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Now, 50 years later, climate change is fundamentally altering the world around us, sometimes in irreparable ways. Recognizing the urgency for action, the Stuart Weitzman School of Design inaugurated the Ian L. McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology this June. This new center for education and research will build on the School’s position as a global leader in urban ecological design, and advance the development of “practical, innovative ways of improving the quality of life in the places most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.”
A rich array of unique programming accompanying the Center’s opening has taken shape under the updated moniker, “Design With Nature Now”—including:
A two-day conference at Penn on June 21-22, highlighting novel approaches to contemporary landscape design and featuring more than two dozen speakers from across the U.S. and beyond
The opening of a series of public exhibitions on campus, exploring the work of McHarg and other environmentally conscientious designers
The upcoming publication of a new book, titled Design With Nature Now, featuring essays written by many of the conference’s participants
“The ‘now’ means that there’s hope, there’s hope for the planet,” Steiner says. “We can address serious issues like climate change and the loss of biodiversity and growing cities, and that there’s hope for the next generation.”
The Penn Museum is undergoing its most extensive renovation in a century. The first phase of its ambitious Building Transformation Campaign is currently underway, including plans for re-imagined gallery spaces, a restored Harrison Auditorium, and a redesigned Main Entrance Hall—all slated to open to the public this November.
Visitors entering the bright new hall will be greeted by an object that Julian Siggers, Williams Director of the Penn Museum, refers to as the Museum’s “unofficial mascot.” The Sphinx of Ramesses the Great, a 12.5-ton granite sculpture known to be the sixth-largest ancient Egyptian Sphinx in the world, will take pride of place in this newly renovated space.
The Sphinx of Ramesses the Great, pictured in 2017 in the Penn Museum’s former Lower Egyptian Gallery.
For nearly a century, the Sphinx has fascinated and inspired guests from within the dramatic setting of the Museum’s former Lower Egyptian Gallery—a space that many believed would be its permanent home, due to the sheer size of this ancient artifact (the lower gallery is closed for the conservation of monumental artifacts in preparation for new Egypt and Nubia Galleries, targeted to open in 2022). But after more than a year of careful planning, Museum staff this month executed what some thought impossible: the moving of the Sphinx to its new home in the Main Entrance Hall, currently under construction.
Watch the historic #MoveTheSphinx project come together in this behind-the-scenes video.
Over the past year, The Power of Penn Campaign has provided exciting new opportunities for alumni, parents, and friends to engage with the University—from attending events, to supporting priorities, to volunteering both on campus and regionally.