Still Imagining the Parkway Green2015: Managing Equity and Opportunity Writing the High Performance Guidelines Natural Vs. Manmade SALVATION ARMY KROC CENTER NATURE INN AT BALD EAGLE STATE PARK
Platinum is the new green... When it comes to LEED certification, every point counts. Did you know that, under the LEED-EBOM system, you can pursue a Sustainable Sites credit point to “Protect and Restore Open Habitat” by partnering with Natural Lands Trust? You can choose to contribute toward land acquisition or habitat restoration and management. Natural Lands Trust is the region’s largest and most comprehensive conservation organization. For nearly 60 years, we’ve been working to save and steward the region’s open space. Contact David Steckel to learn more about how you can support our mission while earning LEED credit: firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-353-5587 ext. 315.
Natural Lands Trust www.natlands.org
Natural Lands Trust’s Gwynedd Wildlife Preserve, Montgomery County PA
www.keasthood.com 601 Walnut Street, Suite 450W Philadelphia, PA 19106 215.625.0099
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A tradition of insightful engineering and exceptional service since 1953.
New Construction • Renovation • Addition • Adaptive Reuse • Historic Preservation • Masonry Stabilization • Structural Intervention
contents extending landscape In this issue of CONTEXT, we examine the concept of landscape in its broadest sense: from the final realization of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, to what Philadelphia could learn from the implementation of New York’s High Performance Guidelines.
cover photo COURTESY: NATURAL LANDS TRUST
10 Still Imagining the Parkway New projects on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway offer answers to the question, “What should the Parkway look like?” while offering a chance to remember Jacques Gréber’s vision. by David B. brownlee
16 Green2015: Managing Equity and Opportunity In an effort to create 500 new acres of “greened public space” by 2015, Green2015 provides a blueprint for access to open space where it is most needed and difficult to do so. by andrew goodman
22 Writing the High Performance Guidelines New York City embarked upon the complex process of creating a manual - the first of its kind in the nation - to help parks become more sustainable. What did it take to make it happen? What can Philadelphia learn from the process? by John HAAK, AICP
26 Natural Vs. Manmade
The issue of open space is one with which many communities grapple, in both urban and rural areas. The concerns are very different, however, if the open space is vacant land in the city or green space in the suburbs. by Todd Woodward, Kirsten Werner, and Jill Feldstein
5 EL editors’ letter 6 UC up close Drew Becher rethinks urban space with a green thumb
8 RE Review
44 NB NOTEBOOK
Leverage: Strengthening Neighborhoods Through Design
32 DP design profiles Salvation Army Kroc Center. Nature Inn at Bald Eagle State Park. SteelStacks. Anne D’Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden and Parking Facility. Master Plan for Haverford College
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CONTEXT The Journal of AIA Philadelphia CONTEXT Staff Managing Editor Dominic Mercier Contributors David Brownlee, Tavis Dockwiller, Jill Feldstein, Andrew Goodman, Laura Kicey, Natalie Hope McDonald, Harris Steinberg, Kirsten Werner Circulation Gary Yetter Art Director Dominic Mercier Layout and Design Dominic Mercier Publisher AIA Philadelphia CONTEXT Editorial Board Harris M. Steinberg, FAIA – Chair Penn Praxis David Brownlee, Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania Steven Conn Ph.D. Ohio State University Susan Miller Davis, AIA Sally Harrison, AIA Temple University Hilary Jay Timothy A. Kerner, AIA Terra Studio Stephen P. Mullin Econsult Corporation Michael Nairn University of Pennsylvania Rachel Simmons Schade, AIA Schade and Bolender Architects Anthony P. Sorrentino University of Pennsylvania Todd Woodward, AIA SMP Architects AIA Philadelphia Board of Directors Julie Hoffman, AIA President Keith C.H. Mock, AIA President-Elect Jim Rowe, AIA Treasurer
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Mario Zacharjasz, AIA Past President Peter C. Archer, AIA Director Sonja Bijelic, AIA Director Antonio Fiol-Silva, FAIA, LEED AP Director John C. Gerbner, AIA, LEED AP Director Robert T. Hsu, AIA Director Mark A. Kocent, AIA, AICP Director Joseph H. Powell, AIA Director
From the President “Landscape is an attractive, important, and ambiguous term [that] encompasses …” - Donald Meinig “Landscapes are culture before they are nature ...” - Simon Schama “I kept asking myself what it would take to make this better?” Drew Becher Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Fellow Inhabitors of the ever
Denise E. Thompson, AIA, LEED AP Director
Dan Bosin, AIA AIA Pennsylvania Director
fecund exuberance to our industrious bustle. Much of them are
Robert C. Kelly, AIA AIA Pennsylvania Director
take them, and their caretakers, for granted. The contributors
Elizabeth C. Masters, AIA AIA Pennsylvania Director
Our city and region are permeated by landscapes that add so seamlessly integrated into our daily routine that we often to this edition of CONTEXT, though, have been taking nothing for granted as they examine, exhort, and empower our pas-
Michael Skolnick, AIA AIA Pennsylvania Director
sions in service to our urban and suburban landscapes. They are
Paul Avazier, Assoc. AIA Associate Director
our extraordinary cultural legacies through collaboration and
David Thornburgh Public Member John Claypool Executive Director Editorial and Project Submissions Editorial and project submissions are accepted on a rolling basis. Contact the editor at email@example.com. For advertising and subscription information call AIA Philadelphia at 215.569.3186. The opinions expressed in this journal or the representations made by advertisers, including copyrights and warranties, are not those of the editorial staff, publisher, AIA Philadelphia, or AIA Philadelphia’s Board of Directors. Copyright 2011 AIA Philadelphia. All rights are reserved. Reproduction in part or whole without written permission is strictly prohibited. Postmaster: send change of address to AIA Philadelphia, 1218 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107.
champions, looking for effective ways to continually improve studied serendipity. Sometimes it takes a little distance to get the true lay of the land, and other times it is necessary to occupy a place to plumb its underlying culture. Most of the time we simply need to pay attention. Pay attention to this issue of CONTEXT. As with all landscapes, cultural and literary, there are treasures to be found here for those who linger and look with the idea of discovering ways to make things better. Warm regards, Julie E. Hoffman, AIA 2011 AIA Philadelphia Chapter President
Broadly Defined PHILADELPHIA IS FORTUNATE to have many excellent landscape architects producing quality design and planning work on projects near and far. We – that is, architects and members of AIA Philadelphia – and our projects benefit greatly from collaborations with landscape architects. CONTEXT, the title of our journal, and “landscape” are in many ways synonymous, so we have probably been remiss by not addressing the subject sooner. As architects, we should strive to understand the landscape in which we work, whether that landscape is urban, rural, or somewhere in between. When we have the opportunity to do so, we should take it to design buildings and landscapes together. With this issue of CONTEXT, we address broad issues of our landscape in a variety of ways, including: a review of the Community Design Collaborative’s publication Leverage, a closer look at all the changes happening on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and an introduction to the High Performance Landscape Guidelines, compiled in New York City but with Philadelphia well represented among the authors. The Design Profiles offer several examples of built projects that engage with the landscape. We hope that this issue prompts you to look around at the landscape, broadly defined, both as you travel through it and as you collaborate on design projects set within it.
Todd Woodward, AIA Guest Editor
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Drew Becher The president of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society rethinks urban space with a very green thumb.
By Natalie Hope McDonald He must have walked past the empty lot at 20th and Market streets dozens of times. After he became the 36th president of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society last summer, Drew Becher decided to do something about it. The vast space – in the shadow of otherwise impressive examples of steel and glass high rises – was overgrown with weeds and a makeshift fence that did a good job of keeping people out (and windswept trash in) on this busy Center City corridor. So Becher took on the task of figuring out how the unsightly corner could be transformed into a working example of urban horticulture. “I kept asking myself what it would take to make this better,” says Becher. It turns out the question answered itself in many ways, by not only bringing a green space to the concrete jungle, but also making the lot much more appealing for its new owners who were still deciding its fate after almost 20 years of dormancy. After a lengthy investigation into who owned the property, and later, who would buy it, Becher proposed Center City’s first Pop-Up Garden. It would become the first major project under the new president’s belt, and one that would demonstrate to the 80,000 or so Philadelphians who walk by every day the importance green space, as well context | FA/WI2011 | 6
PHOTO: LAURA KICEY
as locally grown foods that are now being used in popular restaurants throughout the community. “It brought a face to the community garden in Center City,” he says, citing the hundreds of gardens that are already flourishing in neighborhoods as far flung as Spring Garden, Passyunk, and West Philadelphia. “It’s great when you come in new to an organization and there are no strings attached,” says Becher, an Ohio native who spent much of his career in Chicago, Washington D.C., and New York before relocating with Eric, his partner of 17 years, to Philadelphia. “I really enjoy it here,” he says, describing himself as a “tourist” in this new town. And it’s not a job he takes lightly. With his eye on PHS’ legacy, Becher has set his sights on several important new projects as president, including a major refocus on design, horticulture, healthy communities, and sustainability. “The things that we want to do is inspire people to build and sustain,” says Becher, who’s responsible for helping Chicago completely revamp its parks and building the now-famous Millennium Park, a popular tourist destination in the heart of The Magnificent Mile. In Philadelphia, Becher is looking to the city’s horticultural past to figure out how best to cultivate its future. “We want to be the leader in inspiring the independent gardener,” he explains. So he’s considering how the region looks and what it eats. “It’s about re-teaching people how to eat,” he says. “We’ve divorced ourselves from food for so many generations. If you ask people on the street when a strawberry’s in season, they don’t know. We just completely lost the seasonality and the whole concept of where our food comes from.” For PHS, City Harvest is one way to change that.
“City Harvest is really using our community gardens to introduce new vegetables and heirloom seeds,” Becher says, “and it’s become a hugely successful program for us.” About 3,000 garden tenders help maintain community gardens throughout Philadelphia, and about 500 of those help with City Harvest alone. “Working with SHARE, so far we’ve raised over 100,000 pounds of fresh produce,” says Becher, who admits he took an early interest in agriculture ever since he was a young boy in the Midwest tasting his first homegrown tomato. “I always thought landscaping was important,” says Becher, “and that the way things looked made people feel better about their surroundings. My love for plants came from my grandmother.” He tells the story of how she raised many of her own vegetables, including those lush, red tomatoes that figure into his childhood memories. Of course, the lure of city life would eventually lead the small town boy to Cincinnati. And from there, he accepted a job with the mayor’s office in Chicago. “I worked for 12 years and revamped the city,” he says. “You can replace 10 million sewer lines – and that’s important – but we also have to consider what we put on top of it when we’re done. Landscape is pretty cheap compared to granite curbs.” In Philly, Becher says the Comcast Center has done a good job animating what could be “a scary, windswept plaza” with green walls and a restaurant, as well as Talulah’s Garden in Washington Square. “It’s one of those places that’s unexpected but yet it fits,” he says. The city’s own rich horticultural history dates back to its earliest days - from Bartram and Longwood Gardens to Chanticleer. “This is a city Ben Franklin laid out with five squares. It’s in the DNA here,” says Becher. “The city is nestled in thousands of acres of the Fairmount Park system. Every
time I turn the corner, it takes my breath away. And I really want to push that and have people realize and understand the history here.” He also wants to modernize the city’s green space. And one place that’s already begun is in Logan Square and at the Rodin Museum where new landscape designs punctuate the Parkway. Enormous tanks have also been placed underground to collect rainwater that’s vital for the sites’ sustainability. So what’s in a city park anyway? “A park can be modern and comfortable and still push the bar on design,” says Becher, who also has his sights on the industrial, sometimes neglected railroad beds throughout North Philly. “I would love to be able to one day create special horticulture on some of the Amtrak rideways,” he explains. “This is a problem in all of the cities I’ve worked in.” It was an issue he addressed in New York City just two years ago where he worked with Bette Midler (yes, that Bette Midler) on the New York Restoration Project. Under his lead as executive director, the organization helped plant thousands of trees throughout the city. “Trees are probably one of the most important components of the urban landscape,” says Becher, citing a study from the University of Washington that suggests retail sales can increase based on the number of trees on a city street. “Trees are one of the great symbols,” he adds, “whether you like them for how they look or how they clean the environment.” Natalie Hope McDonald is a writer in Philadelphia who is the editor of G Philly. Her work has also appeared in Newsweek, GRID and The Advocate, among many other publications.
