UCD + Local Artist Glossblack Team up for Market Street Bridge Refresh

Sep 05, 2018 9 months ago

Three years after University City District (UCD), Center City District (CCD), the Schuylkill River Development Corporation (SRDC), and the design group Groundswell partnered to enhance the Market Street Bridge, UCD has refreshed the project, including collaborating with Philadelphia artist Glossblack on a unique and colorful mural installation on the central planters.

The original enhancement of the bridge came about through a partnership between UCD, CCD, and SRDC to knit together the pedestrian fabric of University City and Center City. UCD engaged Groundswell Design Group—the landscape architecture firm behind Spruce Street Harbor Park, the Independence Beer Garden and the revamped Porch at 30th Street Station—to enhance the walking experience, and to extend the design style of The Porch across the Market Street Bridge. After three years, the basic wood planters needed an upgrade.

UCD started by hiring Keep it Rollin Painters to stain the majority of the planters a black color popular in Northern Europe to blend with the window trim of nearby buildings. But UCD also wanted to do more. “We wanted to create a more fun and whimsical look to the bridge and tie it in more closely with the style of the Porch at 30th Street Station,” said Nate Hommel, UCD’s Director of Planning and Design. “We’ve long admired the work of local artist Glossblack and thought he’d be a perfect partner to bring on to create something new, exciting, eye-catching, and most importantly, fun.”

Glossblack is an artist known for large scale murals, sign painting, and traditional graffiti lettering. His concept for the bridge was to create what he called “pixelated patterns” using shades of green, blue, indigo, and violet (based off the colors of the Porch Swings) for a combination he dubbed “G-BIV.” The bright colors provide a pop that will encourage pedestrians to linger and also look compelling from a distance.

The Market Street Bridge improvements are another example of UCD’s overall portfolio of infrastructure renewals to go along with the forthcoming 40th Street Trolley Portal Gardens, The Porch at 30th Street Station, and many more.

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