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Open Space

North Light Community Center

Simple elements enhance a community center’s play space and share lessons about the surrounding watershed and environment. A winding “rain poem path” forms a walkway, celebrates the environment, unifies the space, and serves as a memorial to a student who loved reading and poetry. A rain garden with a boardwalk manages stormwater, provides an attractive green border to the neighborhood, and supports a new environmental learning lab.

North Light Community Center (NLCC) and Manayunk Development Corporation (MDC) asked the Collaborative for a conceptual plan to enhance NLCC’s play space.  The two Northwest Philadelphia nonprofits saw potential for the play space to support the goals of MDC's Destination Schuylkill River project: celebrating life along the Schuylkill River and connecting communities to the river. 

Just a few months into the project, NLCC received a grant from KABOOM! for playground improvements. The Colllaborative’s community task force meetings helped NLCC identify construction priorities—new play equipment and an outdoor classroom pavilion—and reserve the right location for a future rain garden.

The Collaborative team returned to a dramatically different play space—tasked with tying the old and new elements together, managing stormwater, and sharing lessons about the watershed and the surrounding environment.

In their brilliant conceptual plan, a “rain poem path” winds between play and learning areas… and even up the wall at the center’s entrance. The text of the poem will form a walking path that celebrates the environment, unifies the space, and serves as a memorial to student who loved reading and poetry.

A rain garden with a boardwalk will run along the rear, Carson Street edge of the play area. It will manage stormwater, provide an attractive green border to the neighborhood, and work in tandem with a new outdoor environmental learning lab. 

 
Volunteer Design Team

Dan Meier

/
Civil Engineer

"I would love to see Mayor Nutter’s dream of making this the greenest city in the country become a reality."

Duffield Associates, Inc.
|
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Joanne Schonfeld

/
Landscape Architect, Registered

John Frondorf

/
Cost Estimator
Becker & Frondorf
|
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Katarina Dudas

/
Architectural Designer

“The Collaborative is my chance to do a broader range of project types and work with different teams.”

Zachary Cebenka

/
Landscape Architectural Designer

"I grew up in New London, Pa, where there were lots of farms, hills, and other places to explore. I want to bring that sense of possibility to the city.”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Reflects volunteers' profession and firm at time of Design Grant
Project Title
Conceptual Plan for Open Space
Sponsoring Nonprofit
Manayunk Development Corporation
Address
175 Green Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19127
Neighborhood
Manayunk
Roxborough/Manayunk
Volunteer Hours
338
Value of Pro Bono Services
$35,788
Design Grant Completed
April 24, 2015
General

Title

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