Maplewood Mall has been awarded the Project of the Year for 2021 from the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (apbp).
Maplewood Mall is located in Philadelphia’s Central Germantown Business District. The mall, bookended by two public plazas, is lined by two and three story buildings with ground floor storefronts. The mall was created from Maplewood Avenue in the 1970’s by converting the original street into the curbless pedestrian-scale street it is today. No major physical improvements had been made since its inception, and the mall’s infrastructure was poor condition. The goal of the reconstruction was to improve the physical condition of the mall and utilize a community driven design for the roadway and public plazas that supports the needs of the business owners and residents while re-invigorating this once vibrant community hub.
Through a series of public meetings and presentations, Ground Reconsidered and the project’s prime consultant worked with the community to develop a vision for the site. We employed our design experience to implement a low-maintenance infrastructure and put together placemaking strategies to promote the success of the project’s design.
Our congratulations go out to the community and to all the individuals and firm that were involved in making this project a reality.
We are pleased to announce that two of our projects received 2020 Professional Design Awards from the PA-DE Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. We received an Honor Award for General Design for THE DISCOVERY CENTER, and an Honor Award for Analysis and Planning for the PENN ALEXANDER SCHOOL: RE-IMAGINING THE SCHOOLYARD.
The Discovery Center’s design presented complicated challenges which involved balancing programming needs for the two primary organizations who use the site: Audubon Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Outward Bound. The design preserves and strategically enhances the existing habitat which attracts 200+ types of bird, including rare migratory species. The design reveals the sense of discovery when one first encounters the hidden lake behind the center, opening it to the surrounding neighborhood and Philadelphia beyond.
The plan for Penn Alexander School positions the school as a leader in innovative schoolyard design. It presents children with a stimulating and challenging play setting, fosters learning through play, and connects children to the natural world. It provides teaching opportunities and curriculum development for the school’s faculty. Design consensus was achieved through robust stakeholder outreach that included innovative techniques to gather input from diverse groups, while introducing elementary age students to the profession of Landscape Architecture.
We are proud to announce the PA-DE ASLA Chapter has honored our work at Bartram’s Garden with a 2018 Award of Merit in the general design category. This restoration marks the first major garden restoration project at Bartram’s Garden in nearly a century. Through extensive research and collaboration with the John Bartram’s Association, we have restored the Carr Garden as it existed when Ann Bartram Carr (1779-1858) was in residence. Ground Reconsidered is humbled to be included amongst the excellent PA-DE ASLA Chapter award recipients. Click here to read more on the 2018 Awards on the PA-DE ASLA Website.
Ground Reconsidered is proud to be part of five Field Sessions at the 2018 ASLA Annual Meeting and Expo on Friday, October 19. Read more about each session below or follow the links to the individual Field Session pages.
Reinventing the River: Central and North Delaware Waterfronts | FS-004
Industrial uses and infrastructure have long separated Philadelphia’s residents from the Delaware riverfront. On a walk of this emerging landscape, we’ll visit pop-ups and permanent landscapes with their designers, talk strategy with the agencies overseeing riverfront development and see sites poised to unlock the river’s future. Ground Reconsidered’s Julie Bush is a speaker.
Discover Bartram’s Garden and Bartram’s Mile Along the Schuylkill River Trail | FS-005
Experience Bartram’s Garden and the Bartram’s Mile section of the Schuylkill River Trail. Take a walk along the Schuylkill riverfront that has been reclaimed from its industrial past and admire living collections at Bartram’s Garden that continue to grow, bloom, and reproduce as they have since 1728. Ground Reconsidered’s Brad Thornton is a speaker.
Academia in Arcadia: Design, Sustainable Stewardship, and Pedagogy on Swarthmore’s Campus | FS-007
As Swarthmore’s Scott Arboretum prepares to celebrate its 90th anniversary as an arboretum and home to one of the most prestigious liberal arts colleges, this field session explores the intersection of campus planning, sustainable stewardship, design, pedagogy, and community outreach in the art and science of a public garden. Ground Reconsidered’s Kristen Loughry is a speaker.
Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway—100 Years | FS-009
Part of the City Beautiful movement, this mile-long civic vision of architecture and landscape, in its centennial year, has evolved into an incomparable cultural campus of exceptional museums, gardens, and parks amid a vibrant growing city. Learn how it continues to be influenced by contemporary landscape architects and civic leadership. Ground Reconsidered’s Julie Bush is a speaker.
