The Philadelphia Water Department wanted a 3 million gallon sewer overflow tank. Neighbors wanted maintenance of current community recreational space. Now, landscape architecture firm Andropogon has split the difference for Philadelphia residents concerned with the fate of Lower Venice Island. Using high performance landscape design, the firm has envisioned the 5-acre island between the Schuylkill River and the Manayunk Canal as a space for both water maintenance and for community promenade and play.
In collaboration with the Philadelphia Water Department and the Manayunk Development Corporation, designs for the stretch of Philadelphia waterfront are “fluid” in their “integration of both uses of the area,” describes the city’s Grid Magazine. Andropogon renders the land still with an EPA-mandated sewer overflow basin, but combines active and passive landscape design to provide additional function as a public green space.
This intelligent planning sees the landscape with its water-locked environment in mind. Solutions for stormwater retention and wastewater overflow are incorporated into the design. Gardens and children’s water features run along a central, lighted pedestrian walkway, which also manages the flow of rainwater. A 250-seat performing arts center by Buell Kratzer Powell is raised 7 feet above the island’s floodway and plans for riverbank restoration further protect the area as a space for community recreation.
Transforming a water development project to enhance a public play area, Andropogon’s sustainable landscape design serves both sides of the Venice Island debate.