Author: Eliza Pennypacker

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Penn State University Presents Stormwater Management as Artful Rainwater Design

Stormwater management as art? Absolutely. Artful Rainwater Design, a green infrastructure design event that celebrates rain, brought together faculty, students and eco-enthusiasts for a symposium sharing innovative ideas for capturing stormwater runoff. The event was hosted by Penn State University’s Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture

‘Artful Rainwater Design’ (ARD) is an approach to stormwater management that combines the best of green infrastructure with placemaking that celebrates rain.  ARD employs the latest ideas in stormwater treatment to ensure that runoff is cleaned, controlled, and reused; and it does so in a landscape that educates, entertains, and enlightens, making sure that people recognize rain as a resource, not a waste product.  What’s not to love about this cutting-edge strategy to manage and recognize rain?


At Penn State, landscape architecture faculty members Stuart Echols and Eliza Pennypacker have been studying ARDs across the United States since 2005, gleaning from built works a range of useful ideas to inspire and inform designers of future ARDs.  They’ve written and presented nationwide on the subject, and are currently writing a book.  Their hope is to broadcast this idea as widely as possible to promote ARDs as the next wave of sustainable stormwater management because, as Pennypacker says, “For a design to truly be sustainable, people have to love it.  Artful rainwater design not only does the right thing environmentally, it creates beautiful, memorable experiences focused on the benefits of rain.”

As part of the quest to spread the word on ARD, Pennypacker hosted an Artful Rainwater Design symposium at Penn State in April 2013.  She invited 12 experts in ARD from across the US, asked each to give a TED talk-style presentation, professionally videotaped the talks, and posted them to YouTube.  All the videos are now available for your viewing pleasure. Check out the project images from on the students’ tumblr, and watch the presentations of the works in action here



Lead Image by Tom Liptan; Penn State Ridge and Valley Terrace by Stacy Levy; Photo by Frederick Weber

10th@Hoyt by Koch Landscape Architects; Photo by Alejandro Barragan, Unleashed Vision

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