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Construction Timeline

Lenfest Hall is being built at 1616 Locust Street, one block east of Curtis's main building on Rittenhouse Square. Follow the construction process through the photos and descriptions below.

March 2009: Preconstruction activities

April 2009: Groundbreaking

May 2009: Façade stabilization

June 2009: Demolition

July 2009: Managing demolition dust

August 2009: Demolition complete

September 2009: Bulk excavation

October 2009: Bracing the party walls

November 2009: Tower crane assembly and mat pour/ basement foundation

January 2010: Concrete superstructure

February 2010: Third floor decking in place

March 2010: Rehearsal hall takes shape

May 2010: Concrete placed for floors six through eight

June 2010: Topping off the structure

July 2010: Removing the tower crane

October 2010: Preparing for cladding

December 2010:  Stone cladding installed

March 2011:  Progress on the terrace

April 2011:  A staged residence hall suite

September 2011: Ribbon cutting


 September 2011: Ribbon cutting

Construction complete, Curtis marked the official opening of Lenfest Hall with an outdoor tented ribbon cutting ceremony on September 6. Speakers included Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Curtis Chairman H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest, and Curtis President Roberto Díaz, and students performed works to herald the opening. See more scenes from the day.


April 2011:  A staged residence hall suite

Thanks to the efforts of the Student Advisory Group and Laurel Grady, associate director of student services and international student advisor, a residential suite on the sixth floor was staged with furniture and accessories to help future residents envision what life will be like in Lenfest Hall.


March 2011:  Progress on the terrace 

Beautiful stone pavers are now installed on the fifth floor terrace. Later in the spring, the outer boundaries of the terrace and additional planter boxes will come alive with lush trees, shrubs, herbs, and annuals in a beautiful design created by noted landscape designer Jon Carloftis. With gorgeous views of the Center City skyline, the terrace will become a favorite hangout for students, faculty, and staff.


December 2010:  Stone cladding installed

Stone cladding has been installed over the "Blueskin" membrane on the Locust Street side of the building. Almost all of the windows have been installed, and the building is now closed to the elements. Some openings are temporarily covered with plastic sheeting on removable wooden frames, to allow for the loading of materials. Restoration of the historic facades is scheduled for completion by the end of December. The 1610 Locust facade is enclosed in plastic, as seen here, to facilitate restoration work.  (photo: Charles Sterne III)


October 2010: Preparing for cladding

On Locust Street a weather-resistant barrier has been applied to the face of the concrete block. Stone cladding is now being installed to cover this "Blueskin" membrane. After that, the installation of large structurally-reinforced windows, known as curtain wall, will begin. The goal is to have the building enclosed against the weather by early November. 
(photo: Charles Sterne III)


July 2010: Removing the tower crane

Another milestone was reached over the weekend of August 7 & 8 when the large tower crane was disassembled and removed from the building site. A temporary hoist inside the building is now being used to transport construction materials to all floors.

The exterior panels and windows have now been installed in the building, and work on the interior of Lenfest Hall, from framing to electric, plumbing and HVAC installation, is continuing on schedule on all floors and the roof.


June 2010: Topping off the structure

A ceremonial I-beam, signed by guests at the Curtis topping off ceremony, is raised to the roof of Lenfest Hall to commemorate the successful completion of the building’s concrete superstructure. An American flag, a small tree symbolizing good luck and endurance, and a Curtis banner were affixed to the beam. As guests gathered in what will be the new rehearsal hall, the first musical performance in Lenfest Hall took place when a quartet of Curtis musicians—Matthew Ebisuzaki (trumpet), Courtney Prizrenac ’10 (horn), Brian Santero (trombone), and Ryan Seay (trombone)—played a brass fanfare to accompany the raising of the beam.


