Rittenhouse Square Park

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“RittenHouse Square is a beautiful, historic square in the middle of the city. It is the 100th anniversary of the park’s design and the Friends of RittenHouse Square, the nonprofit that maintains the park hired us for various lighting needs. One of the issues was additional lighting on an historic neoclassical balustrade and we needed type II distribution with no glare. Your fixture was the best designed with the color temperature, optics, small discrete head…really no other fixture came close for our needs. So, it’s a nice way to show that new fixtures are applicable to even historic parks.”

  • Claudia Librett, design director of 521 Atelier

Rittenhouse Square is one of the five original open-space parks planned by William Penn and his surveyor Thomas Holme during the late 17th century in central Philadelphia. The park is widely considered one of the finest urban public spaces in the United States. Originally called Southwest Square, Rittenhouse Square was renamed in 1825 after David Rittenhouse, a descendant of the first paper-maker in Philadelphia, the German immigrant William Rittenhouse. William Rittenhouse's original paper-mill site is known as Rittenhousetown, located in the rural setting of Fairmount Park along Paper Mill Run. David Rittenhouse was a clockmaker and friend of the American Revolution, as well as a noted astronomer.

Today, the tree-filled park is surrounded by high rise residences, luxury apartments, an office tower, a few popular restaurants, a Barnes & Noble bookstore, a Barneys, and a five-star hotel. Its green grasses and dozens of benches are popular lunch-time destinations for residents and workers in Philadelphia's Center City neighborhood, while its lion and goat statues are popular gathering spots for small children and their parents. The park is a popular dog walking destination for area residents.

The beauty of the Park is due largely to the efforts of Friends of Rittenhouse Square, a public-private partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. Landscaping, lighting, restoration of fountains and fencing—even the installation and stocking of doggie-bag dispensers—are all projects of the Friends of Rittenhouse Square. During 2013, the 100th anniversary of architect Paul Cret's redesign of the Square, the Friends of Rittenhouse Square worked to raise record funds for a lighting and preservation initiative. Selux is proud to have been a part of the restoration of this historic park.

client Friends of Rittenhouse Square

architect Bolender Architects

lighting designer 521 Atelier

photographer © Jeffrey Totaro 2014

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