University of Pennsylvania Campus—A Cultural and Environmental Legacy | FS-011
This field session showcases Penn’s 300-acre campus, with more than 180 buildings and 100 acres of landscaped lawns, gardens, and athletic fields designed by notable landscape architects and designers over time. It highlights the iconic spaces, recent projects, and new directions in landscape design and ecological management currently under way at Penn. Ground Reconsidered’s Karen Skafte is a speaker.
On Friday, September 28, Ground Reconsidered attended the ribbon cutting ceremony and official opening of the Discovery Center, a partnership between the National Audubon Society (Audubon Pennsylvania) and the Philadelphia Outward Bound School. The site is on a decommissioned water reservoir in East Fairmount Park near the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. Originally built in the late 1800’s to provide clean water to Philadelphians, the 37-acre reservoir was closed to the public in the 1970s. Since that time, nature has taken over, creating a unique urban oasis and a critical stopover point for migrating birds. Audubon and Outward Bound have teamed up to save and sustain this important site and to open the education center for environmental conservation and leadership development.
As the Landscape Architect on the project, Ground Reconsidered worked with Digsau to recreate the initial feeling of discovery as you walk up the steep slope of the man-made berm to the large expansive view of the reservoir lake. Plants native to the Mid-Atlantic region were chosen to increase ecological functionality, providing habitat for birds, butterflies, and other animals, while also providing important education opportunities. Learn more about the Discovery Center in PlanPhilly’s “Building for Discovery”. For hours, events, and programming visit www.DiscoveryPhila.org
In 2013 Ground Reconsidered led a team to redesign the beloved Von Colln Memorial Park in line with the Philadelphia Department of Parks & Recreation’s More Park, Less Way initiative to transform the area around the Benjamin Franklin Parkway into a destination and resource for those who reside near, visit and use the Parkway. On Tuesday, August 7, 2018, City officials, the design team, and children from a nearby summer camp met at Von Colln for a dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting. After remarks from Kathryn Ott Lovell, Commissioner of Philadelphia Parks & Rec, Managing Director Michael DiBerardinis, Council President Darrell Clarke, and Councilman William Greenlee, the Von Colln family joined to cut the ribbon to mark the official re-opening of Von Colln. Just moments after the ribbon was cut, kids filled the new playground and sprayground in celebration. In addition to the new playground and sprayground, improvements to the site include new pedestrian lighting, sidewalks, improved safety surfaces, and updated public restrooms.
Ground Reconsidered would like to thank our client, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, our design team members Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson, Zimmerman Studios, and Morris Arboretum for helping bring the design to reality.
During the June 14 WHYY Radio Times program, hosted by Marty Moss-Coane, the past, present, and future of Philadelphia parks and architecture was discussed in conjunction with the opening of the Reading Viaduct Rail Park. The program features a segment with executive director of Friends of the Rail Park, Kevin Dow, while he walked with Radio Times producer Jon Ehrens in the new park. About 33 minutes in, Moss-Coane, Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron and architectural historian David Brownlee discuss enhancements designed by Ground Reconsidered for the iconic Benjamin Franklin Parkway over the last decade including the introduction of green stormwater infrastructure, bike lanes along the outer lanes of the Parkway, and new public parks constructed over I676 at the Free Library of Philadelphia, the former Family Court Building and Franklin Plaza.
One aspect of the site design at CHOP’s Roberts Center for Pediatric Research are the sophisticated custom benches embedded in the site’s public plazas. Guided by Cooper Robertson & Partners initial concept, Ground Reconsidered worked to meticulously develop the design and adapt it to fourteen unique site conditions. Once the bench fabrication was awarded, Ground Reconsidered worked closely with Landscape Forms to fine-tune the assembly. Landscape Forms’ custom department, Studio 431, and Landscape Architects at Ground Reconsidered collaborated to ensure every nuanced detail was realized. The resulting execution was made all the more gratifying by the challenges of the design.
After the success of the project, Studio 431 interviewed Principal Karen Skafte and Senior Associate Justin DiPietro and developed a case study on the collaboration. Click here to read the case study.
On Friday, April 20, Schuylkill Banks and CHOP Roberts Center for Pediatric Research hosted the dedication ceremony for the newest segment of the beloved Schuylkill River Trail from South Street to Christian Street. Blooms of Redbud trees and Daffodils were in attendance on the trail. Ground Reconsidered is honored to continue helping Philadelphia reclaim its riverfronts!
Photos 7 and 8 courtesy of Lane Fike, P.E., Director of Capital Projects at Schuylkill Banks.