PennPraxis’ design projects bring together the best minds and cutting-edge practices from students and faculty in architecture, landscape architecture and urban design—the largest disciplines at the Weitzman School. As with all PennPraxis projects, this work is grounded in place and community, and tests new tools, methodologies, and programs to simultaneously create responsive and responsible design, while also providing a format for expanded pedagogy and learning for both students and collaborating partners. Design projects range from inspired transformations of the public realm and alternative development formats, to integrating physical and policy design to imagine new architectures, research and design for climate resilience, addressing large-scale ecosystem services in both rural and urban contexts, and deploying new technology for fabrication and construction.  
Services include:
  • Landscape architecture
  • Architecture
  • Urban design
  • Energy planning and design
Landscape of cows grazing in pasture with blue skies and puffy clouds

The Farm of the Future is a series of dialogues that gathered diverse thinkers and doers to work collaboratively on opportunities to increase animal health and the sustainability of agriculture--which are interconnected with the he

Lawn chair in foreground surrounded by lush greenery in an indoor warehouse with tent in background

Fresh Air Everywhere: Virtual Design Studio was an interactive virtual course offered to 150 Fresh Air Fund youth ages 14-17, launched in the Summer of 2020. The Fresh Air Fund is a not-for-profit agency that provides life-changing summer experiences for children from New York City’s underserved communities.

Orthographic view of brickworks site on river's edge with warf, kilns, drying yard and rail access

PennPraxis is collaborating with landscape architecture office, OLIN with on-site investigations and the conceptual design of Quarry Waters Park in Kingston City, New York.

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PennPraxis is collaborating with Futurepolis in the Schematic and Design Development phases of a new campus for the Zhengzhou Institute of Finance and Economics in China's Henan Province.

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Scenic Hudson is partnering with PennPraxis to stop the power plant that is proposed at Danskammer Point, a site on the edge of the Hudson River in the town of Newburgh, NY.

Illustration showing different types of projects to help deal with flood management in rural areas along the Walkill river

In collaboration with PORT Urbanism, Ellen Neises developed an approach to the Highlands that works across many scales, from a broad communications campaign to increase understanding of rural areas and regional nature; to large-scale, multi-purpose infrastructure corridors and strategies.

 Rendering of walkway and bike path with tall grass landscape features along busy street

PennPraxis has worked with several clients and communities in the Lehigh Valley on a series of design projects, including the design of parks and civic streetscapes in the South Whitehall area of Allentown, and collaboration with 11 towns to imagine new futures for slate quarries as heritage parks and other placemaking and economic development projects.

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HUNTS POINT LIFELINES builds on assets and opportunities of regional importance, and a coalition of national leaders in community environmental action, business and labor, to create a flood protection park for a working waterfront that is a model of social, economic, and physical resilience in the poorest U.S. Congressional District.

Aerial view of Stamford future development

The South End Neighborhood Study (SENS) centered on a deep engagement process with residents and stakeholders to analyze the opportunities for growth, development, and heritage preservation in Stamford’s South End.

People having meeting.
Credit: Gilad Meron

Social Impact Projects are intended to foster more cross-disciplinary collaboration at PennDesign, encourage students to work within the community, and leverage their design ability to benefit communities in need.

Map of UPenn campus with different types of buildings labeled.

University of Pennsylvania campus building map, utility connections labeled, Carbon Action Plan Report, 2012. 

Since 2006, the Center for Environmental Building & Design (CEBD), a faculty research and consulting unit located in the School of Design, has been at the center of the University’s environmental efforts.

Many buttons with phrases on them.

Bruce Mau is internationally recognized for his achievements in design, including visual identities, brand systems, books, packaging, and exhibition graphics. His most recent work applies design tools and concepts to environmental, social, economic, and political problems.

Visualization of potential project in Fairmount Park.

In 2013, Penn Praxis was awarded funding to conduct a study to identify low-cost early actions and longer-term investments to improve connectivity to and through East and West Fairmount Park.

Map of section of Benjamin Franklin Parkway

With More Park, Less Way, PennPraxis worked with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation to recommend a series of series of actions to shape the evolution of the Parkway into a 21st century public space.

Rudimentary map of Philadelphia including green spaces.

PennPraxis is working with the City of Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation to create an action plan to help the department meet the mandate for 500 acres of new parkland set forth in Greenworks Philadelphia.