FloatLab

The river is never out of reach.

Designed by artist J. Meejin Yoon and Höweler + Yoon Architecture, FloatLab will be a one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art floating classroom and art space on the Tidal Schuylkill River at Bartram’s Garden in partnership with Mural Arts Philadelphia.

Concept image provided by Höweler + Yoon Architecture and Brick Visual.

Coming soon!

Coming in 2023-2024, FloatLab will be located along the Garden’s southern shoreline, parallel to the natural tidal wetlands and historic Lenni Lenape sites. FloatLab’s dramatic, ADA-compliant sloped platform allows visitors to engage directly with the river at eye level: techniques from architectural design, marine engineering, and naval architecture inform a system of eight ballast chambers below the ring-shaped walking surface, which allows FloatLab to remain consistently level and stable even as the tide moves in and out.

As a lens by which to explore the river, the higher portion of FloatLab’s loop can accommodate a full classroom visit or an arts audience, while the sloping ramp invites visitors to connect with the river on their own terms and at their own level, whether collecting water samples, taking a plein air painting class, exploring a floating garden or a freshwater mussel bed, or simply contemplating the nuances of a living, tidal river that has sustained thousands of years of human and animal life. Crucially, FloatLab’s innovative ballast system ensures that visitors can always access the river at eye level, provoking personal relationships—or, when necessary, allowing healing—with this storied river.

Sponsors

25th Century Foundation
City of Philadelphia
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Albert M. Greenfield Foundation
Institute of Museum and Library Services
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
NOAA Coastal Zone Management
William Penn Foundation
Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program

Sponsorship Opportunities

Fundraising is ongoing to ensure FloatLab’s successful completion and sustainable programming as an inviting, free community asset. We look forward to discussing ways to showcase your sponsorship through naming opportunities and other benefits. To learn more, please contact Director of Development Caroline Winschel at cwinschel@bartramsgarden.org or 215 729 5281 x104.

You may also be interested in:

Ecosystems Education Center & Freshwater Mussel Hatchery

Hands-on education alongside watershed restoration with Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.

The NESTT

Nature-focused pre-K led by Woodland Academy/Greater Philadelphia Health Action.

Field Station

A riverfront home for climate resilience and workforce development.

I'm interested in:

Biking & Walking

Birds

Boating & Fishing

Flowers, Plants & Trees

Gardening

History

Kids' Activities

Sankofa Community Farm

Southwest Philadelphia

Water Quality

Workshops, Wellness & Culture

Youth Internships

I'm interested in:

Biking & Walking

Follow the Schuylkill River Trail from the North Mile to 56th Street and beyond.

Birds

Look up! More than 100 species of birds rely on this ecosystem.

Boating & Fishing

Enjoy all that the Tidal Schuylkill River has to offer.

Flowers, Plants & Trees

See what’s blooming, find a favorite tree, and stroll the gardens and natural lands.

Gardening

Bring the Garden home! Shop for plants and grow your own food.

History

Uncover the interconnected stories of this historic site.

Kids' Activities

Join us year-round to learn, make, share, and wonder.

Sankofa Community Farm

“Go back and get it!” Growing food sovereignty with an African Diaspora focus.

Southwest Philadelphia

Resources and opportunities especially for neighbors in Southwest Philly.

Water Quality

Find our latest data on the river’s bacteria levels and recent rainfall.

Workshops, Wellness & Culture

Enjoy upcoming workshops, self-care, and events. Are you a Southwest artist? Let’s partner!

Youth Internships

Calling Southwest students: paid internships available with the river, the farm, and the trees.