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Leverage: Strengthening Neighborhoods Through Design LEVERAGE STRENGTHENING NEIGHBORHOODS THROUGH DESIGN
IS CHANGING THE URBAN LANDSCAPE OF PHILADELPHIA
COMMUNITY DESIGN COLLABORATIVE
EDITED BY BETH MILLER AND TODD WOODWARD
Leverage: Strengthening Neighborhoods Through Design Edited by Beth Miller and Todd Woodward Available at the AIA Bookstore + Design Center By Harris Steinberg, FAIA Today’s community design movement draws upon roots that run deep within the social and civic turmoil of the 1960s – an age of accelerated awareness of social inequities, intense media scrutiny and rampant changes in our social and political systems – an era not unlike our own. And yet, if we were to dig deeper, one could argue that the movement’s roots stretch back further to the origins of the housing reform movement in New York in the 1840s and are woven through the efforts of architects and plancontext | FA/WI2011 | 8
ners like Lou Kahn during the Great Depression who struggled to define socially responsible architecture. Certainly, we can point to Jane Jacobs’ now-classic battle in the 1950s to preserve her Washington Square community in New York from the temptations of uber-builder Robert Moses as a wellspring that unleashed the generational reverberations of a movement that still resonates. Indeed, the wealth of design centers across the country today and the international prominence of organizations such as Architecture for Humanity are testaments to the enduring strength of the values of the community-based design movement. In Philadelphia, the Community Design Collaborative continues the work of this important American tradition. For the past 20 years, the Collaborative has worked on more than 500 community-based design
projects in and around Philadelphia – literally helping to rebuild neighborhoods from the grassroots up. To accomplish these projects, the Collaborative brings together pro bono teams of design and allied professionals in concert with community groups to help spark neighborhood revitalization projects. The Collaborative traces its roots to the creation of Philadelphia Architect’s Workshop, established in 1968 as a response to the swirling social issues of those times and to the subsequent 1990 Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team (R/UDAT) put together by the national American Institute of Architects to study the viability of revitalizing the area around Broad Street and Lehigh Avenue in North Philadelphia. Leverage: Strengthening Neighborhoods Through Design has been self-published by the Collaborative on the occasion of its 20th anniversary. The publication places the Collaborative within today’s larger national and international community-based design movements and demonstrates the impact that the Collaborative has had locally over the past two decades. With a series of essays and interview transcriptions interspersed with write-ups of notable representative projects, Leverage looks both retrospectively and prospectively simultaneously. It argues for an ongoing commitment by the local design and planning professionals and academics to the importance of community design while aiming to capture Philadelphia’s “planning moment” – today’s interest and support of planning by the Nutter Administration – as a springboard for the Collaborative’s future. The writings range from Don Matzkin’s foreword that firmly establishes the origins of the Collaborative in the white-hot social heat of the 1960s to Brian Phillips’ and Todd Woodward’s piece that thoughtfully looks towards the next generation of projects for socially responsible architects. Throughout, the voices of Philadelphia’s former sustain-
ability director Mark Alan Hughes, Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger, and the National Endowment for the Arts former director of design Maurice Cox are juxtaposed with the thoughts of Jess Zimbabwe of the Urban Land Institute’s Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership in Land Use and Sally Harrison, a founding member of the Collaborative – all bookended with contributions by executive
By John Hayes, Sr.
director Beth Miller. In total, these essays contribute to our understanding of the role that the Collaborative plays in Philadelphia’s rich local built environment ecosystem to how the Collaborative is viewed on the national level. It’s clear that the Collaborative has played and will continue to play an important role in not only suturing the social and physical
fabric of Philadelphia but also in shaping our debate about the built world. From its early days - which were focused largely on small scale, site-specific community challenges such as housing, parks and commercial corridors - to the Infill Philadelphia series of the past five years - which has seen the Collaborative broaden its focus to tackle larger systemic issues such as food access and industrial renewal – Leverage traces the evolution of a movement, its players and its impact on the lives of Philadelphia, her institutions, and her citizens. Today, while nationwide protests respond to the inequities of our time, it is important to ensure that design and designers stay central to the debate about the future of our cities and our communities. As we have seen, this need for architects and design professionals to get involved in the pressing issues of our time is not new. Indeed, in Building Community: A new future for architecture education and practice, a 1996 special report of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Ernest L. Boyer and Lee D. Mitgang wrote that “perhaps never in history have the talents, skills, the board vision and the ideals of the architecture professional been more urgently needed.” Leverage demonstrates that Philadelphia’s Community Design Collaborative is part of a long and distinguished tradition of community-based design – both locally and nationally. As it sets its sights on the future, Leverage also shows that the Collaborative is well positioned to continue to be at the fulcrum of civic need and professional expertise – leveraging design assistance for an expanding voice in shaping the quality of our lives. Harris Steinberg, FAIA, is the executive director of PennPraxis and the chair of AIA Philadelphia’s editorial committee, which produces CONTEXT.
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DRAWING COURTESY: © Philadelphia Museum of Art, Archives 90.9a, b
ABOVE: Jacques Gréber’s plan for the Parkway, circa 1919.
STILL IMAGINING By David B. Brownlee
“What should the Parkway look like?” is a question that Philadelphians have been asking themselves almost continuously since the 1870s, when it was first proposed to connect Center City and Fairmount Park with a boulevard. Today, as several projects that provide powerful new replies to that question are being completed, it is worth remembering the memorable answer created by the French landscape architect and city planner Jacques Gréber in the fall of 1917. At a time when the attention of many Frenchmen and Americans was focused on World War I, the Fairmount Park Commission hired him to help them decide what should be done with the vast tract of land that demolition was clearing, which stretched from City Hall all the way to the abandoned reservoir on Fairmount that was slated to be the site for a new art museum. First presented publically in January 1918 and refined and augmented over the next two years, Gréber’s plans showed what he called “a broad wedge of greenery and pure air” that was driven “right into the heart of the urban agglomeration.” The general configuration of the roadway itself had, of course, already been established by the almost completed demolitions, so context | FA/WI2011 | 10
THE PARKWAY Gréber lavished attention on the landscape details, especially the embroidery of intimate gardens with which he proposed to border the great triple avenue. These resembled the formal gardens that he had been creating for wealthy Americans, including Philadelphia’s Wideners and Stotesburys. However, although Gréber’s Parkway plans received approval from the Art Jury (the city’s design review committee) and support from the Fairmount Park Art Association, none of this detail was formally adopted. While allées of oak trees - dedicated as a memorial to those killed in the Great War - were planted from Fairmount to Logan Circle, for almost a decade nothing was done to realize the smaller gardens that Gréber had imagined as their counterpoint. And then, by happy chance, in 1926 the art collector and movie theater mogul Jules Mastbaum came to Gréber to ask that he create a museum for the dozens of Rodin bronzes that he planned to give to the city. To design the building itself, Gréber enlisted the assistance of his countryman Paul Cret, established in Philadelphia since 1903 as the head of the architecture program at Penn. But he kept for himself the design of the formal garden of the museum, conceived as a setting for several of the major pieces of Rodin sculpture, and, although Mastbaum’s untimely death meant that there was no money to landscape the entire block, as Gréber had planned, within the fenced precinct in front of the museum he completed one fragment of his huge vision for the Parkway. After that, astonishingly, for almost eighty years nothing conse-
quential happened on the Parkway—although in the decades after World War II a few apartment buildings landed at its edges, and the Vine Street Expressway plunged beneath its surface. Meanwhile those pieces of Gréber’s vision that had been created in the 1920s suffered inevitable decay. Although the inner lines of street trees were replanted with a healthier mix of species in 1989, the curbs and sidewalks of the Parkway crumbled, and, increasingly, the automobiles of commuters came to hold sway. The great emptiness that Gréber had imagined would be filled with formal gardens and small buildings was left unimproved—or converted simply into baseball fields. The diminutive garden of the Rodin Museum was benignly allowed to become overgrown, and Rodin’s sculpture was moved indoors, starting with the Burghers of Calais in 1955. In a flash, in the course of the last year, it has become apparent that all of this is changing, and that a new answer has been given to the question of the Parkway - which turns out to be a variation on Gréber’s answer from 1917. This is thanks to a $20.7 million project funded by the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Knight Foundation, and the William Penn Foundation. The Philadelphia Museum of Art, which operates the Rodin Museum, has supplemented this funding to refurbish the museum’s inner garden and has also undertaken a $1.4 million restoration of the its façade, supported by the Dietrich Foundation and the city. The Rodin Museum garden reopened on July 14 (Bastille Day), and context | FA/WI2011 | 11
DRAWING COURTESY: Philadelphia PArks and recreation department
ABOVE: Gréber’s “Flower Beds Near the Crescent,” 1919. BELOW: Gréber’s “Bay Trees Avenue,” 1919. OPPOSITE PAGE: Gréber’s drawing for the Rodin Museum’s Garden, from 1928.
DRAWING COURTESY: Philadelphia PArks and recreation department
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as the leaves of autumn fell, the total replacement of all the sidewalks, curbs, and benches, and the narrowing of the roadway in the three blocks of the Parkway west of Logan Circle was completed. One of the most significant transformations of public space that Philadelphia has seen in a generation, this renewal of the Parkway has been long in the making. Championed by Paul Levy of the Center City District and Mark Focht of the Fairmount Park Commission (now Philadelphia Parks and Recreation), a new generation of master planning was begun by OLIN in 2003, leading to the development of design guidelines in 2005 by LRSLAstudio. LRSLA then received the commission for the Parkway west of Logan Circle, while OLIN was assigned the Rodin Museum garden and the adjacent landscape between 21st and 22nd streets. The just-completed work dovetails with the inaugural phase of the Parkway’s renewal, at Logan Circle (now fervently called Logan Square by many residents), where OLIN and Urban Engineers tamed the traffic and created a lush landscape of varied and changing colors from 2004 to 2007. That work was extended by LRSLA’s Aviator Park (west of the circle) in 2007 and will soon be joined by the reimagined Sister Cities Park (east of the circle) by DIGSAU and Studio Bryan Hanes, architects and landscape architects, respectively. Notable, too, is the fine new system of didactic signage installed all along the Parkway in 2007 under the auspices of the Center City District.
