Penn State University Brandywine Orchard Hall
Media, PA

The landscape design for Penn State Brandywine’s Orchard Hall defines a new precinct for the campus. The setting, at the woods’ edge downhill from the central green, is distinctive for its views of the natural landscape and the dramatic contrast of archtecture and mature forest trees. Notwithstanding the expanse of this part of the campus, Roofmeadow’s design created meaningful connection across the back of the library and up to the main campus area. Outdoor spaces were placed where they can be seen by upper parts of campus helping to draw visitors and students through the landscape via a curving walk that highlights its woods’ edge setting. Walkways are located to weave a clear and coherent journey for pedestrians while discretely providing access for move-in day operations and emergency service. The landscape design enhances the picturesque quality of the woods edge while integrating rain gardens for sustainable stormwater management.

The landscape design made a special effort to preserve mature trees, including two large oaks that frame the front entry view of Orchard Hall for visitors arriving along the perimeter campus drive. Tree protection measures were carefully integrated into the landscape topography design, the hardscape detailing, and and the planning for construction operations. The landscape and architectural designs highlight the views of the landscape from the main interior spaces. Planting selections place special emphasis on the seasonal interest from fall through early spring. Discussion and input from the grounds staff regarding resources and maintenance practices were a key part of the design process, contributing to a landscape plan that is both elegant and maintainable.