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Erdy McHenry Architecture
915 Orianna Street
Philadelphia PA 19123
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The Radian

The Radian is a 500-bed, residential and retail center at the edge of the University of Pennsylvania’s rapidly expanding campus. The project was developed by a private developer in collaboration with the university, which owns the land. The design integrates ground-level retail, residential services, and open space into a hybrid building that not only serves its residents and the university population, but the West Philadelphia community as well.

Ground-level retail pushes back from the street to open a public space for informal gathering. The residential entrance exists along this axis and public activity extends up and under the residential tower via a grand stair. This open court aligns with an adjacent quad on the south side of Walnut Street connecting with Locust Walk. Outdoor dining options are provided at the upper terrace level and allow for glimpses onto the street.

The building skin is a pre-fabricated rainscreen wall panel system. The pre-fabrication allows for a tighter tolerance and higher construction and quality. Being manufactured off-site brings an economy to the project which could not be met with typical construction processes.

Functioning as a critical element to the success of this mixed-use development, The Radian’s green roof is located on an elevated terrace above ground-floor retail and adjacent to an outdoor dining area.  The goal for its location was to make the roof approachable and to maximize the visibility of the system in order to bring residents and users of the terrace closer to understanding its eco-value.  As a result, the roof functions as an environmental and educational amenity for the project.   The 12,000 square foot green roof covers 20% of The Radian’s total footprint and was originally designed to satisfy the city’s stormwater control regulations.