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Design of Shoemaker Green

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November 9, 2010, Volume 57, No. 11

The University of Pennsylvania’s Board of Trustees recently approved the design for Shoemaker Green, an $8 million green-space project off 33rd Street between Franklin Field and the Palestra that will connect the central campus to the University’s new Penn Park.

Sustainable design aspects will highlight the project created by the landscape architectural firm of Andropogon Associates of Philadelphia: three rain gardens, porous pavers, a cistern for rainwater reuse and Silva Cell tree trenches.  These sustainable aspects support the tenets of Penn’s Climate Action Plan, which call for increasing campus green space, that will have a positive impact on storm-water management for the campus and the city.

The 3.75-acre site is the current home to a tennis court complex, which will be relocated to Penn Park. 

Classified as a grey field—previously urbanized land—where storm water drainage is a major issue, the site will make innovative use of new strategies and technologies to capture and control storm water from the green space itself as well as nearby rooftops. The design calls for the planting of native species that will increase local biodiversity, while creating a new open space for the campus. By replacing paved surfaces with landscaping, it will also help to reduce the urban heat island effect.

As a new public commons area, the open center of the project can adapt to a variety of uses, especially during special events such as Commencement and the Penn Relays. The lawn area is designed to accommodate large groups in tents, and the surrounding secluded spots will be useful for an outdoor class or quiet lunchtime escape.

While Shoemaker Green supports Penn’s overarching commitment to green building, it was also chosen as one of more than 150 pilot projects around the globe to test a new Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) rating system for landscapes, anticipated to be analogous to the US Green Building Council’s LEED Green Building ratings. SITES is the first set of national voluntary guidelines and performance benchmarks for the sustainable design, construction and maintenance of landscapes (Almanac July 13, 2010).

The start of construction is slated for the summer of 2011 with completion of the project expected in the fall of 2012. 

Additional information is available at www.pennconnects.upenn.edu.

Almanac - November 9, 2010, Volume 57, No. 11