After nearly two and a half years of construction, the Upper Courtyard Garden at the University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has reopened.
Located at 3260 South St., the museum's garden was uprooted as part of the first $10 million phase of the Museum's Future Air-conditioning Renovation and Expansion construction project, for which 20,000 square feet of interior space below the garden was carved out.
The garden -- now replete with new plants, grass, restored statues and a reflecting pool -- was redesigned to model the original 1899 formal Italianate-style plan conceived by architects Wilson Eyre and Frank Miles Day.
According to Art History professor Ann Brownlee, project liaison for the construction project, the garden is not simply an add-on, but an integral part of the museum.
Brownlee considers the museum to be "one of the most important architectural monuments in the city."
The new space below the garden will house a mechanical room which will air-condition the entire building.
In addition, the space will be used for offices and storage, and skylights flanking three sides of the courtyard will provide these rooms with natural light.
While the new garden reflects the spirit of the original plan, it has been altered somewhat -- by, for example, the inclusion of electrical outlets -- to make it suitable for outdoor events.
Brownlee added that a wedding has already been held in the garden.
She said that the garden was once heavily used, and she hopes that the addition of benches will encourage even more visitors.
The construction of two ramped walkways renders the garden accessible to the handicapped, as well.
"When you're there, I don't think you're aware that you're on a roof," landscape architect Julie Regnier said, adding that the garden is a serene escape from the city, as well as a great picnic spot.
Christopher Allen & Julie Regnier Landscape Architecture collaborated with Michael Lane of Hillspring Landscape Architecture on the garden.
The garden "is one of the oldest green spaces here at the University," according to Museum Director Richard Leventhal.
Leventhal added that these efforts are important given that green spaces are needed in an urban setting.
However, before the renovation of the entire museum -- in which each room will be air-conditioned -- can take place, Leventhal said that the museum intends to create a master plan for the whole complex.
He hopes that the next phase of the plan will be implemented in the next five years.
Brownlee is glad to have the museum "back in a new and beautiful form," adding that as a signature part of the museum, the garden was missed over the last few years.
The garden can be accessed when the museum is open. Entrance is free for Penn students.Comments powered by Disqus
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