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Enhancing the Retail Experience Through Streetscape Detailing
King of Prussia Town Center at the Village at Valley Forge

Landscape Architecture by LandDesign, Inc.


Opened in summer 2016, the King of Prussia Town Center development was designed by the landscape architecture firm LandDesign, Inc. The 20-acre downtown area is part of a 122-acre master planned community with shopping, dining, and housing.

King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, is a suburb 30 minutes outside of downtown Philadelphia and best known over the last half-century as home to the nation's second largest indoor shopping mall. But, a new king in town is changing the retail landscape.

King of Prussia Town Center is a 20-acre outdoor shopping and dining destination. When real estate investment and management firm JBG Companies announced plans for this upscale, experiential town center and Main Street for the 122-acre master-planned Village at Valley Forge mixed-use community, Philadelphia Magazine called it "a risky bet." However, the merchandizing strategy for this destination - focused on dining, and outdoor experiences and events - proved to be what the region was lacking.

LandDesign worked with JBG to create the perfect "sweet spot" between maximizing the retail square footage and designing an extraordinary open space and pedestrian experience that draws people to the town center and makes them feel like part of a community.



There are several water features on the plaza. On the west side, a small (lower intensity) fountain provides visual and audible animation adjacent to the grove (inset). Bubbling fountains are set into the triangular area marked with boulders, though they are not running in this photo. On the east side of the plaza, a larger interactive fountain animates the plaza in the summer months and features a series of jets and stepping stone pools to provide an interactive experience.
Photos: The JBG Companies

The spine of the Town Center is the tree-lined Main Street that provides a pleasant walking experience, animated by a variety of storefronts. Trees include 'Red Sunset' maples, paper birches, eastern redbuds, and 'Maidenhair' trees. The design strategy maximizes the vibrancy of the exterior spaces with outdoor dining terraces, a variety of comfortable seating options, and a sustainable landscape palette selected to provide year-round color and texture complemented by colorful storefront planters featuring seasonal plant material.

At the heart of the Town Center are two public plazas - the Grove and the Esplanade - that create the feel of a community town square with a variety of gathering options for visitors to enjoy; both sunny spots and shaded nooks to sit and relax, dine and actively play. The adjacent plazas and sidewalks smoothly transition to the street, which can be closed for larger special events, such as a farmer's market, art festivals and concerts, to maximize the adaptability of the space.


The region's largest public fireplace is divided into three 20' long sections. Etched glass and weather steel enclose the linear burner element. Masonry benches on either side of each segment invite visitors to sit and enjoy the warmth.

The Grove is an intimate space with dappled shade, surrounded by outdoor dining terraces and anchored by the largest public fireplace in the region. Custom-designed by LandDesign, the unique 60-foot fire wall has a sculptural feel that invites guests to enjoy its warmth and glow in colder months with integrated lighting elements that extend its place-making function in the summer months. It is broken into three 20' long segments, each with a central burner sheathed in glass and steel. The sensory experience is enhanced by the textures of the stone and metal base materials. The Esplanade is an open space designed to be enjoyed in all seasons, and features an expansive lawn and interactive water feature with animated effects that periodically change for the celebration of various holidays. This gathering space was designed with the infrastructure necessary for a seasonal ice rink to extend its true placemaking charm year-round.

The Town Center's iconic landmark is a wooden pavilion at the corner of the Esplanade. It was designed to serve as informal seating or a concert stage, allowing for a wide variety of community activities such as movie nights and yoga classes. The pavilion is internally illuminated at night with custom designed backlit elements and cut-out metal accents that are replicated in the design of the Grove's fire feature, and repeated throughout the signage program.


The main plaza area is divided into two halves, separated by a tabletop segment of street that can be blocked off to vehicular traffic for special events. The lawn is artificial turf.

LandDesign took its cue for both landscape and hardscape choices from the industrial feel of the Town Center's architecture with its varied warm and rich material palette. The exterior experience combines concrete, pavers, stone and metal accents in horizontal and vertical treatments that supplement the architectural palette, with the occasional pop of color found in the storefront planters or other site furnishings.

The sustainable landscape design throughout the Town Center features native and drought-tolerant plant material, including mountain laurel, knockout roses, porcupine grass and common lilac, to minimize maintenance and maximize the plants' performance in the streetscape.


The center's wooden pavilion provides an informal seating area or stage. Cut out metal accents on the pavilion are reminiscent of the fire feature and area signage, unifying the space. Color changing fixtures mounted on Valmont poles provide some of the plaza's illumination.

Lighting is fully integrated as part of the exterior design, featuring transitional-style streetlight fixtures and a robust ambiance and accent lighting strategy, including tree uplighting. Added to the twinkle lights and other restaurant and outdoor dining patios, it creates another level of animation.

Named 2016 "Project of the Year" by the Philadelphia Business Journal, King of Prussia Town Center has been called "the downtown that King of Prussia has never had."... Exactly what JGB and LandDesign envisioned.


Plant Selection

As seen in LASN magazine, August 2017.

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December 10, 2019, 6:58 pm PDT

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