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Natural Awakenings Philadelphia

Airport Getting Green Landscape Makeover

Oct 01, 2017 08:01PM

Philadelphia International Airport and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) have chosen five finalists in a juried design competition to create a welcoming image for the Greater Philadelphia region and demonstrate Philadelphia’s prominence as America’s Garden Capital. More than 230 design firms and consultants from 30 countries applied in June.

James Corner Field Operations. The New York-based firm led the design of that city’s High Line elevated linear park and Philadelphia’s Race Street Pier. Director James Corner says, “We will ensure the project is environmentally and horticulturally extraordinary, reflective of the diverse identity of the city, feasible, phase-able and achievable.”

OLIN. The Philadelphia-based landscape architecture, urban design and planning firm has created signature landscapes in cities throughout the U.S. and abroad. Partner Eric Tamulonis says that OLIN would seek to portray the connection between “past innovations of our horticultural and civic landscape tradition and Philadelphia’s future as a resilient, green city; a metropolis defined by its horticultural excellence.”

Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects. The New York-based company has worked extensively on public and private projects in the metropolitan region. Principal Molly Bourne says, “The MNLA team seeks to celebrate the site’s attributes and enhance its natural systems.

West 8. The urban design and landscape architecture firm has offices in Rotterdam, Belgium and New York, and has created large-scale projects around the world, including the landscape at Schiphol Airport, in Amsterdam. Project manager Jelle Therry says, “We intend to use the layers of landscape and vibrant cultural fabric of Philadelphia as preface for design.”

Phyto Studio. Team leader Thomas Rainer, of the niche landscape architecture firm based in Arlington, Virginia, says, “We have to combine the very best of contemporary ecological science with the boldest and most awe-inspiring artistic and creative vision, all within a context that celebrates Philly’s gutsy, gritty and revolutionary spirit.”

Each of the five finalist teams will receive a stipend of $20,000 to develop a thoughtful, creative, environmentally appropriate concept plan and associated budget for the airport. The winning concept will be used in efforts to identify funds for design development and project implementation.

The goals of the Image Maker project are to create an iconic landscape, enhance the environmental sustainability of the airport and provide a customer-friendly arrival and departure experience. The finalist’s designs will be showcased during the 2018 Philadelphia Flower Show, Wonders of Water, from March 3 through 11 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

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