Diana Fernandez Assoc. ASLA; Susan Kolber Student Affiliate ASLA; and Amy Syverson Assoc. ASLA Undergraduate, Temple University and The University of Pennsylvania
Faculty Advisors: Stuart Appel FASLA and Lolly Tai, FASLA, Temple University; Julie Beckman and Ariel Genadt, University of Pennsylvania
The former Reading Railroad right of way extends from Boat House Row, under Pennsylvania Avenue, through Callowhill and into Chinatown. Nearly 3 miles long, the corridor runs underground in a tunnel, through an open air trench and onto an elevated trestle.
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Through a six-week open exhibit and the distribution of an “Exhibit Catalog,” Above Below Beyond has helped to spread the word about the potential of Philadelphia’s Reading Railroad as a public, regenerative space. Landscape architecture and architecture student work provided site context, graphic imaging, and programmatic scenarios. By sharing the often-untapped resource of student work with the public, we helped to start conversations about the future of this amazing railroad.
In the fall of 2012, three students, two in landscape architecture and one in architecture, collaborated to create Above Below Beyond, an exhibition of student design work inspired by Philadelphia’s Reading Railroad. Passionate about the potential of this abandoned railroad, we wanted to make years of student research, interest, and ideas inspired by the site available to the public in order to encourage the railroad’s development. Above Below Beyond was meant as a springboard and a catalyst, a conversation starter that could help spread the word about this historic infrastructure. We hoped that the often-overlooked troves of student work created about such inspiring places every year could be seen as a resource that could aid visionaries, community members and stakeholders in realizing the potential of such forgotten places.
The Above Below Beyond project culminated in a six-week open exhibit that was documented through our website, abovebelowbeyond.org, and in a run of 300 newspaper-style “Exhibit Catalogs.” Catalog copies were mailed or hand delivered to city officials, design professionals, community members, the non-profits working to promote the railroad’s development, educational institutions, and to local media outlets.
We raised $6165 for Above Below Beyond through the online crowdsourcing platform, Kickstarter.com. Over 21 days 104 backers donated between $5 and $500 each to support our cause. In return, our backers received varying prizes, including information about the site, invitations to meet with us at the exhibit, tours of the railroad corridor, exhibit catalogs, and railroad section postcards with which to share their own thoughts. The Kickstarter campaign web page was also well utilized as a quick introduction to the railroad.
Local, national and international media covered the Above Below Beyond exhibit. We were featured in ArchDaily, Inhabitat, Next City, The 34th Street Magazine, The Temple News, the Design Philadelphia Shaker and Curbed Philly.
We are continuing our efforts of promoting the development of the site through the following media outlets:
Additional Project Credits
Kate Holmquist – Next City Intern
Kira Simon-Kenndy – Kickstarter Manager
Aaron Goldblatt – Exhibit Designer
ViaductGreene – Non-profit Promoting the Development of The Former Reading Railroad in Philadelphia
WellsAppel – Landscape Architecture and Planning Firm
Temple Univeristy School of Environmental Design
University of Pennsylvania
Thanks to Temple University, Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture, School of Environmental Design
Senior Studio, Spring 2012:
W. John Keiser III
Thanks to the University of Pennsylvania Architecture Department Senior Studio, Spring 2012:
Noor Al Awadhi
Ariana Galan Montas
Ella Ye Lu
Funding was generously provided by Above Below Beyond's 104 Kickstarter Backers
Manager Kickstarter Campaign: Kira Simon-Kennedy
Directed & Video of Kickstarter Video: Warren Jones
Installers of Exhibit: Sam Beattie, Kate Jones, Kate Holmquist, Jared Dubin, Kira Simon-Kennedy,
Laura Kolber, and Harry Jarin
Exhibit, Storefront Designer & Installer: Kate Holmquist, Next City’s
Panel Discussion Event: Liz Maillie, Next City’s
Exhibit Designer & Layout: Aaron Goldblattice
Paint & Weekly Meetings Place: Wells Appel
Exhibit Marketing: Holly Bonacum
Research & Timeline Events: Patrick Whealton and Cindy Culp
Panel Speakers: Mark B. Thompson, Paul vanMeter, John Struble, Ashby Leavell, and Ariel Genadt
Panel Moderator: Diana Lind, Next City’s Executive Director and Editor in Chief
Events Concessions: Milk and Honey and Yards Brewery
Printer of Catalog: The Newspaper Club