PennPraxis

Group of people in black standing on staircase next to relief wall

Photo: Eric Sucar

When architect and faculty member Scott Erdy needed a centerpiece for the lobby at the new Middletown Free Library, which his firm transformed from an abandoned school building into a multi-generational community center, he turned to Associate Professor of Architecture Andrew Saunders and students in the Master of Science in Design: Robotics and Autonomous Systems (MSD-RAS) program. Designed and fabricated at the Weitzman Robotics Lab, the relief wall celebrates creative exploration and the Library’s new makerspace.
a group of young people huddle around a green architectural model

Photo Gaja Papa for The Fresh Air Fund

Lori Kanter Tritsch and William P. Lauder, University of Pennsylvania Trustee, create a new program for PennPraxis, the practice arm of the Weitzman School
A man gestures to a drawing with two young people outside a brick building

Photo Huiyi An

A new initiative at Weitzman called Studio+ brings together faculty members and students in architecture, landscape architecture, historic preservation, fine arts, and city planning to elevate and reimagine the role of public-school buildings in collaboration with several West Philadelphia schools. “What we’re trying to do is propose new interventions to the problem of school facilities in Philadelphia,” Assistant Professor of City Planning Akira Drake Rodriguez says.
Car headlights and taillights on elevated highway weave between office and apartmentbuildings
Faculty member and PennPraxis researcher Michael Fichman is proposing the creation of a Nighttime Economy Office within Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce. It's just one of the findings of a new report from an Arts and Culture Task Force set up by the City Council to sort through the threats to the city’s creative economy and make recommendations for how the city’s approach could be improved. 
A woman in black attire stands on an outdoor staircase with the museum in the background

Courtesy Monument Lab

With its new augmented-reality app, called OverTime, Monument Lab, the public art and history studio that grew out of research at the Weitzman School, is hoping to provide a more immersive way of experiencing public space. The app, which launched on March 31 with a prototype tour on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, “offers educational, self-guided tours of a public space by unearthing the multiple layers of history, meaning, and interpretation.”
A group of women dressed in white uniforms pose for a 1934 photograph.

Courtesy Franklin D. Roosevelt Library & Museum

As Americans navigate the pandemic and economic downturn, elected officials and activists alike have called for ambitious new public initiatives the likes of which we have not seen since the 1930s.
Woman speaks to man at outdoor table

Photo Katie Levesque

This spring, PennPraxis, the center for applied research, outreach, and practice at Weitzman, helped launch a new program for emerging leaders in Kennett Square. Created in partnership with the Square Roots Collective, an organization that supports nonprofit and small-business entrepreneurs in the area, this is just the latest in a series of programs and partnerships PennPraxis has taken on in that area. “The goal of the program was to invite new voices and leadership into the spaces and conversations that affect the public realm, policies, and amenities in the communities in which they live,” says Julie Donofrio, PennPraxis’s managing director.
View of Lincoln Memorial across water

Photo Randall Mason

The Lincoln Memorial is one of the most recognized sites in the United States, and the opportunity to work on it “as good as it gets when you go into preservation and architectural history,” says Molly Lester, associate director of
Birdseye view of grassy site with red-roofed L-shaped structure

Photo Kwesi Daniels

Launched last fall, Weitzman’s Center for the Preservation of Civil Rights sites is fostering new and ongoing partnerships while preserving the legacy of civil rights in the U.S.
Shoreline view of urban river with bridge in the distance and boulders in the foreground

Still from a PWSA video, American Infrastructure

PennPraxis, the consulting and community engagement arm of the Weitzman School of Design, and the The Water Center at Penn have been engaged by the
South facade of the Pennsylvania Hospital's Pine Street building

Courtesy Penn Medicine

Pennsylvania Hospital has been in continuous operation at the current site in Philadelphia’s Society Hill neighborhood since 1755. Recently, the hospital commissioned a Conversation Management Plan from the Center for Architectural Conservation to help guide planning and upgrades for the Pine Street building, grounds and collections; it's being developed by Kecia Fong (MSHP‘99), a lecturer in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, and Starr Herr-Cardillo (MSHP‘17).
Rendering of a quarry transformed into a park
On Friday, August 28, as part of the Weitzman School’s New Student Orientation, teams of Design Fellows described the work they engaged in over the summer. One team of four Fellows worked under the leadership of Ellen Neises (MLA’02), adjunct associate professor of landscape architecture and executive director at PennPraxis, to re-imagine a former slate quarry as a heritage park linked to a growing trail system in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley.

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