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SPRING 2017

THE STATE AND FUTURE OF PRACTICE Fabrication Workshop – The New Alternative Practice The People’s Emergency Center Gets Its First Rose Fellow Roundtable: Emerging Professionals Speak About Their Experiences


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SPRING 2017 – IN THIS ISSUE From community engagement to social conciousness to alternative career paths, we take a look at how emerging professionals flex their creative muscles and the impact they would like to make on the profession.

FEATURES 12 The Fabrication Workshop An alternative practice that exemplifies both a new business model and career path for emerging professionals.

PHOTO: CHARLES CERRONE PHOTOGRAPHY

DEPARTMENTS

16 A Rose Grows in Philly Philadelphia welcomes its first Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow to serve at the People's Emergency Center.

5 EDITOR’S LETTER 6 COMMUNITY 10 UP CLOSE 25 OPINION 27 DESIGN PROFILES 35 INDEX TO ADVERTISERS

20 Emerging Professional Roundtable: Form Follows Function A diverse group of designers and architects discuss the current state and future of the profession.

CONTEXT is published by

AIA Philadelphia A Chapter of the American Institute of Architects

1218 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 215-569-3186, www.aiaphiladelphia.com. The opinions expressed in this – or the representations made by advertisers, including copyrights and warranties, are not those of the editorial staff, publisher, AIA Philadelphia, or AIA Philadelphia’s Board of Directors. All rights reserved. Reproduction in part or whole without written permission is strictly prohibited. Postmaster: send change of address to AIA Philadelphia, 1218 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 Published APRIL 2017

ON THE COVER A sunset shot over Scout's BOK Bar located on the roof of the former Edward W. Bok Technical High School in South Philadelphia. Photo: Sam Oberter Photography AIA Philadelphia | context | SPRING 2017  3


2017 BOARD OF DIRECTORS Frank Grauman, FAIA, President Karen Blanchard, AIA, President-Elect Troy Hannigan, Assoc. AIA, Treasurer Denise Thompson, AIA, Past President | Secretary Kelly Vresilovic, AIA, LEED AP, Chapter Director Alesa Rubendall, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Chapter Director Catherine (Katie) Broh, AIA, LEED AP, Chapter Director Paul Avazier, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, NCARB, Chapter Director John B. Campbell, AIA, ARIAS, RIBA, LEED AP, Chapter Director Soha St. Juste, AIA, Chapter Director Sarah Soh, AIA, LEED AP, Chapter Director Robert Shuman, AIA, LEED AP, Chapter Director Stephen Kuttner Potts, AIA, Chapter Director Sherman Aronson, AIA, LEED AP, Chapter Director Jeff Pastva, AIA, AIA PA Director Scott Compton, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, PA Director Michael J. Fierle, Assoc. AIA, Associate Director David Golden, Assoc. AIA, Associate Director Tya Winn, Public Member Rebecca Johnson, Executive Director

S T R U C T U R E I S O U R S P E C I A LT Y / O - N . C O M

CONTEXT EDITORIAL BOARD CO-CHAIRS Harris M. Steinberg, FAIA, Drexel University

E N G I N E E R I N G G R O U P , I N C.

Todd Woodward, AIA, SMP Architects

BOARD MEMBERS Wolfram Arendt, AIA, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson William W. Braham, Ph.D., FAIA, University of Pennsylvania

E N G I N E E R I N G G R O U P , I N C.

David Brownlee, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

CIVIL ENGINEERING | STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING | PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Jon Coddington, AIA, Drexel University Susan Miller Davis, AIA Sally Harrison, AIA, Temple University Tim Kerner, AIA, Terra Studio Elizabeth Miller, Community Design Collaborative Stephen P. Mullin, Econsult Corporation Rashida Ng, RA, Temple University Jeff Pastva, AIA, JDavis Architects Richard Roark, ASLA, Olin Rachel Simmons Schade, AIA, Drexel University David Zaiser, AIA, WRA

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Elizabeth Paul, Managing Editor Laurie Churchman, Designlore, Art Director


