Paths, Places, and Portals: Charrette Team 2

The Master Plan for Drexel University from 2012 to the Sesquicentennial in 2041, Drexel@150, will focus not only on sites within the existing real estate portfolio to further its master planning goals, but also take advantage of the intellectual capactity and creativity of its students and faculty.  The recently concluded design charrette, Paths, Places, and Portals, yielded a treasure trove of concepts to be incorporated into the 2012 Master Plan.  A series of posts will present the work of the teams.
Team 2 examined Market Street as not only a path, but also a series of places as well as the principal portal to the Drexel campus:
Memebers of Charrette Team 2 include Lauren Serratore, Michael Magee, T.J. Barszczewski, Jim Yaw, and James Butera.

One thought on “Paths, Places, and Portals: Charrette Team 2”

  1. This proposal contains a number of exciting concepts. First and foremost is the proposed Nesbitt Green Roof Cafe Extension. Currently, our campus is highly segregated. As an engineer, I rarely need venture beyond Bossone and Main. Similarly, many design majors “live” in Nesbitt, architects have their studios split between 3201 Arch and 4th Fl Main (and no one else really uses either space), business majors use Pearlstein/Matheson and sometimes Academic/Baiada, etc. As planners and academics both recognize, food provides a wonderful common ground to allow mixing and mingling, though providing the venue is rarely enough to have such mingling occur; additional programming is needed to encourage and facilitate such interactions. But having such a venue is a start…

    The Northside Dining Terrace, as I believe its called, is a wonderful asset to campus, but its utilized almost exclusively by Freshman and the Sophomores who remain in the dorms. On the “South Side” of campus, there is the Hanz but, again, its not frequently visited by upperclassmen and/or those without meal plans. Such an extension to Nesbitt would provide a venue that is fairly somewhat central to campus and could be utilized by both upperclassmen and younger students. Having high visibility on Market street could enhance this vital entranceway to our campus, showing both our students, design aesthetic, and commitment to sustainability, etc.

    Needing less discussion, but still a distinctive piece of the proposal, is the suggestion for “sculptural branding” with the examples of three physical pillars representing the symbolic pillars of our institution: science, industry, and art. Currently, even with the giant Drexel “billboard” on the elevated rail line, its possible to drive through Market and, albeit for the swarm of students crossing the street, not realize you’re on the main campus of a prestigious university.

    The last thing on which I’ll comment is the suggested re-imaging of the quad based upon an “oval” design aesthetic. I feel that, much like the pyramid lights between the Main Building/Paul Peck and Matheson/Disque, this is quite contrary to Drexel’s primary design aesthetic. Drexel’s campus is based largely around triangular and rectangular shapes (eg, the Fountain currently in the Quad or the Bossone building), and the reshaping into a oval doesn’t seem like an idea very consistent with this theme.

    In general, the suggestions for transformations along Market Street are excellent, from the bus shelters to the green and communal spaces. All in all, I feel its a good proposal.

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