Georgia Tech students help hatch square deal for Philly’s ‘Roundhouse’

Plenty of Philadelphians have strong opinions about the “Roundhouse” — the building at 7th and Race streets that serves as police headquarters. Now some Georgia Tech students are brainstorming what to do with it if police move to new digs in West Philly. 

Georgia Institute of Technology professor Jack Pyburn said it’s exciting that people in Philadelphia are discussing a building he says is important for architectural and construction reasons. He hopes his students’ work will help find a productive reuse for the building, once the police move out.

“One group is exploring its use as an office.  Where there would be an addition in the rear and the front would be used for things like training, day-care center, cafe, a range of functions that would work well in that building,” he said. “Then to have a more traditionally functional office space in the back.”

Pyburn said other students are looking at a different kind of second life for the structure.  “The other group is looking at housing, with the Roundhouse being a community center kind of function, where the community and the housing portion could interact,” he said.

Pyburn’s students recently visited the building and met with University of Pennsylvania students who are also studying it.  He said there are a lot of similarities between the plans hatching at the two universities. 

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