Penn Park, a brand new 24-acre park and green space on the eastern edge of Penn’s campus, is officially open, an awesome addition to Philadelphia’s green scene and the centerpiece of the university’s 30-year master development plan Penn Connects.
The 2.75-acre site was the former home to a tennis court complex, which has been relocated to Penn Park. Shoemaker Green was originally called Palestra Green in the PennConnects plan, but was renamed to honor Class of 1960 Wharton grad Alvin Shoemaker when he became an emeritus trustee in October 2008.
Sustainable design aspects of the project, created by landscape architectural firm Andropogon Associates, include: a rain garden, porous pavers, a cistern for rainwater reuse and silva cell tree trenches.
Classified as a “grey field,” or previously urbanized land, Shoemaker Green will capture and control storm water, plus increase local biodiversity with the planting of native species. By replacing paved surfaces with landscaping, it will also help to reduce urban heat island effect.
According to the Daily Pennsylvanian, as part of the construction, tables and chairs will be placed outside Hutchinson Gym and a new crosswalk will be added on 33rd Street.
As a new public commons area, the open center lawn will be able to adapt to a variety of uses, such as special events like commencement and Penn Relays. Meanwhile, the surrounding secluded spots can be used for outdoor classes or a quiet daytime respite.
Fun fact: Shoemaker Green was chosen as one of more than 150 pilot projects around the globe to test a new Sustainable Sites Initiative rating system for landscapes, anticipated to be analogous to the U.S. 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.
Shoemaker Green is expected to be completed by Fall 2012. Check out a few more images of what the space will look like, below.