EDITOR’S LETTER

BY JEFF PASTVA, AIA Editor and CONTEXT Editorial Committee Member

The Culture Shift of Emerging Professionals

Over the past decade, the architectural profession has seen a tectonic shift in how firms will practice in the future. There has been a move toward a more collaborative and less hierarchical firm structure, there has been a wave of technological development, and more architectural graduates are pursuing careers in practices adjacent to architecture. While this affects all architects in some fashion, the trends have been led by the emergent generations that either are dissatisfied with the status quo or are entering the profession with a substantially different skillset than existing firm leadership. Whether taken individually or collectivity, these alterations have provided opportunities for quicker advancement and for the formation of alternative practices that rely on new business models. Throughout this issue we will highlight some key people and projects in order to showcase some of what’s to come in the future of the profession. Changing the firm structure of long-established offices has not been an easy task, so emerging professionals have started where we think we can have the most impact: workplace culture. The changes have been part of a grassroots effort to foster leadership development and cater to staff needs more equitably. Two notable nationally organized groups that have led this effort are the Women in Architecture committee and Equity by Design, both of whom are more likely than not to have emerging professionals in their ranks. They have advocated primarily for a more family-friendly work-life balance, leadership opportunities for underrepresented demographics, and for advancing a more diverse workplace as a whole. The result has ranged anywhere from firms offering more flexible benefits and engaging in equitable best practices to architectural graduates seeking an entirely different path altogether. In all situations, their efforts have made the profession as a whole more inclusive and have profoundly changed how firms recruit, retain, or retrain talent. Technology has been another boon to the emergent generation. Architectural practices have often been the laggards in the tech adoption cycle. Sometimes that can be a positive thing – there is less risk involved in using tried-and-true methods instead of chasing fads. However, it also means potentially being left behind or missing out on ways to produce more work more efficiently. But we have finally reached a tipping point in software fluency. We have moved beyond CAD as the primary production tool to having candidates that know BIM, graphic layout programs, parametric modeling software, rendering plugins, and scripting languages. It has made younger staff more relevant to the success of a firm and created positions that didn’t exist ten years ago. It has also allowed young entrepreneurs to branch out from the traditional path of practice to start alternative careers that blend disciplines such as architecture, design, and fabrication. It’s an exciting time to be an architect and in the profession. There are opportunities to advance further and faster than ever before, there are career paths that satisfy a growing skillset, and firms are changing their culture to respond to modern needs. Emerging professionals have also proven that we have the design and operational chops to follow through on great projects and we will reward both firms and the profession in the process. Please enjoy the sampling of great work in this issue and encourage your younger staff to stay engaged in the process. ■ Jeff Pastva, AIA is a project architect at JDAVIS, served as YAF CONNECTION editor in chief from 2015-2016, is a board member of AIA Philadelphia and AIA Pennsylvania and is currently editing the College of Fellows Newsletter..

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COMMUNITY AIA Philadelphia

“CHANGE IS THE LAW OF LIFE. THOSE WHO ONLY LOOK TO THE PAST OR PRESENT, ARE CERTAIN TO MISS THE FUTURE.” – John F. Kennedy

Dear Friends and Colleagues: This issue of CONTEXT looks towards the future of the architecture profession through the lens of the emerging professional. Future architects and designers have tremendous opportunity and responsibility to design within the context of increasingly precarious environmental conditions, exponential population growth, and growing global socioeconomic inequality. How do we as the Academy, the Institute, and practicing professionals prepare ourselves and the emerging professionals we work with to tackle these challenges? This question is at the heart of our 2017 Strategic Planning process. The AIA must offer a compelling value proposition to emerging professionals that supports their professional development, while demonstrating the value of the profession to the public. Throughout the rest of 2017, the AIA chapter will be hosting Town Hall meetings about the future of the AIA here in Philadelphia, nationally, and globally. We will be posing questions such as: What are our values? Are our programs and initiatives reflective of those values? As you may know, AIA Philadelphia has just 1,500 members out of the 90,000 AIA members worldwide. So we are not in this alone. AIA National, as well as chapters across the country, are working very hard and thoughtfully about how our organization can reflect the values we stand for, and at the same time create value for our members. In case you

