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An exhibition showcasing student designs and inviting new visions for Philadelphia’s former railroad.
An exhibition showcasing student designs and inviting new visions for Philadelphia’s former railroad.
104 backers pledged $6,165 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

above l below l beyond ::: futures for a former railroad project video thumbnail
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$6,165

104

What is this ?

above | below | beyond is an exhibition of landscape architecture and architecture student designs, inspired by Philadelphia's three mile unused railroad corridor.

Who are we?

We're Diana Fernandez (Temple '12), Amy Syverson (Temple '12) and Susan Kolber (UPenn '12), and we learned about Philadelphia’s three mile long dormant railroad through our senior design studios. We loved thinking of what the railroad could become: a sculpture park? a bike path? a concert & arts venue? an ice-skating rink? a nursery? memorial grounds? or, maybe, all of the above?

What are we up to?

We want to show our studios' work, sharing our in-depth analysis of the railroad’s location, history, and ecology with Philadelphians (and internet users, who have similar urban conditions in their towns) We want to highlight the creativity the space provoked, and encourage people to consider and invent their own possibilities for the railroad and other disused urban infrastructures. 

So we're putting together an exhibition, opening this October 12th 2012!

view from the railroad
view from the railroad

Why is this unused railroad so great?

1. It's BIG: it's three miles long, and runs from Boat House Row, under Pennsylvania Avenue (near where all the great museums are), through Callowhill and into Chinatown. Think of walking all the way from the Schuylkill River Park to 9th street - without ever crossing the street! 

2. It's OLD: It's been around since the 1890s! And it's on Monopoly boards - it was part of the Reading Railroad.  

3. It's UNIQUE: It offers unique urban conditions: it is underground AND elevated. Imagine: a cool place to hang in the summers and a warm spot for chilly winters.

4. It's a JUNGLE: Hundreds of different plants took over while no one was watching. It's an ecological haven and it's really fun to explore. Let us take you on a tour! [watch the video, above, for the full experience]

5. It's HERE: and no one is using it. Isn't that a shame?

Why support this exhibition

This railroad has an incredible history and potential for an amazing future. Several organizations have been working on plans to redevelop the site, and students from many Philadelphia universities have been re-inventing the three mile corridor for nearly a decade - yet few people know about it! We want to introduce the site to a broader audience, through the lens of student work. 

There is so much research and so many ideas about what this Philadelphia railroad could be. We want to share the process, the information, the ideas and most importantly: get people excited about this amazing unused urban space!

Temple University and University of Pennsylvania Student Designs
Temple University and University of Pennsylvania Student Designs

Where and when will the exhibition be held?

above | below | beyond will run from October 12th through November 30th, 2012.

Opening Night: Friday, October 12th 2012 from 6 to 10 p.m, at Next American City (2816 West Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA).

Next American City is a wonderful non-profit organization dedicated to connecting cities and the people who work to improve them. Their team kindly shared their office and gallery space for the exhibition.

Why $5,850 for an exhibition?

All the funds will go towards the exhibitions expenses:

  • Printing large maps, renders, graphics, and photographs
  • A sculptural model of the Viaduct for the gallery window 
  • Lighting for the exhibition space
  • Posters and postcards
  • Creating base-maps to invite new ideas
  • A gallery catalog / site design guidebook

 It all adds up! 

Please, help us go above, below & beyond to make this exhibition, and, one day, Philadelphia's unused railroad, a reality!

view looking looking north from 12th street and Vine
view looking looking north from 12th street and Vine

Many Thanks To:

PS: We have a website, and we're on Facebook, Twitter ( @abovebelowrail) & Pinterest - join us, we'd love to hear from you!

Risks and challenges

We have such big ideas for the development of this railroad and a lexicon of information to disperse, but our reach is limited by our resources. We need all the help we can get!

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FAQ

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    A special thanks ! Your name & a link of your choice on our website.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    A beautiful email invitation to the opening reception on October 12th in Philadelphia! And a special thanks, of course.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A digital download package with exhibition material, images and videos of the railroad, plus a beautiful email invite to the opening & a special thanks.

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    16 backers
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    A 4x6 print of a photograph of the railroad, mailed right to you & all the above!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A 30 minute guided group street side tour of the railroad and a photograph of you at the site! As always, you also get an email invite & a special thanks.

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    Limited 10 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    A signed & printed exhibition catalog, shipped to your lovely home or office. You're also, clearly, invited to the opening and will get a special thanks!

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    Limited 6 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    A large format map of the railroad & a signed, printed exhibition catalog. It goes without saying that you're also invited to the opening and deserve a special thanks!

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    Limited 12 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    A private guided tour of the railroad + your very own signed catalog + a unique photograph of your visit to the site. And come to the opening and see your name on the website!

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    A picnic and a private guided tour of the railroad + a copy of Temple University's 400 page landscape architecture senior design studio book + a unique framed photo of the site + be our guest of honor at the opening + a very special thanks!

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    Limited 2 backers
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Funding period

- (21 days)