Mantua Design Build

The Mantua Design Build for Mantua Presbyterian Apartments was a 2-term community outreach design build course, led by Professor D.S. Nicholas of Drexel University. This landscape refurbishment consisted of the creation of an urban garden that would create a therapeutic oasis for the senior residents. The goal was to create a useful and aesthetically pleasing space to provide the residents with therapeutic benefits by getting them to enjoy time outside more frequently.

meeting collaboration build


The course involved 19 students from various design disciplines, including architecture, interior design and product design, working in teams to create the space. The students collaborated with faculty, clients and consultants, and used biomedical engineering research to learn about the effects the garden would have on aging. As part of Drexel’s outreach initiative, the project included designing and coordinating a garden and building furniture and planters. The 6-month timeline spanned two academic terms. The first term consisted of programming, design, interfacing with the community and element prototyping, followed by a second term of construction documentation, on-site construction and fabrication.

The completion of the project resulted in a refurbished landscape consisting of a garden and outside furniture, which would motivate the seniors to be more active and enjoy their time outdoors.

Press + Publicity

Drexel NOW “Drexel Students Design Urban Garden for West Philadelphia Senior Housing Community” –
The Philadelphia Tribune “Urban Garden an Oasis in Mantua” –


D.S. Nicholas: Project Director, Lead Faculty

Andrew Cronin: Adjunct Faculty


Ardinger, Kevin; Arzayus, Blanca; Bryan, Caroline; DeStefano, Elena; Goodman, Kathryn; Luu, Valerie; Mastony, Ashlie M.Acker, Kyle J.; Brown, Daniel E. ; Emory, Samuel J.; Golden, David J.; Gross, Brittany L.; Malawski, Kevin C.; Mcdonough, Nicholas W.; Solomonic, Jordan D. ; Stein, Alyssa M.; Tapia-Vergara, Darinel; Vargas, Miguel A.

Mayfield Gardens/Harry Hoplamazian: Donor/Planting and Paving Contractor

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