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500 Walnut


The corner of Fifth and Walnut Streets is a pivotal site in Philadelphia: it is a portal to the Society Hill neighborhood, abuts the iconic midcentury modern Penn Mutual Life Insurance Building, and overlooks the nation’s birthplace, Independence National Historic Park. The 26-story prismatic glass tower of 500 Walnut includes 30 residential build-to-suit condominiums atop a four-story amenities podium and below-grade automated parking.

CBP Architects took inspiration from the scale and rhythms of Penn Mutual but derived the building’s form from the National Park Service mandate to preserve open sky framing the cupola of Independence Hall when viewed or photographed from the Liberty Bell. A corner inflection in the massing suggests a gateway to Society Hill. Angular building setbacks provide opportunities for terraces while manipulating the solid-void relationship of the receding facades. A sizable common terrace at the fourth floor overlooks Independence Park and can be used for special events. The arrangement of residential units resulted in half the floors containing a single unit with direct elevator access and the remainder containing a pair of units. Rather than the ordinary approach of fitting as many units as possible into the envelope, the exercise became a reduction leading to exclusivity, which ultimately drove a successful bottom line.

  • Project Category

    Market Rate Multifamily

  • Client

    Scannapieco Development Corporation

  • Location

    Philadelphia, PA

  • Number of Units


  • Number of Stories


  • Gross Floor Area

    179,000 sf

  • Program

    New Condominium Tower