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Urban Delivers Union League’s Heritage Center
Publication Date
June 25th 2011

 The Union League of Philadelphia recently held opening ceremonies for its new 9,200-square-foot Heritage Center. The project involved transforming the ground floor of the Union League Building from lounge and social areas to house collections of the former Civil War Library and Museum, as well as Class A Museum Archival Storage, work areas, and office space for the staff.


The Union League is housed in a classic French Renaissance-style building that occupies an entire city block on Broad Street in Center City Philadelphia. The brick and brownstone building has a traditional interior of wood, marble, and leather with displays of numerous paintings and artifacts. The building, which dates from 1865, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Urban’s MEP Division worked with Atkin Olshin Shade Architects to design the project to include selective demolition and restoration of several historic elements of the space. The highly ornate nature of the restoration required careful, detailed work and team coordination to conceal the modern components of the engineered systems.


The new mechanical systems are designed to maintain a museum-level environment in the 146-year-old Union League Building without impacting the historic exterior façade.


The project features:

  • Video surveillance system with interior and exterior cameras networked with a video intercom and controlled access system;
  • Adjustable/dimmable/programmable display lighting;
  • Programmable room lighting systems with presets;
  • Variable air volume central heating/air conditioning with individual room control; and
  • Archive storage room with ultraviolet shielded lighting, temperature/humidity control, and room perimeter moisture detection.


The Heritage Center Project is part of a larger master plan effort that is scheduled for completion in 2013, in time for the building’s 150th anniversary celebration.