Pennsylvania State University: Shortlidge Pedestrian Mall

In accordance with its Campus Master Plan, Penn State University implemented a series of major renovations and additions to its main campus. The conversion of Shortlidge Road – a major vehicular thoroughfare – into a pedestrian only zone has become the centerpiece of the new campus environment. Ground Reconsidered was retained by the University to prepare a design that would create a harmonious and safe environment accommodating several functions – a heavily traveled pedestrian circulation system, a prominent destination landscape, and the uses of adjacent buildings.

The site includes a series of spaces comprising a central spine. These areas are unified through the use of a rich palette of similar materials including granite seat walls, brick pavements, and lush planting. The scale of these spaces varies, providing both a large area for gathering as well as intimate seating areas for quiet lunches, conversation, and studying. Trees are located to reinforce the character of Shortlidge Road, to provide shade, and to enhance the pedestrian scale. The paving pattern of the central plaza acknowledges the differing geometries of the adjacent buildings and represents the official seal of Penn State.

  • Pennsylvania State University
  • PA Department of General Services, BLT Architects
  • State College, PA
  • 2000-2004