DRAWING COURTESY: Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Fairmount Park Art Association papers
With completion of the latest work, the Parkway renewal begins to feel like a transformation rather than an intervention. Mark Focht explains that the overall goal has been to “humanize the Parkway” making it kinder to the pedestrian, and also to “increase the quality of the public realm” with excellent design, first class materials, and a sustainable maintenance program. Julie Bush, the principal in charge of the project at LRSLAstudio, elaborates: “The ‘tricky’ part of the project for us was not only accommodating, but improving the space for all of the various users. The users included the daily users on bike, foot, and car, and also tourists new to the area, and all of the event users throughout the year.” The biggest physical change has been the narrowing of the two outer drives. Each has lost one lane of traffic and two feet of paving - and gained a bike lane. The two outer sidewalks have also been relocated further from the road, and the “islands” in the middle of the main roadway have been widened from six to eighteen feet. The alterations are small enough to go almost unnoticed, and they seem to cause no diminution of the Parkway’s ability to handle automobile traffic. Yet they are large enough to improve the situation substantially for walkers and cyclists. The biggest change may be psychological. Because one no longer trips over broken pavement, faces three multi-lane streams of cars when crossing from side to side, or despairs over the general disrepair of things, the Parkway’s distances, which have grown so large in our unhappy remembering of them, seem to shrink. On the face of it, the bulk of the project consists of the replacement of worn-out materials. But the palette has been tweaked. The LRSLA design guidelines, vetted through all the city’s review mechanisms, introduce Victorian-style iron and wood benches, granite curbs and sidewalk edges, and exposed pebble aggregate walkways, which are bordered in brick along the outermost sidewalks. The most striking difference between old and new materials is this addition of brick, which somewhat nonsensically brings the homey red of colonial Philadelphia out into the formal City Beautiful landscape of the Parkway, where all the architecture is limestone. (LRSLA’s guidelines will also govern the final two pieces of the Parkway project: the PennDOT-funded replacement of the decks over the Vine Street Expressway, for which LRSLA is the associated architect, and the 1600 and 1700 blocks, to be overseen by Cope Linder Architects.) Dead and diseased trees have been replaced within the scope of
work. In the outer rows, where there is now more hospitable earth between the curb and the footpath, about forty replacement linden trees have been planted, introducing some sub-species variation to increase disease resistance. On the two forty-two foot wide medians, the needed replanting has been done in the same the mixture of sweet gums, red maples, and red oaks that was established in the 1980s. While this part of the project can be characterized as a refreshing of Gréber’s landscape, north of the Parkway, OLIN principal Susan Weiler has been able both to refurbish Gréber’s overgrown Rodin Museum garden and to realize a consonant landscape plan for the entire block, at the scale that he had envisioned but not achieved. The details, of course, are different. The work restores the original character of the Rodin Museum’s fenced garden, which Gréber envisioned - like one of his French-style country house gardens - as a “frame” for the architecture. It also makes visible again the intended hierarchy between the overall Parkway and the small gardens along its sides. Weiler has explained, “Our goal in the design was to restore the symmetry of the formal French plan, but also to reunify the whole block as a Parkway garden, so what we have now achieved is a garden within a garden within a Parkway. We introduced more transparency throughout the site and accentuated the seasonality, so the garden is visually interesting all the time.” In practice, this means that the shading trees that had crowded in on the fenced garden from all sides—and grown up inside it--have been thinned. As in 1929, from outside, on the sidewalk, one can see and understand the entire ensemble, consisting of the museum, its garden, and the replica of the so-called “Meudon Gate” from Rodin’s own garden that serves as the entrance to the complex. The museum thus participates in the experience of the Parkway as whole, as is certainly desirable. In truth, one can see a bit more now than might be wished, but the perimeter bushes and deciduous trees - largely flowering - will soon fill in the awkward gaps. They will not, however, overwhelm the garden as they did until recently. The happiest added feature is the granting of access directly into the garden from its east side, by means of gates and a set of curvilinear pathways that weave across the lawns. These paths respect the “desire lines” that have been trod through the turf over the years and also establish a design vision for the whole of this long neglected terrain. context | FA/WI2011 | 13
rendering COURTESY: LRSLASTUDIO
ABOVE: A rendering of the Parkway after restoration. BELOW: The new Barnes Foundationâ€™s entrance garden.
rendering COURTESY: BARNES FOUNDATION
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PHOTO COURTESY: Philadelphia PArks and recreation department
Inside the Meudon gate, the openness of Gréber’s original design has been restored, although his gum-drop shaped boxwoods around the pool (which now look rather silly) have been replaced by a very low but continuous box hedge. As Weiler astutely analyzes the effect, one can “take it all in, but slowly,” while being gently guided through the architectural promenade that the original designers intended. A sequence of experiences “unfolds,” she says, as one passes through the gate, circles the pool, and then climbs up to the Gates of Hell, only to discover that the actual museum doors are tucked into the corners of the entrance loggia. The architectural materials of the garden have been carefully restored, including the gravel paving, and there has been a major reconstruction of the Meudon Gate and the museum’s masonry and roof. Unobtrusive but civilized handicapped access has been provided by means of a simple, gentle ramp and the opening of the side gates. The importance of this garden as a part of the museum will now be underscored by the return of the outdoor sculpture. Today the Burghers of Calais again stand on a low pedestal to the east of the building, as Cret and Gréber planned, and when the framing hemicycle of hornbeams fills in, stretching up to the height of the heroes’ heads, the effect should be perfect. The museum itself is closed this winter for a major, historically conscientious restoration of the galleries, and when it reopens Rodin’s Age of Bronze and Eve will return to the niches of the façade while Adam and Shade will be placed again in the side openings of the Meudon Gate. Entirely OLIN’s is the happy profusion of perennials that now brings changing colors to the garden. A swath of fragrant lavender circles the pool, through which will rise a succession of red, white, and blue tulips in March and April, followed by blue and white alliums in May and June. In the flowerbeds that lie between the upper and lower walkways, a swirl of perennials will greet the spring with light colors, deepening to blue and purple and then increasing in intensity to yellow and red as the seasons progress. While Gréber left no specifications for such floral displays, his crayon sketches and watercolor plans of flowerbeds offer silent approval. The restored Rodin Museum garden, a colorful counterpoint to the grander rhythms of the Parkway, both confirms the artistic merit of Gréber’s original vision and predicts the success of an entirely new
After renovation, the Parkway’s outer lanes were narrowed and a bike lane was added.
piece of landscape art that will debut in the spring of 2012: Laurie Olin’s entrance garden for the Barnes Foundation, now under construction in the block immediately to the east. On a site for which Gréber in 1919 had envisioned a walkway lined by potted bay trees, ending in a fountain, Olin has planned a long water table fountain, planted with lilies, flanked by lines of horse chestnuts. This garden is the first of three tree-lined walkways, of varied color and character, that will lead the visitor to the entrance of the Parkway’s newest institution, transporting her or him from the relative bustle of Logan Circle to the intense quiet of the galleries designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. Although the design vocabulary is based on the balanced asymmetries of modernism rather than the discovered axes of the Beaux-Arts, the Barnes garden, like that of the Rodin Museum, is a pathway of visual discovery and psychological refreshment, with an artistic adventure at its end. By next spring, with the opening of both the new Barnes Foundation and the restored Rodin Museum, it may be possible to say something similar about the Parkway as a whole. This response to the question about the nature of the Parkway begins to resemble Jacques Gréber’s proposal of almost a century ago, and this is a better answer than the recently proposed alternatives, which have involved giving up green space for residential development and struggled, sometimes with disruptive effects, to satisfy the unsatisfiable demand for parking. It’s also an answer that still leaves plenty of room for an open-air café somewhere between Logan Circle and the art museum. David Brownlee is a professor in the Department of the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania and Vice Chair of the Design Advocacy Group of Philadelphia context | FA/WI2011 | 15
The 202,000 Philadelphians who do not have access to public green space within a half-mile walk of their homes live primarily in the neighborhoods circled: South Philadelphia, West Philadelphia, North Philadelphia, Lower Northeast Philadelphia, and East and West Oak Lane.
MAP COURTESY: PENN PRAXIS context | FA/WI2011 | 16
EQUITY AND OPPORTUNITY By Andrew Goodman, AICP, LEED AP
Imagine your new boss wants you to start bringing in new business, something your company has not done in decades. However, you must do so while maintaining all of your existing responsibilities, merging two departments, and cutting your budget in the process. Oh, and he wants to see real results. Now. This was the challenge facing Parks Commissioner (now Deputy Mayor for Environmental and Community Resources) Mike DiBerardinis, who recently returned to Philadelphia after running the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for Ed Rendell in Harrisburg. It was a great time for DiBerardinis to return to the city he calls home with some exciting changes on tap, particularly the launch of Nutter’s Greenworks Philadelphia sustainability plan, which has numerous provisions on how to make Philadelphia “the greenest city in America.” One of these goals was to increase the number of Philadelphians who live within a half-mile walk of a park by creating 500 new acres of “greened public space” by 2015. The policy was clear: provide access to open space where it is most difficult to do so, where residents do not currently have it, and where it is most greatly needed. And that is where the roadmap ended. Greenworks did not come with an implementation plan, so DiBerardinis had to forge his own path. In doing so, DiBerardinis knew he had to be thoughtful, strategic, opportunistic … and quick. His first step was hiring PennPraxis, the nonprofit applied research arm of the Penn School of Design, to help devise a strategy, and the Green2015 process was born. Where to Begin? DiBerardinis and PennPraxis knew from the outset that in order to be successful, there were some important truths to recognize. There is no [new] money. Aside from a grant from the William Penn Foundation to hire PennPraxis, no funding was allocated for design, construction, or maintenance of new park space. Land is expensive. There was no land-grab or bond issue as part of Green2015. We need more than a patch of grass and a bench. A 21st century park must be a lush respite, provide recreation opportunities for children and adults, filter our first inch of stormwater, be a site for neighborhood events, spur neighborhood revitalization, and be a socializing element in the community. Today, our parks must work for us. Parks are not for the privileged few. It is in these tight economic times when residents need parks the most. Parks often serve context | FA/WI2011 | 17
PHoto COURTESY: PENN PRAXIS
ABOVE AND OPPOSITE PAGE: Asphalted and underused schoolyards can be found throughout the city, which presents an incredible opportunity to convert these sites into community assets with green amenities such as an outdoor running track, community garden, stormwater meadow that ties to the science curriculum, and an amphitheater for student performances. RIGHT: Relatively small adjustments such as rearranging programming to create space for a central green area, stormwater planters, and extensive tree canopy can create a much more useful and comfortable recreation center for neighborhood residents.