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missed it, following are some of the key value statements issued by AIA National on February 1, 2017. AIA Philadelphia’s Board and Committees will be hosting Town Hall meetings around some of these value statements:

WE STAND FOR ARCHITECTURE THAT STRENGTHENS OUR COMMUNITIES WE STAND FOR EQUITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS WE STAND FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE WE STAND FOR PROTECTING COMMUNITIES FROM THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE WE STAND FOR ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY WE STAND FOR INVESTING IN THE FUTURE

The questions I want to ask all 1,500 members: Is this what you stand for as a professional? How can AIA represent your values and advance them through programs and collaboration? What is the impact you want to have locally, nationally, and globally? Most certainly, the future of architectural practice will chart a course with or without the leadership of the American Institute of Architects. However, AIA can and does provide a very valuable forum for the voices and the imagination of our emerging professionals to help shape the version of the future they want, based on our shared values. Throughout 2017 and beyond, the future of the profession will be the focus of our strategic planning process – and emerging professionals are leading the way. I strongly encourage you to get involved and help shape the future of AIA Philadelphia. Sincerely,

Rebecca Johnson Executive Director AIA Philadelphia Center / Architecture + Design


PHOTO: STUDIO GANG

COMMUNITY

Join the Center for Architecture and Design for our 32nd Louis I. Kahn Memorial Award + Talk honoring MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang, FAIA, architect of the Aqua Tower in Chicago, the current expansion to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and the next United States Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil. Jeanne Gang, FAIA, is the founding principal of Studio Gang, an architecture and urbanism practice based in Chicago and New York. Gang works across scales and typologies to test how design can strengthen relationships between individuals, communities, and environments. Her interdisciplinary and research-driven approach has produced projects from multi-acre urban parks to super-tall towers. A recipient of the 2013 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture, Jeanne was named the 2016 Architect of the Year by the Architectural Review. Her work with Studio Gang has been honored and exhibited widely, including at the Venice Architecture Biennale, MoMA, Chicago Architecture Biennial, and Miami Art Basel. She has most recently taught at Columbia, Rice, and the GSD, where her studios have reimagined urban police stations, aquariums, and ecological infrastructure for the twenty-first century. Stay tuned to the Center for Architecture and Design's website for information about the Studio Gang exhibition on display May 18 - July 13 in conjunction with the Kahn award.

After 15 “guerilla” years, the Design Advocacy Group (DAG), an all-volunteer organization, is excited to launch its first-ever fundraiser. Late in 2016, DAG joined CultureTrust, a charitable home for arts and cultural heritage organizations in the region. Towards that effort, the steering committee of DAG has contributed all the costs of insurance, incorporation and administration with CultureTrust. Our new affiliation means that your contributions are fully tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Your dollars will help DAG expand its communications and advocacy on behalf of a quality built environment in Philadelphia and to continue our popular, free monthly meetings at 8 a.m., on the first Thursday at the Center for Architecture and Design. You can send checks payable to the "Design Advocacy Group of CultureTrust" at CultureTrust, 1315 Walnut St., Suite 320, Philadelphia, PA 19107 (The "of CultureTrust" is critical to ensure proper processing.) Or contribute via PayPal at designadvocacy. org or on Facebook @designadvocacy.

It's that time of year again, registration opens in May for AIA Philadelphia'a 2017 Design Awards submissions. There are some changes to the Design Award Entry requirements. Join us on June 14, to learn about these changes and how to prepare your entry. The program will explain revised entry requirements, review documentation requirements, show samples of award-winning entries, and offer some tips on how to put it all together. The 2017 Design Awards Schedule is as follows: Friday, September 1, 2017: Final Project Submissions due; Wednesday, October 18, 2017: Design Awards Gala at the Kimmel Center

AIA Philadelphia | context | SPRING 2017  7


COMMUNITY

Streams, beacons, and even front porches inspired the designs and public art for the underpasses.

