A Bit of Coney Island in West Philadelphia, Thanks to Salvaged Wood

December 20, 2012

During reconstruction work on Wharton’s Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall, the project team found that the pergola trelliswork marking the Locust Walk entrance could not be saved due to signs of extensive wood deterioration. Using the original drawings of the architect, Laurie Olin, a landscape architect, author, and a Practice Professor here at Penn for the past 30 years, the project team has engaged consultants to rebuild the trellises and replicate the original design.  In accordance with the University’s Climate Action Plan, the new structures are being built from recycled materials with low embodied energy and carbon.  The trelliswork will be crafted entirely from reclaimed Ipe timbers from the historical Coney Island Boardwalk, and salvaged metal straps and clamping devices from the original structure will be restored and reused in the new trellises.  The reclaimed Ipe timbers became available after the New York Parks department demolished sections of the historic boardwalk in favor of reconstruction with concrete and synthetic wood. Ipe is more resistant to decay and insects; is harder and stronger, and will enjoy a longer lifespan than the softwood used in the original construction. 


The average distance food travels from farm to plate is 1,500 miles. That's as far as a trip from Philadelphia to Houston.

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