On Monday crews removed construction fences and quietly opened Shoemaker Green, Penn’s new landscape link from Penn Park through to College Green at the historic core of the campus.
When Penn’s tennis facilities moved to Penn Park last year, the University started to rip up the old Lott Tennis Courts to make way for a new green commons designed by the landscape architecture firm Andropogon. Today Shoemaker Green is a dignified and lush replacement for the old courts, framed by Franklin Field, the Palestra, and David Rittenhouse Labs.
Andropogon designed Shoemaker Green as a pilot site for the Sustainable Sites Initiative, which will measure the performance of the landscape and serve as a test case for other campus landscape projects. Their design incorporated 100% native plants, reused building materials from the site, and decreased the amount of impervious surface by 50%. Stormwater management was also an especially important design consideration at Shoemaker Green: There are large irregularly shaped tree pits, permeable pavers, cisterns that capture stormwater for irrigation, and the large central green slopes gently toward 33rd Street where a rocky, planted rain garden will capture runoff. Beyond the lawn there are also lots of places to sit at Shoemaker Green, from your typical wooden park bench, to a mix of long wood and stone benches, and movable tables and chairs near Hutchinson Gym. I ate lunch there this week and enjoyed the view over the Green to Tod Williams and Billie Tsien’s fabulous Skirkanich Hall.
For now crews are still putting the finishing touches on Shoemaker Green , and it will officially open on September 20. Click through the photos above to see Penn’s lovely new green.