At a special celebration in April, the Community Design Collaborative gave Ballinger its Leverage Award, which recognizes leadership in strengthening neighborhoods through design. “We created this award to honor leaders and organizations who understand the connection between thoughtful design and vital communities,” says Beth Miller, executive director of the Collaborative. Previous honorees include the City of Philadelphia Division of Housing and Community Development and the Center City District. Few architectural practices enjoy the longevity of Ballinger, based in Philadelphia since 1878. The firm pioneered interdisciplinary practice from its earliest years and today provides architecture, engineering, and interior design for clients nationwide. The 200+ professionals of Ballinger remain true to their roots in the city and the ideas of interdisciplinary design and service. The firm supports the Community Design Collaborative as a corporate donor, an advocate for community service among design professionals, and an active (and interdisciplinary!) volunteer.

Scoping out one of the project sites in 2015.

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Since 2012, Ballinger has donated to the Collaborative through the City of Philadelphia’s Community Development Tax Credit program. Ballinger shares a ten-year tax credit commitment to the Collaborative with Volpe and Koenig, P.C. The firms’ contributions are earmarked for Collaborative programs to revitalize Philadelphia’s neighborhood commercial corridors. Ballinger has also created B::Engaged to support civic engagement by the firm and its employees. Through B::Engaged, Ballinger staff members connect with Philadelphia neighborhoods and institutions through short and longterm philanthropic commitments. Principals Terry D. Steelman, FAIA, LEED AP, and Eric Swanson, AIA, oversee the B::Engaged program and all ten Ballinger principals are actively involved. "People need to look at philanthropic energies in two ways. Often, they see how they are giving back; but firm leaders in particular need to appreciate that they get something in return," says Steelman. "Their staff gets enlightenment and fulfillment that breeds esprit de corps. Leadership through philanthropic engagement strengthens interpersonal skills, decision-making, and growth. And the community as a whole benefits." B::Engaged evolved from years of individual activities and a grassroots movement, especially among younger staff, to share opportunities for community service and design for social equity. Ballinger Project Architect Jake Shoemaker, AIA, who helped initiate the formal B::Engaged program, sees pro bono design as critical to strong communities. “I believe design should address all segments of society, because it affects all aspects of our communities.” Shoemaker attributes B::Engaged’s growth to Ballinger leadership’s support and advocacy of the program. Recent B::Engaged activities include Ballinger’s sponsorship and participation in the

American Heart Association’s Philadelphia Heart Walk, holiday gift wrapping at Turning Points for Children, and events for Philabundance and Cradles to Crayons—and a series of community design projects through the Community Design Collaborative. “We feel a community responsibility to Philadelphia,” says Steelman. “In practice, when designers are driven by deadlines and budgets, it’s quite easy to get lost in the daily process,” He explains. “Working with the Collaborative gives people an opportunity to take leadership roles and grow—and both the Collaborative and community benefit.” In 2016, nine members of Ballinger’s staff collaborated with landscape architects, lighting designers, and artists on Making Connections, a creative placemaking project to improve three SEPTA rail viaduct underpasses in North Central Philadelphia. Their work supports a key strategy of a $33 million North Central Choice Neighborhoods Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—to make the neighborhood more walkable and to make its many assets easier for all residents to reach. “We recognized that the viaduct was a big impediment for people,” says Melissa Long, Deputy Director of the City of Philadelphia Division of Housing and Community Development. “We want to make people less hesitant to cross over.” Over eighty Ballinger staff members have volunteered for the Collaborative, and the firm is working on more projects in 2017. “The Collaborative creates a hub for neighborhoods and the design community to work together,” says Ballinger Architectural Designer Bonnie Netel, a volunteer on Making Connections. “It provides a connection to Philadelphia, to see what my community looks like, how people live, and how I participate in that. It’s a great opportunity.”


