Description

Located in the very core of Philadelphia's waterfront development area, Greisler Brothers Meats Building was purchased by M. J. Asbell Associates in 1987 for conversion into a multi-purpose complex housing the Asbell offices, a ground-floor restaurant, and speculative office space. In keeping with its position along the river and the maritime interests of its owner, the converted Asbell Building exudes a distinctly nautical theme sporting a rooftop deck with thin metal handrails, "portholes," and a rounded corner entrance.

Composed of a two-story meat-processing plant and a one-story garage, the 70-year-old structure posed itneresting challengs to the design team. Not least among them was the need to resolve - both in plan and elevation - inherent differences between the floor and ceiling heights of the two adjacent buildings. Richard M. Cole & Associates stripped away the existing facade and established an entirely new and highly colorful wall and fenestration system that extends beyond the building's rooftop to mask the discepancies.

Also at issue was the need to modulate and brighten the building's dark interior. Exposed brick walls, generous interior and exterior windows, wood details, a three-dimensional ceiling system, and a handsome color palette meet this objective.

Finally, Richard M. Cole & Associates, seeking to create an elegant ambiance for the restaurant, called for long windows that punctuate the base in even rhythms, as well as a quiet, stepped garden on the building's southern side.