May 2010: Concrete placed for floors six through eight

A view of Lenfest Hall from the north steeple of St Mark's Church is visible to the right. Formwork and shoring have been removed from the Orchestra Rehearsal Room, and the fifth floor terrace is taking shape above. Concrete has been placed for floors six through eight of the residential tower. Shear walls at the ends of the tower have reached roof level. (photo: Alan Razak)


March 2010: Rehearsal hall takes shape

On the left is an artist's rendering of what the rehearsal hall in Lenfest Hall will look like when complete. On the right is a photograph taken in late March from roughly the same vantage point on the construction site. The scaffolding will remain until the fifth floor terrace concrete is in place. Even with the scaffolding, the magnificent view from the rehearsal hall is evident. (photo: Alan Razak)

A view of the third floor, looking north. The silver scaffolding in the upper right section is in what will become the rehearsal hall. St. Mark’s Church is at the top of the photo. (photo: Rainbow Photographic)


February 2010: Third floor decking in place

The concrete forms and shoring for the third floor decking are put in place. (photo: Rainbow Photographic)


January 2010: Concrete superstructure

Now that the first floor slab is complete, shoring and decking are being installed to support placement of the second floor concrete slab. In the background, formwork has been constructed so that the concrete shear walls can be poured.


Mid-November 2009:  Mat pour/basement foundation

On Saturday, November 14, beginning at 1:30 a.m. in rain and ending about twelve hours later, concrete was poured to form the mat foundation of Lenfest Hall. A total of 1350 cubic yards of concrete was poured (nine cubic yards per truck; 150 trucks). There were two pumps on the site, each of which could accommodate two trucks at a time. See more photos.


November 2009:  Tower crane assembly

The first section of the tower mast is embedded into a concrete foundation on the south side of the construction site. The crane erection began on Friday night, November 6 and finished on Sunday, November 8. The tower portion of the crane rises 172’; the cab and boom assembly add another 49’, for a total height of 221’. The crane will be used to pick steel and other construction items from delivery trucks as the construction proceeds. See more photos.


October 2009:  Bracing the party walls

Steel buttresses are now in place to brace the party walls of the adjoining buildings. The network of rebar in the foreground of the photo is where equipment for one of the elevators will be housed.


September 2009:  Bulk excavation

Bulk excavation has begun on the site, and each day the hole in the ground grows deeper. It is amazing how many earth-moving machines can fit in one small, tight, urban construction site. Pedestrians stop to watch the intricate dance of the construction vehicles as they maneuver around one another below street level.


August 2009:  Demolition complete

Demolition of the Locust Club and the buildings behind the historic façades of the 1610 and 1618 townhouses is complete (shown above, looking across the 1600 block toward Locust Street and St. Mark's Church). The next phase of the project includes underpinning, shoring, bulk excavation, and soil retention. That work will proceed through October.


July 2009:  Managing demolition dust

Here we see the process by which dust is managed throughout the demolition process. First, a fire hose douses the entire site with water. Then a continuous spray is directed at the shear machine (lower left) that snaps apart the structure piece by piece. This is the only phase of the project where the project team hopes for rain!


June 2009:  Demolition

A view from above shows the top of steel towers that support the party-wall and historic façade at 1610 Locust Street. Bulk demolition--a major milestone in the project--commenced in early June. Piece by piece, heavy machinery removes the interiors of the two historic properties and levels the old Locust Club during an eight-week process.


May 2009:  Facade stabilization

The construction of three steel towers to brace the party-walls and stabilize the historic facades at 1610 and 1618 Locust Street concluded in May. With permits to commence bulk demolition secure, the project is ahead of schedule. Meanwhile, the project team puts the finishing touches on the design documents, making aesthetic decisions on furniture, fixtures, and equipment.


April 2009:  Groundbreaking

The Honorable Dwight Evans, Gerry Lenfest, Marguerite Lenfest, and Roberto Díaz ceremonially break ground for Lenfest Hall, 1610-1618 Locust Street, on April 27, 2009.


March 2009:  Preconstruction activities

In March the main activity at the site included bracing the party-walls and stabilizing the historic façades at 1610 and 1618 Locust Street. Underpinning was installed at these two locations while the necessary steel was fabricated and delivered. The doors and windows were removed and wood blocking was built to support the framework. Above: A team of contractors is lifts a steel beam into place during the construction of massive support towers which will become more visible from the street during bulk demolition.