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Planning for art at Bartram's Garden—the keystone site for connecting lower Schuylkill River landscape to the region.

Since the early 2000s, the lower Schuylkill River area has been a focus of regenerative efforts. Its emerging identity as both a destination and a recreational conduit is a success story of collaboration between recreational enthusiasts, neighborhood organizations, industry, academic institutions and philanthropic investment. Long ago, when I worked at Margie Ruddick Landscape, I helped develop the landscape plan for the central portion of the lower Schuylkill River trail. My fondest memory of the project is building a scale model of the site from South Street to the Vine Street Expressway using a CNC machine to carve a topographic base in foam and good old modelmaking skills to create buildings and bridges in basswood by hand. This was my first involvement with planning on the lower Schuylkill, and every year since I have worked on at least one project in this area. So, when the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation at Drexel University approached me to help them develop the maps and report for Art@Bartram's, the answer was obviously yes!

Bartram's Garden, a National Historic Landmark and America's oldest surviving botanical garden, relishes its rich horticultural heritage. However, the rusting infrastructure of the Industrial Revolution along its edges and the physical barriers of commuter and cargo railways stymie its wide recognition as a welcoming and verdant respite for Philadelphians. But, given the extraordinary momentum of the Lower Schuylkill trail development and planning investment—particularly the anticipated openings of Bartram's Mile in Spring 2016 and the the Swing Bridge in 2017—Bartram's Garden is poised to be a keystone of the Lower Schuylkill landscape, reconnecting the riverbanks, trail networks and communities of southwest Philadelphia to center city and the greater Philadephia region.

Art@Bartram's is a framework for artmaking along Bartram's Mile and around Bartram's Garden. It is an action plan for the implementation of a public art program to increase the recognition of Bartram's Garden as another extraordinary oasis in Philadelphia with the unique capacity to connect disparate landscapes.

The report uses rich, vibrant and immersive images against clean text on a stiff grid to tell the story of this study. The sturdy, academic Miller font is balanced by even-steven Futura and modern, energetic colors. In the Context section, illustrated and annotated timelines highlight the three historic eras that have shaped Bartram's Garden. Aerial diagrams using base photography from Google Earth Pro and Landsat 7 imagery illustrate the Garden's contextual positioning and casemaking for the four art-making principles. A panoramic proportion proved to be the most comfortable dimension for the report, which was also designed to be viewed comfortably on screen and in print.

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In college, I studied industrial design at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, for its aspirations to create beautifully useful things and for its focus on how a good design process leads to a better solution.

I’ve worked at Margie Ruddick Landscape, a boutique landscape design office with top-notch ambition. I learned about reading landscapes, thinking spatially and designing for the ecologies of a place. I worked on projects like eco-resorts in India, vast urban waterfronts in New York City and sustainability guidelines. Studying an environment’s peculiarities—its ecology, economy, culture and ambition—taught me new ways to be a better designer.

I’ve also worked at Wallace, Roberts and Todd, LLC (WRT), where I discovered ways to integrate visual communication with planning and landscape strategies. My capabilities grew to include environmental and ethnographic research, program development, mapping and visualizations, site design, communications design and management on projects ranging from national parks to green stormwater infrastructure design. I became the first art director within the planning and urban design practice, driving the communication of complex design and planning issues from the beginning of a project through to its final documentation. My approach helped to facilitate many nationally recognized projects, and ultimately, I helped to build the planning practice to include place-branding strategies and innovative methods that broke through the traditional boundaries of planning. In 2008, I became an Associate and built the visual communications practice to include fulltime graphic design staff.

I have had an ongoing role within the industrial design program at the University of the Arts as a guest critic and lecturer, and also as an adjunct professor of two-dimensional design techniques.

In 2010, I launched my independent communications design practice, and I continue to work with pioneers in planning and design to communicate their issues and ideas.

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Get in touch! Email me at andee@andeemazzocco.com or call me at (215) 880-4406.

© 2016 Andee Mazzocco, Whole-Brained Design, LLC. Website by Andee Mazzocco with a little help from her friends.