Landscape Architect & Specifier News

JUN 2017

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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June 2017 51 Penn State Berks is a Pennsylvania State University campus in Spring Township, Berks County, with an enrollment of approximately 2,900 students. The college (est. 1958) is on 258 acres next to Gring's Mill Recreation Area, just south of Reading Regional Airport. "First Impressions, Lasting Memories" was the theme embraced by the Penn State Berks community as the landscape architects of Derck & Edson began discussions about the core campus walkways. Specific project priorities included: • Unifying the campus through walkways • Showcasing the beauty of the campus • Respecting the hydrological heritage of the site • Accommodating existing vehicular and emergency access in pedestrian-centric spaces, lighting, safety and sustainability. The Perkins Plaza portion of the design graces the space between the Perkins Student Center and the Thun Library, creating a formal entry to the sweeping walkways. The design for Perkins Plaza combines four varieties of limestone from Pennsylvania and Indiana, three blends of granite from New York, and large basalt fountain columns from the state of Washington. Striking a balance between intensive use of plant material and maintenance concerns on a higher education campus are further intensified at Penn State Berks, since the campus is regularly used for plant identification classes and for special events hosted by the Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association (PLNA). The solution was to create some intensive areas to showcase plant materials, while accentuating design elements. Storm water and water quality issues were addressed with a landscape buffer/filter using riparian plants in rain gardens surrounding storm water inlets. The large lawn is the ideal spot for storm water recharge. The acreage now occupied by the campus was once a significant portion of the watershed that drained into local waterways. This is evident at Perkins Plaza in the walkway and planting design, with flowing layered landscape beds intermingling with the paths, as if flowing downhill to the plaza level, then continuing on its way. The new seeded lawn was previously an impervious hardscape. After removing the material, the soil was tilled to a 2' depth with specialized equipment to combat compaction. Amendments and retilling left the soil loamy to benefit storm water infiltration. Landscape Architecture by Derck & Edson, Lititz, Pa. Lasting First Impressions Perkins Plaza, Penn State Berks Memories Above: Derck & Edson custom-designed the louvered sunshade structure to offer shade and still allow airflow. It is fabricated from aluminum by Mitchell Metals of Symrna, Ga. .

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