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Libraries' local walking tour highlights mid-century design, architecture

Some houses in the Robin Road neighborhood in State College, Pennsylvania. Credit: ProvidedAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State University LibrariesArchitecture and Landscape Architecture Library and Donald W. Hamer Center for Maps and Geospatial Information have partnered to craft a self-guided tour app to highlight the mid-century modern architecture of the Robin Road neighborhood in State College.

Though first laid out in the 1930s, the majority of homes on Robin Road were designed by A. William Hajjar at mid-century.

“Hajjar leveraged the opportunity designing much of the neighborhood to design homes which related to each other and the landscape while meeting the needs of individual clients,” said Laurin Goad Davis, information specialist for the Architecture and Landscape Architecture Library. Goad Davis said the aim of the tour is to help participants see how individual houses relate to both the landscape and the larger neighborhood, a vital aspect of design not easily conveyed in two dimensions. 

The walking tour uses Robin Road as a case study in using freely available, spatially aware software to expose the Libraries’ collection of Hajjar’s work in new ways.

“The Hamer Center is always exploring new geospatial technologies and this app seemed to have potential for research, teaching and outreach applications at the university,” said Heather Ross, map specialist at the Donald W. Hamer Center. “The end product makes the experience of walking through this historic neighborhood educational as well as enjoyable.”  

The tour is available at the following link in an internet browser and can be accessed through the izi.TRAVEL Audio Tours app, available through cellphone app stores. If the pilot is successful, further walking tours discussing other buildings and neighborhoods may be developed. 

For more information, contact Laurin Goad Davis at 814-865-3614 or lcg135@psu.edu.

Last Updated February 08, 2021