as a canvas for the local heroism that makes our city a better place to live. Green spaces mean different things to different people. Spaces can be green but not fully public accessible (like a community garden), or public but not green (like a playground), and we knew we needed to create spaces that were both. Each acre is not created equal. The main challenge in creating 500 acres of public green space lies in how land is parceled and managed in Philadelphia. Instead of creating two 250-acre parks or 5,000 rowhouse-sized parks, we needed to find ways to build green spaces large enough to benefit communities and locate them in as many underserved neighborhoods as possible. Parks are not just a design problem. Our parks are like vital neighborhood organs; when they fail, people struggle as well. An improperly sited or maintained park can backfire and become an eyesore, or even worse, a stage for violence or drug trafficking. Before making decisions, we needed to make sure there was support on the ground, and devise creative maintenance solutions. Making it Happen In a city with a celebrated and extensive park system, there are 202,000 Philadelphians who do not have a park within a half-mile or 10-minute walk of their home, which is larger than the total populations of Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Reading combined. As we dug deeper, we found a city that needed new injections of public green space to meet a quadruple bottom line: economic, environmental, public health, and quality of life. Neighborhoods with the “need for green” varied in form and composition, from the dense rowhouse fabric of South Philadelphia and West Philadelphia, to the vast vacancies of former factory neighborhoods in North Philadelphia, to the context | FA/WI2011 | 18
DIAGRAM COURTESY: PENN PRAXIS
auto-dominated maze of Northeast Philadelphia. To achieve “quadruple benefit” by 2015, we concluded that potential green conversion sites must be: • Equitably distributed throughout residential neighborhoods; • At least one-quarter acre, large enough to achieve recreational and environmental benefits; and • Cheap to acquire. With these goals in mind, we went window shopping, knowing our wallet was not stuffed with large bills and Centurion Cards. And much to our surprise, we found a wealth of opportunity sites, and that the public, private and non-profit sectors were eager to partner. Starting close to home, we found sites managed by Philadelphia Parks and Recreation (PPR) that were not realizing their green potential, primarily recreation centers that were almost entirely paved.
RENDERING COURTESY: PENN PRAXIS
Though dense with active programming, these recreation centers were not serving as green assets in their communities, as they were often unattractive, oppressive under the hot summer sun, and sites that flooded during storms. Green2015 showed that these sites could be re-designed to include green elements that would make them more valuable assets to residents. We also found two agencies pursuing similar projects on recreation center sites. With its $2 billion, 25-year Green City, Clean Waters plan, the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) is showing citywide (including on many recreation center sites) the potential for green infrastructure to capture public stormwater and to serve both beautification and recreation benefits. The Department of Public Health received $20 million to prevent youth obesity and increase exercise and recreation opportunities. Though all three departments have different core missions, each can be satisfied on a well-designed, programmed, and maintained “green recreation center,” and through Green2015, these opportunities to partner became clear. We also found a city with 40,000 vacant parcels, 10,000 of which are managed by city agencies that, at the behest of the mayor, are talking to each other for the first time to devise a new vacant land management strategy for the city. We also found that the city was spending over $21 million on vacant land maintenance annually, so permanent green space becomes a way to reallocate these costs towards community benefits instead of keeping the status quo. In fact, some agencies had specific parcels in mind, such as a 1.5-acre site managed by the Philadelphia Housing Authority in Mill Creek and a 35-acre site in Roxborough managed by the Philadelphia Department of Public Property. We found a private and institutional sector that was already creating green spaces as part of expansion or redevelopment plans as well as improved marketing, community relations, and working environment for employees. The University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University have created over 30 acres of public green space since 2008 alone, and the Salvation Army built a state-of-the-art community center with playing fields and stormwater gardens on the old Budd site, both at no cost to the city. And with over 1,200 acres of private vacant land in the areas with the fewest parks, opportunities for further partnerships exist. Finally, we found schoolyard sites managed by the School District of Philadelphia. They are oftentimes larger than recreation centers, have less programming on site, and have the potential to contribute
to youth education as well as neighborhood quality of life. There are 426 acres of schoolyards in the parts of Philadelphia with the fewest parks, serving over 36,000 children. Despite issues of liability and bureaucracy, schoolyard greening was happening, including a green transformation of an elementary schoolyard in Center City (Greenfield School), a rain garden construction in West Oak Lane, and the first LEED Platinum public school facility in the country in Kensington. And with asphalt schoolyards, recreation centers, and other paved sites now being billed by PWD to account for impervious surface, there is a new incentive to green. Taking these four opportunity areas together suddenly paints a picture of Philadelphia as a city with vast opportunity for creating new public green space on land that would cost nothing to acquire. With over 4,000 acres of vacant land, hundreds more underutilized publicly owned facilities, numerous citywide sustainability initiatives with funding streams and overlapping missions, and a private sector that is helping to foot the bill, the goal of creating 500 new acres now seems achievable, reasonable, and inevitable. While Green2015 has the approval of Mayor Nutter and leadership from DiBerardinis, its implementation structure is one of extensive multi-sector partnerships and leveraging of various funding sources. It is this combination of top-level leadership, multiple layers of implementation and maintenance partners, and work already underway that makes Green2015 so likely to succeed. For example: • 100 acres of public green space have been constructed since Mayor Nutter took office in 2008, with 105 additional acres identified that have funding or staff time tied to their implementation. The work that has already been done shows how valuable high-quality green space can be to so many people, and Green2015 can help showcase these partnerships and provide top-level leadership that will help replicate these partnerships in neighborhoods citywide. • 45 of those first 100 acres were created by the private sector, at no cost to the City; • PWD is working with PPR to identify opportunities for “greened acres” that will provide stormwater management and recreation benefits; • PWD’s new billing structure presents another opportunity for creating new public green space. The department has begun working with private landowners on how they can filter stormwater on-site or contribute to other projects that provide the same benefit on publiclycontrolled sites. context | FA/WI2011 | 19
This map presents a long-term trail network that uses available land to increase access and equity to our large watershed parks, the most significant assets in our park system. The network is featured in the Philadelphia2035 Citywide Vision.
MAP COURTESY: PENN PRAXIS context | FA/WI2011 | 20
PHoto COURTESY: PENN PRAXIS
The early victories of Green2015 include a partnership between Parks and Recreation and the Philadelphia Industrial Corporation to extend green space and trail access along the Schuylkill River on vacant industrial sites in Southwest Philadelphia, including the one pictured here.
• PPR has launched formal partnerships with landowners, most notably the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation. The two agencies are currently developing a plan to extend the Schuylkill River Trail an extra 1.5 miles through two PIDC-owned sites in Southwest Philadelphia on either side of Bartram’s Garden. • According to federal regulations, the runway expansion at Philadelphia International Airport and the planned Southport expansion along the Delaware River will require the construction of compensatory wetlands along our rivers and creeks. Though not all will be publicly accessible, these will come with funding and will be another source for new public green space. • PPR has already begun to green some of its impervious recreation centers by partnering with City Council and local non-profits, including Shissler Recreation Center in Fishtown and Gathers Recreation Center in Strawberry Mansion. • Many private landowners reached out during Green2015 to express interest in partnering around green space protection, including hospitals, churches, and commercial developers. • The William Penn Foundation has provided funding for the national nonprofit The Trust for Public Land to open an office in Philadelphia. Their efforts will focus on greening schoolyards and recreation centers in partnership with PPR, PWD, and the School District. Private fundraising has already begun and the first round of sites is scheduled to be announced shortly. Beyond 2015 The achievability of Green2015’s short-term recommendations showed that we can be even bolder when setting our long-term goals for creating public green space. With this in mind, we worked closely with the Philadelphia City Planning Commission as they were crafting its citywide vision, Philadelphia2035. This collaboration led to a 25-year vision of equity and connectivity that still fits within current budgets and policy initiatives. Green2015
redefines “equity” for the long-term by looking beyond access to neighborhood parks to giving residents access to the watershed parks, the largest gems in our system. Since creating new parks on this scale is not likely, Green2015 proposes opening up the entire 10,000-acre system to Philadelphians through a connected network of trails that crisscross the city using existing right-of-way along wide streets, old rail beds, and historic stream paths. This park trail network map was included in the Citywide Vision when it was released earlier this year, and shows a hierarchy of interventions, from targeted signage and pavers along old creek paths, to creating parallel access along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor using adjacent vacant parcels, to a trail-with-transit greenway along a reimagined Roosevelt Boulevard. The result is a new way to access our parks and our neighborhoods that links the furthest reaches of the city together. High Impact, Low Cost With both the short-term and long-term strategies, Green2015 offers ways to connect people to parks at many different scales to make Philadelphia a more livable city. Its recommendations are affordable and efficient, focusing on transforming underutilized spaces around the city that currently hurt our communities into green places for kids to play and neighbors to gather. The tight fiscal times forced us to be resourceful, and the result is a plan that provides opportunities for healthy living, high quality of life, and environmental protection, all while using existing resources and linking seemingly separate funding sources together to create substantial improvement in underserved neighborhoods. Andrew P. Goodman is a planner at PennPraxis and was the project manager for the Green2015 process with the Department of Parks and Recreation.
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WRITING THE HIGH By Tavis Dockwiller
“21st Century parks will not only be beautiful places, they will be healthy ecologies. [The ‘Guidelines’] will connect the many people who design, build, and take care of the city’s open spaces so that each project is resilient and thriving.” - Adrian Benepe, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner
Summarizing the High Performance Guidelines ... A sketch is worth 270 pages.
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The New York Department of Parks and Recreation protects, designs, and manages an awesome legacy on behalf of the people of the city. There are over 29,000 acres of parkland in New York City. This land, ranging from the large and well-known – Central Park – to small playgrounds and even traffic islands throughout the five boroughs, is critical to the protection of New York’s natural resources. In 2008, the Design Trust for Public Space, led by executive director Deborah Martin, and the Department of Parks and Recreation, led by Principal Urban Designer Charles McKinney, with the assistance of five specially selected fellows, embarked upon the complex process of developing a manual to help the parks to become more sustainable. This would become the first manual of its kind in the nation, entitled, High Performance Landscape Guidelines, 21st Century Parks for NYC. Charles McKinney, a consistent champion for the project, stated that “the best practices outlined in this manual will become parks’ standards – to be employed in every project – and will revolutionize how New York’s green spaces are designed, constructed, and maintained.” Five fellows of the Design Trust for Public Space served as primary authors of the volume. I was joined in this process by Mi-
chele Adams, Meloria Environmental Design (Phoenixville, PA); Steven Caputo, NYC Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability; Jeannette Compton, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation; and Andrew Lavallee, AECOM Design + Planning New York, NY. Together, we represented various and diverse fields of expertise including: alternative stormwater management, from the civil engineering and the landscape architecture perspectives; extensive understanding of soils; previous Design Trust high performance guidelines experience; green roof research; and a background in restoration landscapes. Under the guidance of the Design Trust and over the course of eighteen months, we outlined and developed the contents of the book. Sustainability was a word both questioned and embraced by the team. We each had a different concept of sustainability and an individual approach to creating environmentally responsible work. Some related the term to readily renewable materials and some to ecosystems that could be easily managed and could evolve in complexity over time. Others felt it had more to do with fulfilling a larger societal need and our obligation as citizens to build a better world. And finally, there was a lot of discussion of sustainability as bringing a practical reality to projects that not only makes them beautiful today, but leads them to be loved, easily cared for, and adaptable for the foreseeable future. We also had strong opinions as to what sustainability does not
ABOVE: Ecosystems can be rich, even in tight urban spaces, such as here, at the University of Pennsylvania Nursing School’s Bayada Plaza.