COMMUNITY TEACHING MOMENTS: ALUMNI RETURN There was a teaching moment yesterday. As usual, it came unexpectedly. Took a break mid-day with a desperate need for tea. It had been a long week. And it was only Thursday. Stepped off the elevator into the ground floor lobby and paused to check email messages. The lobby has an upper landing, where the elevators open, then a lower landing, with six steps between. The reception desk and a couple of lounge chairs are here. The street access opens off this area. Messages reviewed, looked up from the phone screen to notice a young man standing at the bottom of the steps. He was in his early twenties, a bit tall and adult stocky, but still with traces of youth in his posture and face. He looked up, wide-eyed, and uttered with an awestruck tone, “You used to teach me.” Caught by surprise, the mind quickly cycles through the faces. There are now more than a thousand. While locking in on the face and its identity, the young man interjects, “It’s Gus.” Immediate recall, quickly followed by astonishment. The next fifteen minutes are spent learning about his post CHAD life. Delight and surprise. He’s Creative Director for a fashion accessory and branding startup, Wiseguy. The young company is growing and they are now reaching out to work with underserved high schools to offer mentoring workshops. Gus immediately thought of his alma mater. There he stood. “I know I wasn’t the greatest student, I had a lot going on and wasn’t too focused, but you all changed my life. You made a difference. You saved me! You kept trying… I know you all don’t see it, working in it everyday. So, I wanted to come back and tell you. I can’t thank you enough for everything you all did for me. I mean it, really, you changed my life.” It’s hard to describe what it feels like to hear this coming from a former student. Especially one, as Gus admitted, who was kind of a knucklehead. Too often, the conversation wasn’t about the work, but about his behavior. The hallway always beckoned his attention more than the work before him. Keep trying. There’s a lot of repetition in education. Though memorable, this wasn’t a unique moment. These encounters pop up, always

unannounced. It’s never the same twice. Alumni returns are a homecoming, and there’s no greater tribute a former student can offer his or her teachers. At CHAD, this happens with great frequency.

AT CHAD, STUDENTS AREN’T WHO THEY ARE, BUT WHO THEY CAN BECOME. DESIGN EDUCATION IS AN EXTRAORDINARY AND POWERFUL WEDGE BETWEEN THE PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCE AND THE POSSIBLE FUTURE. Niah, soon to graduate in architecture from Marywood University, visits most every break. The first visit was especially joyous. She brought her portfolio of work to show. Always a bubbly spirit, “I was the only one who understood what we were doing! I was explaining it to my classmates! We started hanging work for our first final review and things were all crooked and random on the wall and I was, like, No! That is not how you do it! So we got out string and set level lines and it looked awesome!” At CHAD, students aren’t who they are, but who they can become. Design education is an extraordinary and powerful wedge between the present circumstance and the possible future. It’s a learning vehicle for the next generation as they enter a global economy. More importantly, it’s a social elevator. Regardless of past academic performance, it’s an opportunity for urban teens to re-define their prospects. Design thinking is not training; it is real time learning which is tactile and immediate. These are lessons that last. Intelligence is built and intuition is discovered when students think with their hands. There is nothing abstract about this. Thinking skills are developed, through project-based learning, to encourage a creator’s

nimbleness as he or she sorts through different permutations of sets of variables. Design education inherently taps into all four of the essential skills for 21st-century learning and living: creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving. George returned the day before Gus, smartly dressed in his Airman Battle Uniform. Talented, smart, with craft like an angel, George recognized he had more growing up to do before college. He played a lot, and college would require additional support. He joined the Air Force. Once out, he’s going to study architecture. We talked for half an hour. Every question or comment was met with a terse, upbeat “Yes Sir” or “No Sir.” He stands with pride as he describes his growth and his future. One of George’s design pieces is still on display in the classroom. Take it down and hand it to him. He practically melts: “My artwork!” You’d think he’s holding a puppy. A half hour conversation. Handshakes and man hugs and George is on his way, smiling, as always. Tell him to thank the Air Force for their help. Alumni trickle in, almost always unannounced, precisely to share their accomplishments and to talk about their future. Maybe they also return, subconsciously, because they want to convey that they are ok. They are on their way. They are young men and women who, a few years back, struggled to find their future. Some worked hard. Others, not so much. But something caught their attention and they pursued its trajectory. Returning to school with tea, Gus is departing CHAD. He offers more praises. “Thank you so much for giving me the chance. You’ll never understand how much this school changed my life and helped me get to what I’m doing now.” Face to face, Gus clicks his heels together, joins his palms at heart center, a martial arts or yoga pose, and bows with deference and gratitude. Days can seem a week long, weeks a month long. Perspective can sometimes be hard to maintain. Then a former student walks through the classroom door, shares their success, their future plans. The teaching moment isn’t the teacher teaching and the student learning. The teaching moment is the student returning to remind the teacher: their work is worthy. AIA Philadelphia | context | SPRING 2017  9


