The Penn State polycultural campus is a hub of agricultural research and education that supports a robust outreach program through public spaces, a farmers’ market, and community center. The site slopes down into a central market plaza that serves as the heart of the campus. The three buildings on site are separated by program — research, education, and outreach — and are oriented towards the central plaza. The placement and design of the buildings references a “bank barn” layout, where each structure is built into the sloped site so that both the upper and the lower floors area can be accessed from ground level.
A pedestrian footbridge extends across the site to connect all three structures. A ‘sliding shed’ moves on tracks between buildings to cover various parts of the campus, allowing programming to expand and contract with the seasons. The many welcoming public spaces of the site are designed to inform and teach public visitors about the ideals of a self-sustaining local agriculture.
The parking lot that supports the market and other outreach events is made entirely of permeable paving and combines parking spaces and drives with public parks to seamlessly integrate with the site. Because the site is next to Penn State’s Beaver Stadium, the parking lot was also designed to accommodate tailgating and seasonally extend into nearby fields.