Race Street Pier: Past & Present
The new Race Street Pier opened on May 12, 2011 as the first new public space of its kind to be realized as part of DRWC’s ambitious new Master Plan for the Central Delaware River Waterfront. Formerly Municipal Pier 11, the pier was renamed as the Race Street Pier to further reinforce its relationship to the City and reinstate its historic name.
Construction of the original Race Street Pier began in 1896 including a large building built on two levels to serve different functions; the lower level for shipping and the upper level for recreation. As a nod to its past, the physical design of the new pier is split into two levels – an upper level with a grand sky promenade and a lower level for passive recreation and social gathering. A dramatic ramp rises twelve feet into the air along the north face of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, dramatizing the sense of arriving in the space of the river through a forced one-point perspective and allowing for rare views back to the City. A sun-filled lower terrace supports a multi-purpose lawn, planting beds and seating. The two levels are linked by a generous seating terrace that wraps around the end of the pier and amplifies the sense of magic associated with being on the edge.
Race Street Pier is an integral part of a series of open space improvements proposed every half mile along the central Delaware as part of the new Master Plan for the Central Delaware. Funding for new park has been provided by The City of Philadelphia, The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, William Penn Foundation, The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (Coastal Zone Management) and a challenge grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Watch the video below to see the before and after transformation.