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Penn State Students Design New Education Facility
To be Located on the Grounds of a National Landmark

Penn State Students Design New Education Facility

Madison Borsos, a second-year landscape architect student in the "Studio III - Site Design" class, shows off her design proposal. Photo Credit: Penn State

Students taking the "Studio III - Site Design" class at Penn State University this fall were assigned the task of designing a new 7.5 acre educational facility located on the same grounds as the oldest surviving botanical gardens in North America.

Built in 1728, Bartram's Garden is located in Philadelphia, covers 46 acres and was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1960.

In a news post found on a Penn State website, Neil Korostoff, one of the class instructors, stated, "This is a very complex design project for an experienced landscape architect to consider let alone for second-year students to address."

The educational facility, poised to be named the Woodland Academy, aims to offer daycare and after-school programs focused on the importance of environmental preservation and nature. Additionally, the Woodland Academy will be physically connected to the 56th Street Corridor, something the students had to also keep in mind.

Penn State Students Design New Education Facility

Students of the class gather around Maitreyi Roy, the executive director of Bartram's garden, during their visit to the site in September 2018. Photo Credit: Penn State

In the aforementioned article, student Madison Borsos stated, "It all felt a little overwhelming at first, knowing that we were designing a site with so much history and culture surrounding it. However, after speaking with community members, experiencing the feel of the space and researching the needs, ecology and culture of the area, it all began to come together."

In September, the class and its fellow instructors visited Bertram's Gardens and met with community members and staff to better understand the site and the community's desires.

"Our initial meeting really made this project feel real, and it provided us with a ton of insight into the community and the goals for the project," said Borsos.

The students presented their designs to the Southwest Philadelphia community on December 5.

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August 24, 2019, 2:29 pm PDT

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