VALLEY FORGE, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Saint-Gobain, one of the world’s largest building materials companies, announces a partnership with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and Fairmount Park Conservancy to provide sustainable building materials and building science expertise to support the much-anticipated redevelopment of the Welcome Center at JFK Plaza/LOVE Park. The recently released design reimagines JFK Plaza/LOVE Park as a true gateway to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and as a place with both active and passive spaces that allow visitors to experience Philadelphia in a special way.
Currently celebrating its 350th anniversary, Saint-Gobain is the oldest company headquartered in the Philadelphia region and felt uniquely qualified to help Parks and Recreation and the Fairmount Park Conservancy in their mission to create a world-class park that is distinctively Philadelphia. The partnership announcement comes during “Future Sensations,” Saint-Gobain’s never-before-seen futuristic global exhibition at The Oval on the northwest end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway now through June 6.
“There is no mistaking the architectural influence Paris has had on Philadelphia, particularly the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which was modeled on Paris’ own Avenue des Champs-Élysées. It seems only fitting that Saint-Gobain, a locally based company that was founded in 1665 to manufacture glass for the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles, would help us reimagine the LOVE Park Welcome Center as a true gateway to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “A project of this scope and scale has inspired civically minded collaboration between the public and private sectors and is indicative of how important this redevelopment is to our city.”
Through Saint-Gobain’s partnership, the company is committed to collaborating with Parks and Recreation, Fairmount Park Conservancy, and the architects from Hargreaves and Associates and KieranTimberlake to help reimagine the iconic Welcome Center structure. The partnership will explore how Saint-Gobain can help create a memorable space that integrates environmentally sustainable strategies. The Welcome Center, a round midcentury building colloquially known as the “Saucer,” was recently at the center of a design debate that elicited thousands of comments from the public, but thanks to the architects’ balanced design, will be retained as a focal point at the site. The complete portfolio of materials from Saint-Gobain’s family of companies will be explored for possible application in the sustainably redesigned Welcome Center.
“We are encouraged by the excitement that our ‘Future Sensations’ exhibition has generated, but it is only a temporary feature on the Parkway. Today, we promise a significant investment in the Parkway that will make a lasting impact and leave an enduring legacy for our hometown’s most iconic park,” said John Crowe, President and CEO of Saint-Gobain and its North American construction materials subsidiary, CertainTeed Corporation. “No matter how much our great city evolves, our parks remain, and they must. Parks are intermissions in our urban play, a chance to catch our breath and reflect. We believe the expertise of our renowned building scientists and world-class materials can help ensure that future generations have the same chance for reflection in LOVE Park.”
From the glass pyramid at the Louvre, to the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center, and Philadelphia sites like Boathouse Row, the Benjamin Franklin Museum, the National Constitution Center, and the Kimmel and Comcast Centers, Saint-Gobain’s high-performance building materials have brought unique features to many of the world’s most iconic structures. With this partnership, it will enhance one of Philadelphia’s most treasured icons, LOVE Park.
“Saint-Gobain’s ‘Future Sensations’ exhibition, currently at The Oval, has elevated the urban vibrancy of the Parkway, setting a new standard for open-space place-making in Philadelphia,” said Kathryn Ott Lovell. “Through our partnership, we recognize that the Parkway’s urban vibrancy can in fact radiate from LOVE Park, a space that embodies everything the Parkway represents – art, architecture, history – and with support from Saint-Gobain, innovation, too.”
The Future Sensations exhibition is an immersive experience with five distinct ephemeral pavilions that take visitors on a sensory journey of science, storytelling and art that celebrates the past three-and-a-half centuries and offers glimpses into future innovations that will transform the world. The touring exhibition makes four stops across the globe, including Shanghai, China; São Paulo, Brazil; Paris, France; and Philadelphia – the only tour stop in North America and home of Saint-Gobain’s domestic headquarters.
About Saint-Gobain in North America
For 350 years, Saint-Gobain, the world leader in sustainable environments, has designed and manufactured high-performance building materials that improve the lives of people the world over. From the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles and the glass pyramid at the Louvre, to the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center, and even components that allow the Mars Rover Curiosity to seek out life on another planet, Saint-Gobain has been a part of the fabric of human history, advancement and improvement for three and a half centuries – and 2015 is the company’s commemorative year.
In North America, the company upholds this rich history of innovation by making a difference in the spaces where people work, live, play, heal and learn. Along with its North American headquarters in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, Saint-Gobain has more than 250 locations in North America and approximately 15,000 employees. In the United States and Canada, Saint-Gobain reported sales of approximately $6.2 billion in 2014. Join Saint-Gobain in a celebration of the company’s 350 years of innovation, wonders and advancements by visiting www.saint-gobain-northamerica.com and www.futuresensations.com or connect with Saint-Gobain North America on Facebook and Twitter.
About Philadelphia Parks & Recreation
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation is the City department that is most engaged in the lives of residents and visitors alike on a daily basis. Through its programs, policies and physical amenities, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation promotes the well-being of the City, its citizens and visitors, by offering beautiful natural landscapes and parks, historically significant resources, high quality recreation centers and athletic programs, along with enriching cultural and environmental programs.
About The Fairmount Park Conservancy
The Fairmount Park Conservancy exists to champion the Fairmount Park system. Its mission is to work as a collaborative partner to lead and support efforts that preserve and improve Fairmount Park to enhance the quality of life and stimulate the economic development of the Greater Philadelphia Region. The Fairmount Park Conservancy fulfills its mission by leading signature capital projects and innovative programs throughout Fairmount Park; by developing and leveraging resources for the park; and by promoting the parks’ unique assets and contributions. The Fairmount Park system covers more than 10,200 acres and is considered one of the largest urban park systems in the world. It includes a network of more than 100 neighborhood parks and contains some of the region’s most famous treasures and attractions.