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Independence Mall Cafe

Erdy McHenry Architecture LLC

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Grace, Erdy McHenry Architecture

Project Name

Independence Mall Cafe


Independence Mall

6th and Market Streets


Project Status


Year Completed



1,350 sq. feet

Construction Cost



Independence Visitors Center Corporation

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Project Description

As conceived in the master plan, the introduction of food service to Independence Mall was envisioned as a series of kiosks similar to Bryant Park in New York. At the outset of this project the executive director of Independence Visitor Center Corporation (IVCC) charged the design team with coming up with a solution suitable for the sacred ground of Independence Mall but that would not require a subsidized operation.

The Independence Mall Cafe is a seasonal open-air pavilion that provides thru-views between Independence Mall and the surrounding city. As a piece of public architecture, the cafe strives to bring forth the essence of PLACE and to be a vehicle for the strengthening of the relationship of the Mall’s inhabitants to their immediate urban context.

Conceived of as a PLACE as opposed to a building, the cafe does not wish to express superficial or cosmetic compatibility in form, color or material with the historically significant buildings on the highly charged site. Rather, the cafe abandons symbolic representation. It respects the Mall by optimistically confirming the continuity of the future and present with the past by a fresh modern reinterpretation.

Simple materials are detailed minimally and quietly. Wood as a simple wrapper warmly defines the public areas. Glass walls fold away allowing flexibility and the conveyance of openness.

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