Lindsey Scannapieco MINIMUM VIABLE PRODUCT BY JEFF PASTVA, AIA The focus of this issue is on high-performing emerging professionals who are making their mark on the built environment. While the AIA covers professionals in the field of architecture, a greater circle of innovators are affecting how our cities operate beyond the singular building and elevating the discourse of the public realm. To highlight one of those examples happening in Philly, Context sat down with Lindsey Scannapieco, co-founder of real estate development firm Scout, Ltd. and the operator of BOK, the former Edward W. Bok Technical High School. Lindsey and her co-founder Emma Rutherford cut their teeth fashioning temporary installations in London during their time at the London School of Economics (LSE) and London Metropolitan University, respectively, in the late aughts. They were particularly inspired by underutilized spaces that could be better used in ways that contributed socially and that were economically valuable and physically enhancing. However, there wasn’t a plan or manifesto for how that could evolve into a business thereafter. They simply took on projects that interested them and met an initial 10  SPRING 2017 | context | AIA Philadelphia

PHOTO: MIKE PERSICO

Lindsey Scannapieco, fifth from left, and Scout co-founder Emma Rutherford, fourth from left, and the rest of the team at BOK.


UP CLOSE

set of guiding principles. The first project that satisfied their criteria was a pop-up cinema in an industrial section of London before the 2012 Olympic games. The goal was to find an intersection between disused space, the artists who inhabited it, and the visitors who were about to descend on the location. After a very successful showing over the course of a few weeks, they were approached to do more. However, Lindsey very quickly turned down the idea of replicating the project. “We were not going to be the cinema kids. That was not our ambition,” she told us. Instead, that project led to commissions with the Southbank Centre and community development opportunities. One of the projects Scout completed between the pop-up cinema and fully jumping into BOK was a subterranean pedestrian undercross. The local city council had deemed it a nuisance, and the city was poised to fill it with concrete. Lindsey asked, “How can we spend half a million pounds better?” She worked with local organizations in the neighborhood, analyzed the space, and found a nexus of culture. In the end, the space was reprogrammed with a strategy involving music that would attract positive behavior without losing a civic asset. Scout’s first few projects showed that when approached through the right lens with an intense amount of focus and creativity, scale is just a number. Emma and Lindsey were willing to test that theory very early on. They weren’t looking to get into development or purchase their own land until someone suggested that they check out phlschoolsales.com, the site set up by the School Reform Commission to sell school district assets at fire-sale prices. Lindsey was still in London at the time, but she started poking around anyway. She immediately fell in love with BOK because of its vocational past, the unique infrastructure that was inherent to its purposes, and its value, which isn’t typically found in a school building. Scout submitted a proposal in the summer of 2014 and closed on the property in July 2015, and they have

gone from zero to sixty tenants since then. With such a large purchase, Scout could easily be classified as a real estate development firm, i.e., they own, invest in, and operate a complex piece of real estate. However, Lindsey just calls Scout an “interdisciplinary firm” that happens to own property. Her team make up proves that point. It consists of members with backgrounds ranging from architecture and urban design to community management and construction; all are under the age of 40, and seven of the nine are female. As Lindsey put it, “We don't view ourselves as a standard real estate development practice, for better and for worse. And we certainly don't look like one.” With Scout’s background and ambition, simply purchasing a school building and repurposing it wasn’t going to be enough. Of other school sales in the past few years, many have been turned into housing or charter schools, or they have simply been demolished. Lindsey’s goal, however, was always to find the best use for the community. Scout went after and received non-traditional funding from a Knight Cities Challenge grant to produce a program called South Philly’s Stoop, and they brought in StoryCorps to interview residents of the neighborhood. Lindsey emphasized that because of the scale of the building, it will never be one thing for one type of person. She stated, “We think that a building of this scale needs to be extremely varied and diverse. That’s what this city is; that’s what this neighborhood is. This building should have lots of different types of people doing lots of different types of activities. This building accommodates that really well, and that’s our general ethos.” Her tenant mix supports that statement, ranging from a well-known neighborhood hair salon to a boxing gym, the Garces foundation, and the Federation of Neighborhood Centers. While the community focus will allow the building to become a self-sustaining, integrated part of the community’s fabric, it’s not what initially drew attention—both positive and