mean. As a group, we were particularly opposed to a reliance on products that are currently deemed to be environmentally responsible, preferring instead to leave the document open to development over time, trial and error, and future design research. To cite one example of this train of thought: we engaged in a long discussion about finding the perfect product(s) for a bench slat, one of the most costly and frequently replaced items in the park system. It seemed at first blush that a recycled plastic bench construction might offer a good, sustainable alternative to wood, but none of us was quite comfortable. A later conversation with maintenance staff led to the conclusion that the recycled slats do not perform well in all situations, particularly where benches are place in full sun. In that application they actually need more frequent replacement. So the document largely avoids individual product and material recommendations but encourages thoughtful record keeping, sharing of information between departments, and an awareness of current industry innovations. Initially, the manual was intended as a “how-to book” of sorts for sustainable design within the various types of park sites. Through the process of developing the content, however, it became increasingly clear that while this approach might lead to a large and varied context | FA/WI2011 | 23
menu of practices, it would not provide an innovative framework for the creation of the integrated and responsible parks. A sustainability menu was not going to inspire change. So instead, we advocated for a strong foundation in understanding of the interrelationships between soils, water, and vegetation, a foundation that could guide designers in making the most responsible decisions for each particular park. We felt that it was important to remind – or, indeed, teach – each reader about the basic nature of ecosystem functions, with the hydrologic cycle leading the way. If designers, regulators, and politicians can keep in mind that there is an order to nature, which we must replicate to engender working ecologies, then the book will
function far into the future. It is meant suggest that designers must engage park maintenance staff in order to understand the realities and constraints of maintaining a landscape in the 21st century. “Sustainable strategies” should be carefully considered in this context. For example, in many situations, porous pavement is an excellent way to reduce stormwater runoff and combined sewer overflow. However, if it is used in a parking lot within a tidal surge zone it will inherently fail to perform, requiring additional maintenance time, money, and ultimately reconstruction. An application of a “sustainable strategy” in this way, without thoughtful consideration of the context of its application, would actually cause more long-term harm than good.
“Parks are a crucial component of the urban infrastructure that will help our city address the challenges of the twenty-first century… With ‘High Performance Landscape Guidelines’, we’ve created a new blueprint for how parks are designed, built, and maintained.” — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, from the Mayoral Foreword to “High Performance Landscape Guidelines.” have done its job. In conjunction with this basic ecosystem approach, we asked that designers and park managers consider both the construction impacts on a park and the long-term maintenance needs of a park. Designers then must allow construction and maintenance to inform the design. Operations and maintenance of a park over time in fact have much larger monetary impacts than initial construction (or renovation) cost. A park will never be sustainable if its staff does not have the resources to maintain it. This is not to suggest that parks cannot be rich and complex in ecosystem and experience, but rather that park designers really must consider during the design process how a park will context | FA/WI2011 | 24
We, the fellows, did not work alone to produce the manual. We were supported by NYC Department of Parks and Recreation staff: landscape architects, experienced operations staff, and other specialists. These people, particularly those working outside in parks every day, brought practical experience and working green initiatives to the manual. The process engendered a unique collaboration between park users, designers, regulators, builders, and those who maintain the parks. We believe that such collaboration is absolutely necessary to develop truly sustainable parks and other sustainable landscapes, for that matter. At a key meeting, we discovered that one of the park managers had designed, permitted, installed, and was operat-
ing a grey water collection and recycling system that met his park’s needs for summertime irrigation. No one could believe that it could be done, but here was a concrete example of on the ground, sophisticated thinking that led to simple, implementable, and sustainable results. It told everyone that change was possible, could be practical, and that there were examples within the park system that could become immediate case studies. It also said that everyone wanted this change and had been working toward it. It said that a document could both lead the way and codify the effort. Policy could lead practice and practice policy. A final component of the process was an extensive peer review effort. Over 40 reviewers participated in an in-depth review of the book. This final review strengthened the document because it brought to the manual a range of perspectives from a varied audience. Addressing the full range of issues that impact landscape design projects – from public policy to design decisions, material considerations, and maintenance – is key to the Guidelines’ clarity and success. No single change, whether a sustainable stormwater management policy or a change to bench slat material, will change the face of the parks in a city. We need to engender a collective understanding of ecosystems creation and protection, within the context of well-loved outdoor places for people. There is a larger message behind all the detail contained in what is admittedly not a small volume. We hope to suggest to governing bodies and individual politicians that a park is more than a campaign fulfillment, more than an “open space amenity”, and more than a dot on the chain of ecosystems creation. A park is a long-term investment in planetary health and people. Tavis Dockwiller is a Principal of Viridian Landscape Studio and one of the authors of the High Performance Landscape Guidelines, which can be found here online at www.nycgovparks.org.
What Can Philadelphia Learn From This Process? The work on the High Performance Landscape Guidelines could not have been accomplished if the Design Trust for Public Space had not selected the Parks Department proposal for the project and provided guidance for the team throughout the process. They had the ability to lay out a clear process and push the team forward even when we floundered. The investment in document planning, research, writing, editing, cross-checking, reviewing, and producing the final book of this magnitude is generally just too costly for government organizations. However, it is clear that to achieve cities with working ecosystems we must form stronger partnerships like these – partnerships that cross traditional boundaries to get entire communities talking about desired outcomes. Historically, the best societal changes rely not on the size or bent of government, but rather it is when we codify the will of the people into meaningful initiatives that we see substantial change to the status quo. For Philadelphia, this means going beyond the Philadelphia Water Department’s Green Cities, Clean Waters Plan to “across the boards” measures that help people to understand the close relationship of vegetation, water, and soils necessary to achieve positive long-term changes to our cities ecosystems, climate, and appeal. To cite one relevant example: we must make sure in our designs where we are asking vegetation, particularly trees, to do large-scale stormwater management, we give enough soil volume to ensure success. Finally, we must put in place plans to manage all our new ecosystems, to protect our investment in the services they provide. They won’t survive alone, just as you can’t see out the windows on a building if you never clean them. If we want a living city, one truly of Penn’s Green Woods, we must invest something of ourselves in the work. A vision like this, which builds upon current success could bring oft-talked about green jobs into reality as caretakers for our green infrastructure. Cities like Philadelphia could become part of a great restorative environmental movement. context | FA/WI2011 | 25
PHOTO COURTESY: NATURAL LANDS TRUST
NATURAL VS. MANMADE The issue of open space is one with which many communities grapple, in both urban and rural areas. The concerns are very different, however, if the open space is vacant land in the city or green space in the suburbs. We talked with representatives of both the Natural Land Trust, headquartered in Media, and Philadelphiaâ€™s Campaign to Take Back Vacant Land in order to learn something about issues of open space in these differing contexts. Their contributions are included here.
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The following is a brief exchange between guest editor Todd Woodward, AIA, and Kirsten Werner, director of communications for the Natural Lands Trust. Todd’s questions are in bold.
How is Natural Lands Trust similar to or different from other land trust organizations? Our region is fortunate to have a wealth of land trusts who are working diligently to save open space from development, and Natural Lands Trust is among them. I think we all believe in the inherent value of natural areas for their aesthetic beauty, benefits to human health and well-being, value to plant and wildlife diversity, positive contributions to our regional economy, and services to our air and water. And most of these organizations employ similar methods for saving land, such as drafting and holding land under conservation easement (where the land remains in private ownership but permanently limits its development). However, Natural Lands Trust distinguishes itself in several ways: • Natural Lands Trust is unique among the region’s conservation organizations because of our substantial commitment to owning land in perpetuity. We own and manage a network of 40 nature preserves totaling more than 21,000 acres. It spans 12 counties in two states and includes virtually every major ecosystem type in our region. Natural Lands Trust owns more than three times the land of the 13 other southeastern Pennsylvania-based land trusts combined. It’s also important to note that nearly 15,000 acres of our land is open to the public, free of charge, every day, and regardless of membership status. • One of the reasons we own so much land is because we believe that saving land from future development is only the first step in conservation and that we must actively care for the lands we own as well—for the benefit of both people and wildlife. Our stewardship staff members are actively engaged in projects such as the creation
PHOTO COURTESY: NATURAL LANDS TRUST
What is the mission of Natural Lands Trust? Natural Lands Trust is a nonprofit land conservation organization dedicated to protecting the forests, fields, streams, and wetlands that are essential to the sustainability of life in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. We apply a comprehensive approach to conservation that includes permanently protecting natural areas, providing leadership in natural resource management, and creating opportunities for people to connect with and learn from nature. Said more simply, our comprehensive and practical approach to conservation includes: • Saving land: permanently protecting natural areas using acquisition and conservation easements and by helping growing communities preserve more of their land. • Stewarding natural resources: providing leadership in managing natural resources on our own preserves and sharing what we’ve learned with other landowners • Connecting people to nature: creating opportunities for people to connect with and learn from nature on our preserves
ABOVE: Natural Lands Trust’s Stroud Preserve consists of 571 acres of culturally and ecologically important land in Chester County. This rolling mosaic of once-pastured grasslands, working farmlands, and woodlands now serves as wildlife habitat and a unique site for research by the Stroud Water Research Center, one of the premier stream research labs in North America. OPPOSITE PAGE: The 1,263-acre ChesLen Preserve - the largest private nature preserves in southeastern Pennsylvania - features sweeping agricultural fields, densely wooded stream corridors, and rare serpentine barrens. There are many points on the property from which visitors can gaze for miles in any direction and see virtually no signs of modern development.
of new wetland areas to improve water quality and biodiversity, reintroduction of native grasslands to improve grassland bird habitat, reforestation of former farm fields, and the use of prescribed fire to regenerate grasslands and wildflower meadows. • In addition to how we work, another distinction is where we work. There are many conservation organizations working in local communities and specific watersheds, but Natural Lands Trust is the only land trust working throughout the entire region. That means we can take a large-scale view of conservation priorities while working locally in hundreds of communities. context | FA/WI2011 | 27
Over the past two decades however, development began to transform and overwhelm many suburban communities, bringing congested traffic, demand for new schools and services, and a sense that our quality of life was under siege.
PHOTO COURTESY: NATURAL LANDS TRUST
BELOW: Natural Lands Trustâ€™s Gwynedd Wildlife Preserve is a 279-acre oasis of meadows, woodlands, and wetlands nestled among the highly developed suburbs of Blue Bell and North Wales. After more than a century of agricultural use, the preserveâ€™s fields are being carefully restored. A walk along the trails reveals a re-emerging ecosystem of native flora including warm-season grasses and native wildflowers.
