Philadelphia Skyline Colors – New App Lets Residents Control Liberty Place Lighting

An update added animation to the crown of One Liberty Place, now equipped with easily adjustable LEDs.

Matk Henninger / Imagic Digital

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Philadelphia’s most iconic skyline tower began dancing in lively colors for the first time this spring, thanks to improved lighting. Now, One Liberty Place offers residents the opportunity to control the screen themselves.

It took less than a year to renovate the zigzag crown lighting, according to building manager Stewart Brown.

The new LED display, made up of 72 sections of 20 feet each, was installed by two Philadelphia-based restoration and construction companies, Ascent and MJ Settelen. Its on / off switch relies on solar power, with bulbs that turn on at dusk and turn off at dawn, and the various colors and animations they display are easy to program.

The eagles theme in One Liberty
Matk Henninger / Imagic Digital

TO new app called My Liberty Lights allows ordinary people to program a 5 minute interval for which they choose custom colors and animations, and it displays in the actual building. At this point, you need an invite to test it.

Preset templates include a cascading rainbow or one in the colors of Eagles. Are you feeling patriotic? There is a configuration of red, white, and blue. Do you want Christmas in August? Choose red and green.

The interface is easy to use and you will receive an email alert to remind you when the screen is about to start its schedule. Watch live if you have a view of the tower, or via two web cameras linked from the page.

You can be one of the first to access the application by participating in the contest on the building’s Instagram account, which ends on Friday, August 20. Each person who has access can invite two friends, so that the fun extends.

When it was built in the late 1980s, One Liberty Place was the first skyscraper to break the informal agreement not to build taller than William Penn’s hat atop City Hall. It was developer Willard G. Rouse III who made the then controversial move, and when the needle was first lit, some assumed the chevron lights were shaped like a “W” after their name.

The skyscraper went through some ownership changes and is now owned by Chicago-based Metropolis Investment Holdings and managed by real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield.

Sister Tower Two Liberty is owned and run by a totally different group, but the twin buildings often coordinate in color of the crown lights, along with other accessories from the horizon. They could be changed on demand (from visiting groups hosting conferences, for example) or set themes that support sports teams bound for the playoffs or celebrating the holidays.

Until this spring, those lights were static. The latest update to One Liberty added animation and the ability to have multiple colors in a line of bulbs. That opened the door to rolling rainbow displays or other mind-blowing patterns.

The new lighting is fun, but it wasn’t the main reason for the overhaul, according to the building’s principal, Brown.

One Liberty is LEED-Gold certified and Energy Star rated, and replacing all lighting with LEDs helped achieve that goal.

“We are extremely committed to sustainability,” Brown said in a statement, “and we wanted to make sure that when we launched My Liberty Lights, we were using the most efficient lighting and technology possible.”

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