The School

Spring 2019, Undergraduate Thesis

University of Pennsylvania

Software: Illustrator, Rhino

Public school closings is an ongoing issue in many major American cities. My thesis looks at a vacant historic school building in the Eastwick neighborhood of Southwest Philadelphia which has no current plans for reuse, because of its remote location and weak real estate market. The design proposes to adapt it to a mixed-use building that includes a community center and hotel.


Eastwick was largely demolished in the 1960s to clear way for the Urban Renewal vision, which only partially happened due to deindustrialization, depopulation and environmental issues, namely flooding. The proposal challenges the conventional mode of reuse of a distressed neighborhood school, which usually includes senior or low-income housing for government funding purposes. The hotel capitalizes on its location, halfway between two regional assets, the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge and Philadelphia International Airport. Because of its location at the lowest elevation in Philadelphia, the site will be designed to be a wetland for flood mitigation and animal and plant habitats, capitalizing on its connection to the Refuge and creating ecotourism opportunities.

the context

re-imagine the school and site

 © 2020 by Ying Luo

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