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What is the relationship among open space, land development, and suburban sprawl in the region that Natural Lands Trust serves? Natural Lands Trust is not anti-development. Sustainable communities have to balance both economic development and conservation. Over the past two decades however, development began to transform and overwhelm many suburban communities, bringing congested traffic, demand for new schools and services, and a sense that our quality of life was under siege. In response, voters overwhelmingly backed open space programs at every level of government. Natural Lands Trust became very effective at leveraging these funds and preserved well over 30,000 acres in just the past decade. As a result of the recession, however, development has slowed dramatically. On one hand, this represents a great opportunity for Natural Lands Trust to obtain or ease more open space at bargain prices. But, on the other hand, much of the state, county, and municipal funds we traditionally use for land transactions have dropped or dried up altogether. The recession has fostered a somewhat surprising win-win relationship between our organization and a few developers who are no longer in a position to move a development forward. In the summer of 2008, we acquired a 113-acre addition to our Peacedale Preserve in Franklin Township, Chester County. The land was purchased from Wilkinson Nottingham, LLC, a developer that had received approval for a subdivision on the property but made the decision to look for conservation options instead. Recently, we finalized a conservation easement on a 148-acre farm in the same municipality that had been slated for development with as many as 100 new homes possible. However, what happens when development resumes? Our region is projected to grow by 350,000 people over the next 15 years. Once again, development will have an impact on our ecological health and long-term sustainability. But, because many of the financial resources we have used for conservation are nearly gone, we may be less able to balance development and preservation in the future. Is there an urban component to Natural Lands Trust’s work and mission? Natural Lands Trust began in 1953 as the “Philadelphia Conservationists,” a group of avid birders who joined together to save the marshes at Tinicum along the Delaware River (now the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge near the Philadelphia International Airport). In the nearly six decades since, our conservation efforts have broad-
ened to encompass eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. However, we have had few opportunities to work inside the city— even though our headquarters was located in Center City until the mid 1980s. When we updated our 10-year strategic plan in 2008, we reconnected to our founders’ early urban impetus and committed staff time to explore appropriate involvements in Philadelphia. Opportunity knocked much sooner than we expected! A number of factors came together to open the door to our active involvement in several Philadelphia projects in just the past year: • We completed a conservation easement on the city’s largest remaining unpreserved property, the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Roxborough. • Our Center for Conservation Landowners was hired to prepare land stewardship and trail plans for the city-owned Manatawna Farm property, also in Roxborough. • In a new partnership with Bartram’s Gardens—a botanical gem along the Schuylkill River in southwest Philadelphia—the Center for Conservation Landowners is partnering to train a cadre of volunteers that will care for the garden’s 15-acre meadow. We are also in the early stages of exciting partnerships with Philadelphia’s Parks and Recreation Department and the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation. How do you see the mission of land trust organizations changing in the next 10 or 20 years? Our core mission of saving and caring for natural areas is unlikely to change. Indeed, we have a perpetual responsibility to protect the lands we have already saved so we cannot waiver from that mission. However, we are augmenting those core elements with an additional focus – connecting people to nature. We have chosen to do this for several reasons, not the least of which is to ensure that the lands we have saved are relevant to and valued by future generations. Global climate change is an undeniable challenge for the future of conservation organizations. And, in many ways, “the future” is now. At our Glades Wildlife Refuge along the Delaware Bay in Southern New Jersey, for instance, rising sea levels are causing saltwater intrusion into forested areas where many tree species not adapted to higher alkalinity are dying in startling numbers. Higher sea levels also threaten vast expanses of salt marsh that are a major nursery for fish and other sea life. By protecting and stewarding land, land trusts like ours help to build resilient ecosystems that can sustain—and in some cases help combat—the effects of global warming. context | FA/WI2011 | 29
The following is an explanation of the efforts of Philadelphiaâ€™s Campaign to Take Back Vacant Land, written by Jill Feldstein.
PHOTO: Harvey Finkle
In a darkened church basement, more than 100 residents gathered to voice their concerns about vacant lots overrun with tall grass and heaped with trash. They collectively gasped when 35 football fields flashed up on the screen. Those fields represented the amount of vacant land in an area encompassing only 60 square blocks. The stark realization that one quarter of the land in their neighborhood sat vacant silenced the room. The next slide provoked an equally strong reaction. Small circles appeared, representing completed and proposed affordable housing and commercial spaces, including a bank and a supermarket. As community members watched, huge circles materialized, dwarfing the previous ones. These new shapes, representing the number of market-rate homes recently built or proposed in the area, pushed in from the surrounding neighborhoods of Northern Liberties, Temple
University, and Fishtown. The encroachment of this development into Eastern North Philadelphia had already caused the average sale price of homes to rise from $40,000 in 2001 to a staggering $250,000 six years later, threatening the displacement of many long-term residents. This data catalyzed people to act. They coalesced around the ideas of transforming acres upon acres of vacant land blighting the neighborhood, creating things people needed, and protecting long-term affordability and preventing displacement. Was there a way, community members wondered, to simultaneously tackle these problems? Residents and neighborhood organizations together researched solutions implemented in neighborhoods across the country and hit on the concept of a community land trust. A land trust is a neighborhood-based non-profit organization that balances individual and community interests in real estate by splitting ownership between residents (who own the buildings) and the community land trust (who owns the land). This shared ownership model benefits individuals,
Kenneth Austin, a lifelong resident of Eastern North Philadelphia, stands in an empty lot behind his house. Mr. Austin, who passed away in 2009, was a driving force behind the creation of the Community Justice Land Trust.
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PHOTO COURTESY: WCRP
families and the community as a whole by: • Providing land trust users, such as homeowners, with a fair return on their initial investment, while preserving the affordability of their property; • Protecting against predatory lending and foreclosure by participating in every financial transaction. Community land trust homes are six times less likely to go into foreclosure than non-land trust homes; • Safeguarding the quality of buildings constructed on land trust land by ensuring good maintenance; • Retaining the public subsidies invested in affordable housing and economic development projects. The Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, which operates a community land trust in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, estimates they have locked more than $4.5 million of public money into the homes they have developed, protecting affordability for the next generation of homeowners; • Encouraging balanced participation in decision-making by a wide range of interest groups, including renters and owners of land trust properties, residents, and government and community leaders; and • Supporting a wide range of uses to create healthy and vibrant neighborhoods. Land trusts around the country hold land for affordable housing, community centers, businesses, gardens and parks. After a focused process to determine if this solution was right for Eastern North Philadelphia, we created the Community Justice Land Trust last year. The land trust has secured its first piece of land and is raising funds for 25 rental homes in close proximity to an El stop. We have a commitment from our district councilmember to secure an additional three acres of land for a combined urban agriculture/housing development in the heart of our neighborhood. The success of community land trusts around the country – in reversing the demoralizing impact of living near dirty, uninviting, unsafe vacant lots; in safeguarding communities from the devastation of the foreclosure crisis; and in maximizing the impact of public funds invested in housing and economic development projects – has not only motivated us to implement this solution in our own community. It has also inspired us to help other Philadelphia neighborhoods explore whether a community land trust could solve some of their problems. Thanks to a four-year grant from the Oak Foundation awarded to the Women’s Community Revitalization Project, we will have the resources to bring this innovative solution to other communities across the city. One of the main obstacles for community land trusts across the country is access to land. Philadelphia, home to 40,000 abandoned lots equaling 3,000 acres, does not lack for developable land. The challenge here has been navigating multiple city agencies with different procedures, policies and inventory lists, which slows the release and re-use of these properties. To solve this problem, community, faith, and labor groups launched the Campaign to Take Back Vacant Land at the beginning of this year. The coalition worked with City Council members Maria Quiñones Sánchez and Bill Green, who together introduced Bill #110519 to overhaul the city’s land management and disposition system. Building on reform momentum in Harrisburg, their bill would create a Phila-
A young participant lends a hand during a WCRP vacant land cleanup at 6th and Oxford streets in North Philadelphia.
delphia land bank. This public authority would acquire, hold, manage and develop vacant and abandoned properties. The bill underscores the wisdom of mandating community representation on the board of directors to ensure neighborhood interests are protected. It also articulates the need to adopt policies that lead to permanently affordable development and socioeconomic diversity within communities. The Sánchez/Green bill recognizes the synergies that exist between municipal land banks and community land trusts. Municipal land banks need strong, community-based partners to care for, maintain and ensure quality development of the properties the land bank primes for re-use. Community land trusts are well-suited to these tasks. In order to protect affordability, safeguard community and family stability and promote wealth creation, community land trusts need a reliable pipeline of land to develop. A municipal land bank is natural partner to meet this need. The Campaign to Take Back Vacant Land wants to see this partnership brought to life in Philadelphia. Our coalition is committed to working with new and returning City Council members and Mayor Michael Nutter. The mayor recently took a step in the right direction by tasking the Redevelopment Authority with developing uniform rules for transferring these properties to new owners. Together, we can transform vacant land and build strong mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhoods shaped by the people who live, work, worship, study and play in those communities. Jill Feldstein is the Organizing Director at the Women’s Community Revitalization Project (WCRP). WCRP is a founding member of the Campaign to Take Back Vacant Land. To learn more, visit www. wcrpphila.com or www.takebackvacantland.org. context | FA/WI2011 | 31
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Salvation Army Kroc Center:
MGA Partners Architects
The Salvation Army Kroc Center in Philadelphia is a model for both future transformations of industrial landscapes and for community centers across the country.
The late Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald’s Corporation founder Ray Kroc, donated $1.5 billion to The Salvation Army to develop 25 centers in underserved communities across the nation; it is the largest single private donation to a charitable organization in American history. The 130,000-square-foot community center in Philadelphia is the ninth to be built and the largest in scale in the east. MGA Partners Architects, working closely with associated architects PZS Architects, led by Mario Zacharjasz, AIA, and landscape architects Andropogon Associates, led by Jose Alminana, designed the community center in response to The Salvation Army’s core mission of meeting social, physical and spiritual needs through service directly to people. The design of the campus, building, and program spaces reflects that synthesis of values in its character. The impact of this initiative is significant for Philadelphia for improving the urban, socio-economic, and environmental landscape in an area of the city where there have been low expectations. Once recognized as “The Workshop of the World,” Philadelphia struggles with its vast districts of vacant industrial landscapes and the dense communities these industries used to support. For nearly a century, manufacturers such as the Philco and Tastykake spurred growth in the Nicetown/Tioga area of the city. As the companies closed or moved elsewhere, the six neighborhoods surrounding this narrow industrial corridor became fractured and declined. Today, over one third of the 185,000 people in the area live below federal poverty guidelines. Built on an abandoned site which once housed the Budd Company and a city impound context | FA/WI2011 | 33
â€œIt was our aim to create a building and landscape that supports the human spirit by making design an explicit accomplishment in context, form, and craft.â€?
