The Radian

October 25, 2007
Penn to Sprout Down-to-Earth Green Roof
Violet Law, Architectural Record
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October 25, 2007

Most green roofs are located out of sight and beyond reach, but the future tenants of a residential and retail project now under construction in Philadelphia will get to enjoy a green roof designed to serve as both a garden and a storm-water treatment system.

The roof will be located atop the ground-floor retail podium of the The Radian, a 154-unit privately owned student housing-complex on the University of Pennsylvania's Philadelphia campus.Ringed by dense plantings of black-eyed Susans and other flowering species, the space is located next to an outdoor dining area.

"Our goal is to make it approachable and put it in people's face so that they understand the environmental value," says David McHenry, AIA, of Erdy McHenry Architecture in Philadelphia and the project's lead architect. "It's functional, and there is an educational component to it."

The 12,000-square-foot green roof, which covers 20 percent of the The Radian's total footprint, was designed primarily to satisfy the city's storm water control regulations. Special drains will capture runoff from impervious sections of the terrace, funneling it into an irrigation system for the plants. Locally based Pennoni Associates is responsible for the landscaping and engineering, while Roofscapes, a green-roof specialist also of Philadelphia, is providing technical assistance.

Although the The Radian's developer, University Partners, is not seeking LEED certification, the project's other sustainable features include a prefabricated rain-screen wall-panel system. The facade patterning responds to the varied size of the dwelling units and thus helps reduce the massing of the 14-story tower. Construction is scheduled to finish in August 2008.

May 25, 2007
Construction Begins on 14-story, 150-unit Apartment Community on 3900 Block of Walnut Street
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PHILADELPHIA — In conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania, University Partners, a developer of student housing, has begun construction on The Radian in the 3900 block of Walnut Street.

Scheduled to open in August 2008, the $50 million-plus building will feature a 14-story, 150-plus unit apartment community as well as more than 40,000 square feet of street- and mezzaninelevel retail. Its construction will include environmentally friendly energy features.

The Radian's name is based on its angular-design feature created by Philadelphia-based Erdy McHenry Architecture LLC. The building’s “green” features will include a storm water drainage system recognized by the Philadelphia Water Department for innovative design and energyefficient roof construction.

“The renaissance of University City continues with The Radian, which will create a student apartment amenity at the intersection of campus and 40th Street, bringing enhanced vibrancy to both,” said Penn Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli. “This project is indicative of Penn’s commitment to engage locally in building communities and investing in job creation and economic development. We are pleased to be partnering with University Partners to bring new housing and retail, as well as a first class design, to Penn.”

“Through our collaborative partnership with Penn, we hope to provide students with a unique opportunity to live, study, work and play in a state-of-the-art community that will meet their every need,” said Mark Riley, managing director-investments for University Partners. “We believe that The Radian will set a new standard for future student housing developments by University Partners.”

Other development partners for The Radian include engineering firms Cagley Harman " Associates (structural), PHY Consulting Engineers (mechanical), Pennoni Associates (civil) and Blackstone Consulting (environmental).

Additional information about the project is available at