens” overlook the front plaza. The building was chosen as a Top Ten Green Project by the AIA in 2004. Brise soleil on the south elevation, high performance glass, daylight tracking systems, and vegetative roof materials create energy savings 45 to 65 percent beyond conventional building performance. The glass walls and neo-modern aesthetic contrast with the adjacent brick-sheathed tower (LH9) of 1928 with its once modern styling, but the two buildings complement each other well.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas



  • 2003


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "The Plaza at PPL Center", [Allentown, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 295-295.

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