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A Presidential Address

(April 2017) posted on Mon Apr 24, 2017

Cima Network's monument transforms an iconic Philadelphia property

By Steve Aust

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In 1951, Presidential City opened as Philadelphia’s first residential high-rise. John McShain, a leading contractor in the construction of the Pentagon, Jefferson Memorial and other landmarks in our nation’s capital, developed the property.

Post Brothers bought the property in 2012 and soon embarked on a $100 million renovation. They hired Coscia Moos (Philadelphia) as the property’s architect. Coscia Moos developed the signage design intent, which features an obelisk atop a monument base. “The design concept turns the traditional idea of the obelisk on its head,” firm principal Sergio Coscia said. “The outer, dark-metal skin appears to be falling from the white, central core, creating a powerful contrast.”

Cima Network installed the “skin” that covers the 60-ft.-tall obelisk, and fabricated the 8 x 12-ft. illuminated sign at the obelisk’s base, as well as a 35-ft.-wide cantilevered monument sign on the other end of the property.

Working with Post Brothers and Coscia Moos, Cima Network’s initial site survey influenced the sign’s positioning and orientation for maximum visual impact. The original design called for three-sided construction, but a collaborative revision incorporated a fourth obelisk side, which enhanced the lighting design and placement.

The original design intent called for an 80-ft.-tall obelisk, but it was ultimately scaled down to 60 ft. Even with this revision, the obelisk delivers a powerful environmental statement.

After receiving Coscia Moos’ concept, Cima Network developed all project elements within SketchUp, which enabled the customer to see how all elements interact, as well as the structural seams’ finish. To create a drawing package, senior technical designer Tom Kay used CorelDRAW GraphicsSuite X7 to highlight all design elements. To prepare cut files for the router table, Cima Network used Gerber Omega® 6.5 and EnRoute® 4 3D-design software.

We developed the project’s manufacturing drawings, and contracted R.H. Benedix Contracting (Frazer, PA) to fabricate the signs’ support structures. Benedix MIG-welded the assembly with varying steel-angle gauges. It incorporated metal that’s 3/8 in. thick for the base, 5/16 in. thick for its middle and ¼ in. for the top portion.

The tilted obelisk’s compact footprint required careful consideration of the foundation and ample structure strength. Anchor bolts connected the obelisk to a rectangular steel core bolted to an aluminum cage and gave the obelisk its shape.


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