Launch Slideshow

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An Urban Garden in Philadelphia

An Urban Garden in Philadelphia

  • Otto Architects designed the 12-by-17-foot Urban Garden in Philadelphia's Northern Liberties neighborhood. The project's builder was Buckminster Green.

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    Otto Architects designed the 12-by-17-foot Urban Garden in Philadelphia's Northern Liberties neighborhood. The project's builder was Buckminster Green.

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    Sam Oberter

    Otto Architects designed the 12-by-17-foot Urban Garden in Philadelphia's Northern Liberties neighborhood. The project's builder was Buckminster Green.

  • The Urban Garden transforms a home's lackluster backyard into a landscaped patio complete with a red, reclaimed-metal bartop by Gatski Metal.

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    The Urban Garden transforms a home's lackluster backyard into a landscaped patio complete with a red, reclaimed-metal bartop by Gatski Metal.

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    Sam Oberter

    The Urban Garden transforms a home's lackluster backyard into a landscaped patio complete with a red, reclaimed-metal bartop by Gatski Metal.

  • Pieces of graffiti-covered wood, salvaged from an old water tower, clad the bases of the built-in benches.

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    Pieces of graffiti-covered wood, salvaged from an old water tower, clad the bases of the built-in benches.

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    Sam Oberter

    Pieces of graffiti-covered wood, salvaged from an old water tower, clad the bases of the built-in benches.

  • Principal Joshua Otto, AIA, LEED AP, also used the salvaged wood to house built-in planters. A galvanized wire-mesh trellis supports climbing greenery.

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    Principal Joshua Otto, AIA, LEED AP, also used the salvaged wood to house built-in planters. A galvanized wire-mesh trellis supports climbing greenery.

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    Sam Oberter

    Principal Joshua Otto, AIA, LEED AP, also used the salvaged wood to house built-in planters. A galvanized wire-mesh trellis supports climbing greenery.

  • The client, Keith Pizer, with the reclaimed wood before construction. Provenance Mill Works provided salvaging services.

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    The client, Keith Pizer, with the reclaimed wood before construction. Provenance Mill Works provided salvaging services.

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    Courtesy Otto Architects

    The client, Keith Pizer, with the reclaimed wood before construction. Provenance Mill Works provided salvaging services.

  • Custom stainless steel planters fabricated by Shift_Design contain laser-cut quotes.

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    Custom stainless steel planters fabricated by Shift_Design contain laser-cut quotes.

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    Courtesy Otto Architects

    Custom stainless steel planters fabricated by Shift_Design contain laser-cut quotes.

  • A floor plan of the Urban Garden. The L-shaped bar hides unsightly HVAC equipment.

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    A floor plan of the Urban Garden. The L-shaped bar hides unsightly HVAC equipment.

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    Courtesy Otto Architects

    A floor plan of the Urban Garden. The L-shaped bar hides unsightly HVAC equipment.

  • A close-up look at the tagged cedar boards.

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    A close-up look at the tagged cedar boards.

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    Courtesy Otto Architects

    A close-up look at the tagged cedar boards.

  • A vintage nozzle salvaged from a gas station sprays water from a 75,000-gallon rainwater catchment tank, also by Shift_Design.

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    A vintage nozzle salvaged from a gas station sprays water from a 75,000-gallon rainwater catchment tank, also by Shift_Design.

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    Sam Oberter

    A vintage nozzle salvaged from a gas station sprays water from a 75-gallon rainwater catchment tank, also by Shift_Design.

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Even the smallest projects can benefit from a little design expertise. Otto Architects’ Urban Garden, completed last summer, takes a barren 12-by-17-foot backyard in Philadelphia and turns it into a gracious outdoor room. Vines irrigated with captured rainwater cover the 6-foot-high walls, while salvaged, graffiti-covered boards clad the vertical surfaces of built-in planters, seating, and a metal-topped bar.