The structure is the first phase of a two-phase, Easton City Hall and Transportation Center public development project located in downtown Easton, an Eastern Pennsylvania town of 27,000. The garage will support the second phase of the project, which will include the city of Easton’s new City Hall building, retail facilities, and a public transportation center. Spillman Farmer designed the $31-million, 183,800-square-foot mixed-use complex.
The entire complex is a part of the city of Easton’s economic revitalization program. “This garage is the latest in the series of urban development projects that are making our city safer, more beautiful, and more successful. We are looking forward to the economic opportunities a new City Hall complex will bring to Easton,” Easton Mayor Salvatore Panto, Jr. said. “We are also excited to have Spillman Farmer on board, as they have designed many successful urban development projects in Easton, such as the Sigal Museum and the Lafayette College Arts Plaza.”
Spillman Farmer Design Principal Joseph N. Biondo, AIA explained that the success of the project’s design is a result of integrated planning efforts by the design and consultant team, the City of Easton, the Easton Planning Department, the Redevelopment Authority of Easton, the Historic District Commission of Easton, The Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANta), and Trans-Bridge Lines. “The Lehigh Valley has unique opportunities for historical value and new growth to exist side by side, providing the kind of infrastructure, built environment, and social context that will continue to draw people to our area. These challenges require the kind of steadfast leadership that has served our region for generations,” Biondo said.
One of the goals for the project’s design was to reflect the rich history of the city. During the Revolutionary War, Easton was one of the first three places where the Declaration of Independence was publicly read. Throughout the Industrial Revolution, Easton served as a major transportation hub; the canal, the rivers, and the railroads all converged at this location, which transported coal, steel, and other materials to other states.
“The project will serve as a regional gateway at the confluence of Delaware River and the Lehigh Canal. When designing the project, Spillman Farmer focused on restoring the site to its modern-day equivalent,” Biondo explained. “The city’s history of transportation and government has come full circle, and the site’s design will represent that milestone. The materials and design will reflect the creative, innovative, intellectual, cultural, and technological history that defines the region.”
The primary material for the entire complex is precast concrete. The cement panels are textured using irregular striations to resemble the effect of a river cutting through a canyon. “We chose concrete because this material, too, has come full circle and is expressive of our architectural intent,” Spillman Farmer Project Architect Michael J. Metzger, AIA, LEED AP explained. “Northampton County is the birthplace of Portland cement, an element that helped propel our region’s past successes. But, cement has also become a high-tech building material that delivers in incredible gains – in construction time, visual expression, and user experience.”