negative—to BOK. In the summer of 2015, Scout used their pop-up prowess to run Le Bok Fin, a temporary rooftop bar. It was an example of what Lindsey calls a “minimum viable product” as applied to real estate, which is a term borrowed from the tech community. Essentially, Scout was searching for the cheapest, fastest way to create buzz and get a product to market. It worked. After Lindsey and Emma were told it was a cool idea but destined to fail, 30,000 patrons visited the space in twenty-two days. Since then, Scout has focused on investing capital only where necessary and when requested by prospective tenants. This strategy aligns with their customized leasing approach, which matches the right spaces with the right people. It also allows the building to maintain its raw state as much as possible. When they do make adjustments, however, Lindsey stressed that design is a critical aspect. She said, “We see design as very critical to the space, how the space functions, feels, and works and its success. We see and place value on design.” Because of the scale and long-term nature of the project, BOK has become almost synonymous with Scout. Lindsey wouldn’t commit to how long it might take to build out or move on, but it could minimally be five to ten years before Scout takes on its next development deal. In the meantime, she has ambitions to return to her temporary roots and activate vacant spaces along a large-scale scourge of public infrastructure. Lindsey told us, “I'd love to do a pop-up underneath I-95. We have an ice-skating rink and some incredible, bizarre moments by Warmdaddy's, including a great flea market and practicing Mummers. It took away an entire neighborhood and created this massive piece of infrastructure, and it's divided the city from the water. I think it's just kind of an interesting piece to play with someday.” So if you see someone poking around under 95 with plywood and spray paint, give her some encouragement. It might just be the solution we’ve been searching for. ■ AIA Philadelphia | context | SPRING 2017  11


THE

FABRICATION BY CHRISTIAN JORDAN, AIA

Private Art Gallery

12  SPRING 2017 | context | AIA Philadelphia

PHOTO: POINT b DESIGN

WORKSHOP


PHOTO: B FABRICATION

Experimenting with CNC Mill

Architecture is part science, part art, part scientific method, part honing of craft. The seeds of interest in architecture are sown for many of us when we are younger. Architecture school helps reinforce those seemingly incongruent worlds of science and art through a grueling curriculum that puts us on the path for an eventual license to practice architecture. For some emerging professionals, a path to licensure is not for them—the purpose of this piece is not to debate the merits of those reasons, but rather to shine a light on an alternate path in which the designer is very much a part of the design process, present in the mundane, the exhilarating, and the necessary moments required for impactful design in the built environment. Tom Acciavatti, 34, owner of B Fabrication, received his Bachelor’s of Architecture from Philadelphia University in 2005. His studio is responsible for designing, fabricating, and installing everything from casework and furniture to rainscreens and facades. The interview that follows serves as a reminder that within the built environment, a person need not be an architect to make a difference. You earned your bachelor’s degree in architecture in 2005 from Philadelphia University. Can you talk about your expectations leaving school for your professional career? I was fortunate to intern for Point B eighteen months before graduating. I was a fourth-year student in John Shields’ studio when I landed an internship with his company. Not really knowing what I was getting into, Point B was able to shine a light on what was possible when creative, passionate, and talented minds got together to collaborate on projects. My internship was a great transition from school to work, as I always viewed Point B as an extension of school. Sure, there were days of endless CAD work, but we were also interested in materials, process, and building stuff. Point B was enticing due to culture—John (Shields), Cory (Brugger), and Ben Rulnick were the leaders who formed a small family all working toward getting good work done. The atmosphere was relaxed, but everyone in the studio was expected to produce. We enjoyed flexible hours while understanding that everyone counted on each other. We

