This week, West 8, in partnership with SHoP Architect, Brandywine Realty Trust and Drexel University, celebrated the opening of Drexel Square – a new 1.3-acre community park – which marks the first completed project within the visionary $3.5 billion master-planned Schuylkill Yards development in University City, Philadelphia.
Designed by West 8 and SHoP Architects, the $14.3 million park serves as the continuation of William Penn’s vision of Philadelphia’s “Public Room”—a place for people to gather, rest, and be renewed by the natural world. Conceived as an intimate, natural space within the urban environment, Drexel Square provides a clear transition from the city to a lush enclave, with 23 Meta Sequoia (Dawn Redwood) trees standing more than 25 feet tall lining the perimeter. The trees are complemented by an array of shrubs and perennials in over 9,000 square-feet of raised planted beds. Reflective of Brandywine Realty Trust’s dedication to sustainability and thoughtful design, the impressive trees and landscaping offer shaded respite, while also helping to mitigate the noise and visual impacts of the street. The elliptical green lawn, measuring more than 12,000 square feet, features an abstract graphic overlay evoking visions of the globe, while also serving as a pathway for visitors. The custom granite benches, outdoor furniture and built-in lighting features will create an inviting environment for all to enjoy.
Situated directly across from 30th Street Station at the corner of 30th and Market Streets, Drexel Square transforms a surface parking lot into a vibrant, green, community gathering space. The park is the first of several public green spaces that will eventually comprise 6.5-acres of the 14-acre Schuylkill Yards neighborhood. These greenspaces will connect 6.9 million square feet of workplace and lifestyle environments being master developed by Brandywine Realty Trust.
“We are thrilled to introduce a new park for the entire community to enjoy,” said Jerry Sweeney, President & CEO of Brandywine Realty Trust. “Schuylkill Yards is designed to create a neighborhood centered around human interaction and unique environments. Our investment in Drexel Square was the first project within the master-planned neighborhood because we understand the social, environmental, health and economic benefits that green spaces offer to communities. Drexel Square lays the foundation for what’s to come at Schuylkill Yards.”
Following an afternoon ribbon cutting ceremony, in which project partners and local dignitaries and members of the community officially celebrated the grand opening of the park, a free evening event was opened up to the community with music, food, and games designed and coded by students and teachers from K-12 schools across the Greater Philadelphia region.
Photos by Schuylkill Yards and Oval Project Management