Central atrium of Curtis Center.

Central atrium of Curtis Center.

The Curtis Center was built in 1910, by publishing magnate Cyrus Curtis. His publishing empire included The Saturday Evening Post and Ladies’ Home Journal.

The almost one-million-square-foot building was a self-contained magazine factory. The entire process of creating a magazine – from writing and illustration to printing – took place in this building that covers an entire city block. The Curtis Center even had its own electrical generators, since public electricity was too unreliable.

By the 1980s the building had deteriorated. A real estate developer decided to revitalize it, converting the central exterior space into a covered atrium with a decorative marble floor and fountain.

Boardroom of Brown & Brown of Pennsylvania, LP.

Boardroom of Brown & Brown of Pennsylvania, LP.

Today, the building combines a classic look with modern functionality. It is home to ergonomic office chairs in wood-paneled conference rooms, and MacBooks underneath hanging chandeliers. I was particularly struck by the historic wood pediment framing the doorway to one of the current tenants, the digital brand management company Brand.com.

Historic wood pediment frames the doorway to the digital firm Brand.com.

Historic wood pediment frames the doorway to the digital firm Brand.com.

When the Curtis Center was renovated in 1987, I documented the renovation for the developer. Last month the building was put on the market, and I was commissioned to document it for CB Richard Ellis, the commercial real estate broker.

The Curtis Center is twelve stories high and across the street from historic Independence Hall (its steeple is on the right side of this photo).

The Curtis Center is twelve stories high and across the street from historic Independence Hall (its steeple is on the right side of this photo).

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