Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

Radio (Commercial)

WCAU Building, 2016

color photo of the WCAU Building in the 1600 block of Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, in February 2016.

Completed in 1931 by the architects Gabriel Roth and Harry Sternfeld, the WCAU building was the country’s first structure built specifically for a radio station.

Completed in 1931 by the architects Gabriel Roth and Harry Sternfeld, the WCAU building was the country’s first structure built specifically for a radio station. Fittingly for the home of what was a relatively new communication medium at the time, the building’s Art Deco design expressed a sense of technological virtuosity through its nontraditional forms and materials.

The WCAU Building, long owned by the Art Institute of Philadelphia, was purchased in 2015 by Pearl Properties, which said it planned to rent three of the building’s lower stories to Gap Inc. for a new Old Navy store. This photograph of the building at 1618-22 Chestnut Street is from February 2016. (Photograph by Donald D. Groff for The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia)

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