Back to Our Roots

Among all the redevelopment going on downtown, there’s one project that will add more greenery than concrete. Dozens of new trees will soon appear around the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building as its aging plaza gets a face-lift. Richard Fleischman Architects redesigned the existing “militant and geometric” space by studying plazas around the world. We asked Fleischman for a rundown of the project. 

The Concept: “It’s not meant to just be looked at, it’s meant to be used,” Fleischman says. With walkways weaving through the plaza, it’ll be a prime setting to enjoy some downtime. “We need to use our imaginations more,” he says. “There could be a performance of Shakespeare on the lawn in the summertime, or a high school could have a band concert there on a Friday afternoon.”

The Art: Los Angeles artist Pae White adds splashes of red to the greenery. White drew inspiration from nature to craft 14 aluminum panels with intricate, swirling designs.

The Greenery: About 100 trees will be brought in so an urban forest can take root. Lucinda Sanders of Philadelphia’s Olin Partnership was a collaborator on this portion of the project. “The idea was that when you entered the plaza it would be like a room,” Fleischman says, “the trees become the ceiling of the space.”

Price Tag: $15 million, provided by the Federal Buildings Fund

Completion Dates: The plaza’s west side is slated for a fall 2008 completion. The east portion will be finished the following spring.
Share this story: