Terrain Vague: The Philadelphia Granary, 2014

with Matthew Foley

Arts Club of Washington Student Architecture Competition, First Place, PitcritModelo








The Philadelphia Granary was once a vital urban agricultural repository, providing the city adequate storage solutions for grains.  New distribution methods led to the abandonment of the facility in the 1950s. This proposal seeks to re-establish the warehouse as a museum of industrial art and reaffirm its connection to the established art district in the area. The granary contains seventy-eight elevated square silos as well as a loading dock beneath. With little need for human habitation, the building lacks sufficient vertical circulation, resulting in large islands of unreachable program within the building, particularly areas above and within the silos. How can vertical circulation be provided for a building that was never intended to require such a thing?



As a solution, an independent circulation core is built on the edge of the site and connects to the granary through bridges on each floor. The approach to circulation paths is simplified: visitors accent and descend in the removed core, while penetrating and moving through galleries within the existing structure.


Rather than treating the silos as unusable program, the seventy-eight containers are considered as a solid mass, allowing voids to be carved out for various types of galleries. Light wells pierce through to the roof of the museum, letting natural light to flood into gallery spaces. Study models clarified ideas about path, space, and light within the silos.