Philadelphia, PA / In Progress

Pitch Pine Plaza

A climate-adaptive urban plaza

This mixed-use development introduces a courtyard with both commercial and private uses. The central plaza acknowledges shifts to warmer, wetter weather in Philadelphia and puts forth a climate adapted solution: establish a pine forest as an unexpected urban ecotype. The grove utilizes the sculptural form of Pitch pines (Pinus rigida), which are the primary trees of the Jersey Pine Barrens. The plaza’s microtopography undulates across the planted island in a “pit-and-mound” formation with sandy soils, creating small vernal pools during rain events. The forest is overlaid with social “pods” for gathering or quiet moments, formed with flush ash-wood decking and woven light pendants. Customized benches are made from 40-year-old reclaimed hardwood timber, placed in angles and tiered arrangements so residents and visitors have a variety of places to sit within the forest.

A roof deck overlooking the Philadelphia skyline is an expansive perennial field, infused with homeopathic forbs such as calendula, chamomile, mint, hyssop, yarrow, dill, and sage. The deck is centered around a custom overhead shade structure, and will include outdoor kitchens, lighting, lounges, and overlook areas.