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parking lot, The Salvation Army Kroc Center bridges the adjacent residential neighborhoods and transforms a marginal area into a destination. The community center serves over 1000 people daily, from children to the elderly, and creates $22 million in economic impact annually. Over 450 employees support the Center’s programs which include a wide range of social and educational services, recreation and fitness facilities, an aquatics center with competition pool, a child care center, an urban farm, as well as worship and performing arts spaces. Successful transformation of the former brownfield site has spawned a new city planning study of the area and proposals for surrounding development, and has rejuvenated community cohesion. Daniel Kelley, FAIA, principal designer at MGA Partners describes the grand act of generosity represented by the Kroc gift and the Salvation Army dedication as an antidote to the pathology of decline. “It was our aim to create a building and
landscape that supports the human spirit by making design an explicit accomplishment in context, form, and craft,” Kelley says. Through a combination of construction and site waste recycling strategies as well as aggressive water management techniques, the Center’s 12.4-acre campus is one of the region’s most environmentally-progressive brownfield redevelopments. Approximately 95 percent of the existing material was recycled and reused on site and the building’s water-saving systems will save nearly 300,000 gallons of water per year. The seven rain gardens, porous parking lot and athletic fields recapture almost 100 percent of the first two inches of stormwater run-off, mitigating pressure on Philadelphia’s watersheds and aging infrastructure. With over 560 native trees planted on its campus, The Salvation Army Kroc Center is a green jewel in a dense urban environment, establishing the return of wildlife to the area while providing safe access to and education about the outdoors.
LOCATION: Philadelphia CLIENT: The Salvation Army of Philadelphia ARCHITECTURE: MGA Partners Architects; Daniel Kelley, FAIA, Lead Designer, partner; Alan Greenberger, FAIA, Lead Designer, former Partner; Robert Z. Shuman, Jr., AIA, LEED AP, Project Director, Partner Associate Architects: PZS Architects, Mario Zacharjasz, AIA Landsacpe Architects: Andropogon Associates Civil Engineer: Duffield Associates Structural Engineer: CVM Engineers SYSTEMS Engineer: H F Lenz Company Lighting Design: Tigue Lighting AQUATICS/FITNESS CONSULTANT: Ohlson Lavoie Collaborative THEATER CONSULTANT: Davis Crossfield Graphic Design: Whitehouse & Company PHOTOGRAPHY: Halkin Photography LLC
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profile DP design
Nature Inn at Bald Eagle State Park:
Bald Eagle State Park is the home of the first “Nature Inn” in the Pennsylvania park system. Bald Eagle State Park is the home of the first “Nature Inn” in the Pennsylvania park system. The Inn provides opportunities for visitors who wish to experience the park but desire amenities not offered by cabins and campsites. The Inn was designed to be a model of environmental responsibility with an anticipated LEED Gold certification. The overall goals were to connect visitors to the outdoors, convey the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ message of conservation and stewardship, provide a sustainable message in the inn’s design, construction and operation and partner with other state and local organizations for mutual benefit. Site and building design, interpretive exhibits, signage and programming support these goals. The Inn also has a specific theme - birding - since the park lies within an Audubon Pennsylvania designated Important Bird Area. The Inn includes 16 fully accessible rooms and associated gathering spaces designed to encourage interaction among the guests, including the main social room, a library overlooking the lobby and wrap-around porches which connect to an outdoor eating area, bird watching areas and trails through the park. Small lounges with views to the exterior and recycling/vending areas are conveniently located in between the clusters of rooms to stimulate guest interaction and encourage recycling. The inn incorporates a variety of guest room layouts, each with a private bathroom and direct access to the outside. A full time onsite host resides in the Inn Keeper quarters. Sited in a disturbed area of the park overlooking a spectacular reservoir, the building maximizes views of the reservoir and the woods. Native plant species that require no irrigation have been reintroduced in the restored landscape. Rain gardens receive context | FA/WI2011 | 36
LOCATION: Bald Eagle State Park runoff from adjacent paved surfaces and improve surface water quality. Reinforced turf in the overflow parking areas also reduces storm water runoff. Water saving strategies include low-flow plumbing fixtures and dual-flush toilets combined with a very visible 2,400-gallon rainwater harvesting system which collects rainwater for flushing the toilets. The rainwater harvesting system and native plant species contribute to the project goal of zero stormwater runoff. Rain barrels demonstrate rainwater collection at home. Energy conservation begins with the building orientation and an energy efficient building envelope. The variable refrigerant flow HVAC system provides simultaneous heating and cooling, heat recovery and individual room control. Heat source/rejection is provided by a ground coupled geothermal well system under the parking lot. Energy efficient appliances, lighting and controls save
energy. To make guests aware of their energy use, each guest room has a digital display that indicates the current room energy use. Evacuated tube solar hot water collectors installed in a trellis off the lobby, provide a supplemental heat source for hot water and a visually interesting sustainable technology. The inn features local stone, Pennsylvania FSC certified wood, emphasizing the range of available hardwoods in the state, furniture crafted in Pennsylvania and artwork by regional artisans. Other materials, such as countertops and tile with recycled glass content and soy-based spray foam insulation illustrate recycled and rapidly renewable materials. A construction waste management plan facilitated a high level of resource conservation during construction. Natural light and views are an integral part of all normally occupied spaces. Operable windows allow occupants to have control over their
Owner: Pennsylvania DCNR ARCHITECTURE: SMP Architects Civil, Structural Engineer, and LAndscape Architect: Civil and Environmental Consultants, Inc. HVAC, Plumbing, Fire Protection and Electrical Engineer: LLI Engineering, Inc. Commissioning Agent: Bruce E. Brooks and Associates General Contractor: Leonard S. Fiore, Inc. HVAC Contractor: Silvertip, Inc. Plumbing Contractor: K&K Plumbing Electrical Contractor: Tra Electric Construction Inspector: T.W. Consultants, Inc. Photography: Pennsylvania DCNR
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profile DP design
21st Century Town Square & Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks:
Wallace Roberts & Todd How to design in the shadow of iconic blast furnaces is a question answered by WRT’s design for Bethlehem’s new 21st Century Town Square and Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks. How to design in the shadow of iconic blast furnaces is a question answered by WRT’s design for Bethlehem’s new 21st Century Town Square and Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks. The projects are at the heart of a place that once brimmed with the industrial might of Bethlehem Steel. Founded in 1857 and closed in 1995, the home plant of Bethlehem Steel was a legendary site in U.S. industry - armorer to the nation and steel supplier to the Golden Gate Bridge. Bethlehem Steel’s demise left a vast economic void in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, leaving behind one of the largest brownfields in the United States. Although the ensuing years led to the demolition of many of its structures, the towering blast furnaces that today loom majestic in the context of the new square did remain as defiant artifacts of its industrial epoch. Since the closing of the mill, creative industries emerged as a new economic driver in the Lehigh Valley, coalescing around the old industrial district. Added to this, a Sands Casino’s gaming license triggered their purchase of the Bethlehem Steel plant, initiating the site’s transformation, and making possible the preservation of many of the site’s iconic elements. The reinvented complex, now an arts & cultural campus known as SteelStacks, currently houses five buildings: the Arts Quest Center, the WLTV PBS 39 Building, the Bethlehem Landing Visitor Center, the PNC Festival Building, and Levitt Pavilion. The 21st Century Town Square is the unifying space that binds them all to the context, and each other, to create a spectacular place that harnesses the inherent power of the site. In this setting big steel rules, and it is accordingly used throughout. CorTen-sheathed walls support the amphitheater lawn, and galcontext | FA/WI2011 | 38
vanized steel frames light the walkways. A tree-lined path connects the amphitheater lawn to PNC Plaza’s performance space. A playground, picnic grove, enormous industrial flywheel and an outdoor stage and screen at PBS Plaza animate the Square. A flamegenerating steel “bridge”, designed by artist Elena Colombo, arcs over the Square. To make space for the Levitt Pavilion and amphitheater, WRT orchestrated a big move - the realignment of the public street that cut through the site - to both make room for the amphitheater to be placed on axis with Founder’s Way, and to seize the magnificent blast furnaces as a backdrop of their own. The pavilion itself, inspired by the enigmatic structures found throughout the complex, was conceived as large-scale sculpture, one that suggests a work still in progress. The majesty of the iconic blast furnaces provides a monumental backdrop for this new civic space, with the raw power of the site’s tectonic qualities reflected in the new square and pavilion’s integrated landscape architectural/architectural expression.
LOCATION: Bethlehem, PA
ARCHITECTURE: Wallace Roberts &
Lehigh Valley Engineering
Todd; Antonio Fiol-Silva, FAIA, Principal
Pavilion Structure (band shell):
-in-Charge; William Cline, AIA; Karen
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
Pavilion Structure (service build-
LAndscape Architecture: Wallace
ing): Klein and Hoffman, Inc.
Roberts & Todd; Ignacio Bunster-Ossa,
Pavilion MEP: Lehigh Valley Engineering
FLASA, Principal -in-Charge; David Ostrich,
Pavilion Acoustical: Metropolitan
ASLA; Keiko Cramer, Doug Meehan, Eliza-
Pavilion theatrical Lighting: Envi-
Historical Preservation Architec-
ronmental Acoustics, Inc.
ture and Wayfinding: Artefact, INC
Construction: Alvin H. Butz, Inc.
Lighting Design: L’Observatoire Interna-
Photography: Paul Warchol Photogra-
Environmental Engineer: HDR Engineering , Inc Civil Engineer: Keystone Consulting Engineers, INC Structural and Restoration Engineer: Klein and Hoffman, Inc
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profile DP design
Anne d’Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden and Parking Facility:
Atkin Olshin Schade Architects
Nestled into the hill on the Museum’s northwest side, the Anne d’Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden and Parking Facility provides parking for the Philadelphia Museum of Art without compromising the historic landscape and views to and from the Museum.
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The 442-car garage is notable for its green design and has been praised by the Environmental Protection Agency for its forward-looking, environmentally sensitive and responsible systems and design. The structure greatly increases parking capacity for the Museum and provides a spectacular landscaped rooftop sculpture garden that extends the Museum’s vast galleries to the outdoors. The one-acre intensive green roof consists of a sequence of outdoor exhibition spaces for both permanent and temporary exhibitions. The landscape and paths are designed to connect the Museum to the
Sculpture Garden and beyond to the existing Reilly Memorial, Azalea Garden, and Fairmount Waterworks with panoramic views of the Schuylkill River and Lemon Hill. Native plantings create changing seasonal attraction throughout the year and provide a habitat for local wildlife. Planted in masses, the sweeps of shrubs and perennials are designed to provide an elegant backdrop for the sculpture. Although most of the garage is below grade, the exterior walls are partially exposed on the west and north sides. To integrate these walls into the landscape, additional terraced walls were constructed of boulders found on the surface of the site and in the excavated soils. The boulder walls are designed to reinterpret the serpentine stone walls found on the site that were part of the Cret and Gréber plan for the Museum and Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Plantings at the boulder walls will ultimately envelop the garage into the surrounding landscape. The plant palette draws from the adjacent Azalea Garden, with an emphasis on native plants that will naturalize and cascade over the walls over time.
The substantial gravity loads generated by the intensive green roof, large trees, and sculpture could not be managed with a conventional 60’ clear-span garage structure. To resolve this problem an innovative cast-inplace concrete structure, with 15’ cantilevers at the perimeter edges of the garage, was developed to efficiently handle the loads and minimize the impact of columns within the parking bays. Large areaways on the long ends of the garage allow light and air to penetrate to the lowest level. The areaways allow the garage to be passively ventilated and eliminate the need for noisy fans. The garage was constructed over an existing 13’ diameter combined sewer outflow tunnel. The tunnel was reinforced to allow it to provide temporary storage of overflow during storm events. The elevators and stairs are housed in a pavilion placed on a diagonal axis oriented toward the Museum’s west entry. Constructed of glass and stainless steel with an extensive green roof, the pavilion reflects the surroundings and allows the landscape and sculpture to dominate the space.
LOCATION: Philadelphia CLIENT: Philadelphia Museum of Art ARchitecture: Atkin Olshin Schade Architects Landscape Architect: OLIN Landscape Architects FOuntain Consultant: Blue Mesa Design Structural Engineer: CVM Engineers Construction Manager: L.F. Driscoll Geotechnical Engineer: Schanbel Engineering Lighting Design: George Sexton MEP ENGINEERS: Spectra Engineering Parking Consultant: Walker Parking Consultants Photography: Jeffrey Totaro Photographer
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profile DP design
Haverford College, Campus Master Plan:
Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates
Haverford’s landscape is such a strong part of the campus’ identity and image,” Nancy Rogo Trainer says. “Its mature trees and lovely green hills are a wonderful contrast to the College’s understated Quaker architecture – and integral to the campus’s beauty. So our planning focused on accommodating the College’s ambitious program goals while maintaining Haverford as a lush, beautiful place.”
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Haverford’s landscape is such a strong part of the campus’ identity and image,” Nancy Rogo Trainer says. “Its mature trees and lovely green hills are a wonderful contrast to the College’s understated Quaker architecture – and integral to the campus’s beauty. So our planning focused on accommodating the College’s ambitious program goals while maintaining Haverford as a lush, beautiful place.” Trainer, a principal with Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates architects and planners, was asked to lead a comprehensive campus planning effort at Haverford. VSBA’s goal was to help create a “living document and decision-making tool” for the school, notable for its liberal arts excellence and Quaker traditions. In fact, Haverford’s Quaker roots suggested the team’s approach. “The planning process was really driven by inclusion, with major decisions made through participation and consensus,” Trainer explains. Every member of the campus community - administrators, faculty, stu-
LOCATION: Haverford, PA CLIENT: Haverford College dents, and staff - was invited to participate. VSBA conducted over 400 interviews (individually and in groups) and worked closely with a Steering Committee of faculty, staff, and students. As the plan developed, the team shared their thoughts and findings with faculty, students, alumni, and other members of the College, as well as the public and representatives from Haverford Township. What VSBA found was this: some saw recent developments as dividing the College into an “upper campus” and “lower campus,” with fewer social spaces and overtaxed buildings. Founders’ Green is Haverford’s “forum,” and it seemed to be losing its importance. Many wanted a better sense of unity and cohesiveness for the whole campus. So VSBA, working with landscape architect Andropogon Associates, devised a series of ways to reenergize the historic campus core while creating avenues to new growth. They recommended ways to maintain Founders’ Green as the heart of campus, focusing
academic uses there to help to restore its utility and significance. This would also help to preserve the campus’s distinctive nature trail, woods, meadows, specimen trees, and waterways. In the plan, two new pedestrian routes one north-south and another east-west - will join at the campus core. Future buildings will open onto these routes, intertwined with ribbons of new green spaces. Like Haverford’s historic buildings, new construction should have a feeling of simplicity, beauty, and permanence within the Romantic landscape - but with a modern sense of transparency and openness. Meanwhile, existing and historic spaces should be used more efficiently, or, when possible, adapted for new purposes. “Throughout the planning,” Trainer says, “our goal was to help find ways for Haverford to have a more coherent sense of the College as one place, one community.”
Planning Team: Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates; Principal-in-Charge: Nancy Rogo Trainer, AIA, AICP, LEED AP; Project Manager: Heather Clark, AIA, LEED AP, Senior Associate; Josselyn Ivanov, John Izenour, Carey Jackson Yonce, James Kolker, Michael Meller, Jason Nguyen, Rebecca Vieyra Landscape Architect: Andropogon Associates Traffic, Transportation, and Parking Consultant: URS Corporation Cost Consultant: International Consultants, Inc. Civil Engineer: Hunt Engineering Company structural engineer: Keast & Hood Co. Mechanical, Electrical, & Plumbing Engineer: Brinjac Engineering, Inc. Food consultant: Envision Strategies
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calendar AIA PHiladelphia Induction
Louis I. Kahn Lecture
Suburban Pro Con
MEMBER NEWS AP3C Architects was selected by the Appoquinimink School District to design and execute comprehensive renovations to the Meredith Middle School Auditorium. Delaware has a strong statewide Visual and Performing Arts initiative and many of the older school facilities require modernization.
Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd. announced that its design for a single family home in Lewisburg, PA won the bronze award in the national Brick Industry Association’s Brick in Architecture Awards program. This project and others was featured in the December 2011 issue of Architect Magazine.
A comprehensive restoration and renovation of Amtrak’s Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Railroad Station in Wilmington, DE, has led to a prestigious international design award for the extensive project, designed by Bernardon Haber Holloway Architects PC. The Brunel Awards recognize and promote the best in railway architecture amongst the world’s railways.
EwingCole received the Grand Award for outstanding educational facility design in the 20th Anniversary Fall 2011 Edition of LEARNING BY DESIGN, the biannual guide that showcases innovative school and university design and construction projects. Recognized for the innovative design of the Zankel Music Center, Skidmore College.
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photo: PAUL LOFTLAND PHOTOGRAPHY
Francis Cauffman announced the completion of the first phase of the Almac Group’s new North American headquarters. Inspired by the company’s Irish roots, the design team has taken elements from North American and European office cultures and combined them into one building.
Heritage Design Collaborative announced the start of two new projects: the Exterior Restoration of Longstreet Hall at the Peddie School in Hightstown, NJ, and the Restoration/Adaptive Reuse of the Historic Smith Street Jail House in Norwalk, CT. The start of these projects coincides with the one year anniversary of HDC.
JKR Partners celebrated a ribbon-cutting celebration and open house for Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corp.’s West Oak Lane Charter School expansion on Stenton Avenue. JKR Partners designed the $16 million project, increasing the student capacity to 850 students.
KSS Architects welcomed new staff members Nicole E. Hollenbeck, LEED AP, Christina Marconi, Michael Kelly, and Alexis Baran.
L&M DESIGN LLC Architects Planners Urban Designers was chosen by developer Wilder Balter Partners Inc. of Elmsford, NY to design Hillcrest Commons, a new 81-acre tax-credit senior housing community in Carmel, NY, which celebrated the ground breaking of Phase I.
Lenhardt Rodgers Architects announced the promotion of Jill Di Clementi, ASID to Principal, and the hiring of Amy Carpenter, AIA LEED BD+C as a Principal of the firm.
Preservation Design Partnership, LLC received a Special Recognition Award from the Pennsylvania Council of the Society of American Registered Architects for the Design Guidelines for the City of New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission.
Schradergroup Architecture Managing Partner, David Schrader, was named 2011 Planner of the Year for the Northeast Region of the Council of Educational Facility Planners International.
Skanska USA was awarded a $215 million contract for the expansion of the Nemours/ Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children (AIDHC) near Wilmington, DE. The AIDHC Inpatient Pavilion project is a new, five-story, 425,000-square-foot, 144-bed expansion connected to the existing facility by a threestory connecting link. Also included in the contract is a 188-space ground-level parking garage below the new addition.
SMP Architects’ Sustainable Urban Science Center at Germantown Friends School was recognized in the AIA Tri-State Design Awards. The combined AIA Chapters of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania presented the LEED Gold project with an Honor Award.
Stantec moved into the top 25 architectural firms in the United States, according to the Top 250 rankings recently published by Architectural Record magazine.
Jim Zullo, LEED AP, AICP, CAPP of Timothy Haahs & Associates, Inc. presented at the RailVolution 2011 conference in Washington, DC in October.
UCI Architects, Inc. announced that Vice President Roy D. Conard, AIA, LEED AP BD+C was elected as President of the Board of Directors of The Attic Youth Center. Prior to his election Mr. Conard served as a Board Member and Facilities Chair at the Center.
Avenue, the street that transformed the historic Loft District in Downtown St. Louis into a thriving live, work and entertainment destination.
Affiliate News The University City Science Center recently unveiled two spaces designed by UJMN Architect + Designers. As an incubator for early-stage life science and technology companies, the Science Center envisioned Quorum as a clubhouse for innovation. The Marketing Center is a contemporary meeting and exhibit space designed to introduce potential tenants to the Science Center’s resources.
Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates’ design for two major cultural institutions opened to the public this fall. Lenfest Hall at the Curtis Institute of Music was unveiled in September, and the expansion of The Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley, opened in October. Both projects involve restoration, renovation, and significant new construction.
VITETTA was selected for Additions and Renovations to the Monroe County Courthouse Complex located in Stroudsburg, PA. The Monroe County commissioners unanimously selected VITETTA to provide complete architectural, engineering and interior design services for the additions and renovations to the County Courthouse, Annex and Administrative Offices.
DOCOMOMO, the group that celebrates and preserves mid-century modern and modern architecture, has named Zamir Garcia, AIA, LEED AP, of Voith & Mactavish Architects LLP, a board member of their Philadelphia Chapter.
WRT’s Washington Avenue project has been named as one of America’s Ten Great Places by the American Planning Association. WRT led the redesign of Washington
Acentech Inc. announced that Jeffrey A. Zapfe, Ph.D., has been named president of Acentech by the company’s Board of Directors.
Brinjac Engineering, Inc. welcomed Iain R Siery, PE to its team. Siery joined Brinjac as a Senior Mechanical Engineer in its Philadelphia office.
C. Raymond Davis & Sons, Inc. completed the construction of Veterinary Specialty Emergency Center in Levittown. This new state-of-the-art 21,000-square-foot hospital is located just a few minutes away from the center’s previous location.
A team of eight structural engineers from Keast & Hood Co.’s Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia offices participated in a volunteer work day at the Chesapeake Bay’s Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse in September. The day marked the fourth annual volunteer day for the firm.
provide Construction Management services to renovate space at Campbell Soup Company’s World Headquarters.
Schnabel Engineering’s Creek Watershed Dam was selected as a winner in the ACEC/ NC Engineering Excellence Awards competition.
Donald A. Logan, CPE, Senior Cost Estimator for Urban Engineers, Inc. was named 2011 Estimator of the Year by the American Society of Professional Estimators (ASPE), Liberty Chapter 61, of Philadelphia.
Michael B. Berardi joined Wohlsen Construction Company the as Vice President and is leading Wohlsen’s business in the Delaware, Southeastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey and Maryland region.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation presented its Preservation Honor Award during the 2011 National Preservation Conference in Buffalo, New York’s Kleinhans Music Hall, in October to the restoration team of the Louis I. Kahn Bath House and Day Camp in Ewing Township, NJ, which included Wu and Associates.
Langan International is providing geotechnical, site/civil and traffic engineering and parking planning on Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. As part of an elite design team, they will be a key consultant to support what will be the tallest tower in the world.
Microdesk, Inc., celebrated the opening of its state-of-the-art support and training center at 1617 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, in the heart of downtown Philadelphia.
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