shared responsibility of project scope. It was a truly collaborative work environment—good work, uniquely creative—pushing the boundaries of digital design, fabrication, and parametric modeling. You have always operated at a high level on the fringes of what people would consider “conventional.” How much did that influence your early career decisions? I have been with Point B for 11-plus years and I have been fortunate enough to witness an amazing crew of people come through here and then branch out to do amazing things (Cory, director of technology, Morphosis; Skylar Tibbits, founder, co-director, Self Assembly Lab, MIT; Jon Proto + Brandon Kruysman, GoogleX; Jared Laucks, co-director, Self Assembly Lab, MIT). I never felt a need to find this experience somewhere else. I found myself working where I wanted to help build the business, which eventually led to becoming partners with John. As more fabrication projects began to roll in, they became larger in scope. I branched off to run the fabrication side while working symbiotically with John. B Fabrication (our fabrication wing) focuses primarily on the fabrication side of projects and we are now slowly getting back into the design world. When did you decide that architecture, with a capital A, was not going to be your sole focus as a designer / artist / creator? Everything fell into position for me to spin off B Fabrication from Point B and to take on fabrication as a business decision. Internally we struggled with, “Do we want to drop fabrication and focus on design or do we want to take it (fabrication) on as a challenge?” Eventually we decided that we could have a more meaningful role in the design of building components and elements we interact with if we also understood and controlled the output of the process. I have always been better at creating things with my hands than trying to express my ideas in 2D or 3D CAD—I enjoy being “in” the process. What struck me most about digital fabrication was how quickly we could turn out an idea into an object, an artifact, an element. This

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Collaboration with O'Neill McVoy Architects

idea of machine-to-hand was a process that I had not fully considered until we started tinkering with the CNC mill. Advancement in tech and trying to stay on the edge of tech is more affordable and easier to tap into now that more fabricators are in Philly and the endless loop of push, develop, try, experiment. More in built work than purely digital.

tech-savvy and craftsmen (both digitally and with their hands). We create shop drawings for all projects from drawing sets typically created by architects. 3D models, renderings, physical mock-ups—all can be presented to architects and clients as they help in the process to avoid unknowns. You are a successful businessman (even though you may bristle at that), designer, fabricator, and artist. What advice would you offer a student or emerging professional who may have a variety of creative talents and is contemplating a career in architecture? For me, getting into professional work was intimidating. I would say, get to as many firms as possible to see what they are all about. Don’t just Google their work. Make a call, network, visit the studio—it will open your eyes to what is out there. And don’t stop at just architecture firms, wood/metal shops, artist studios—there is so much locally in Philadelphia where shops/studios are all producing great work focused 14  SPRING 2017 | context | AIA Philadelphia

Welding.

PHOTO: B FABRICATION

How does your current position interface with architects? We deal with architects, or artists, on almost every project. One of the things that sets B Fabrication apart is our skill when dealing with a set of architectural drawings and details. With my background as an architecture student, I can understand drawing sets and details, but perhaps even more so because I have to build (and many times install) what is on the drawings. Architects sometimes understand the design intent, but we can help them get there more efficiently and effectively because of our experience. We truly enjoy turning visions into realities. A little more about what makes the process work: employees are

As an emerging professional yourself, how are you fostering the growth of recent graduates within your studio? Most fabrication companies churn through projects; they find what they are good at and keep them coming in. For me, it’s important that we continue to learn new skills, new techniques, experiment with new materials, and everyone coming into the studio is encouraged (expected) to keep up. I focus on giving interns a diverse range of responsibilities, and within those tasks we are all constantly learning. Never the same project twice. This attitude provides the younger generation the chance to learn, design, build, and install while pushing the company forward.

PHOTO: B FABRICATION

on their take on design. Before you get out of school, see the design world. Running a design business, or any business I would imagine, requires attention to paperwork and accounting that you never see in school. If you are not passionate about working on a business, seek out professional partnerships where your interests and skills complement one another. Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, you need to understand that design is about client relations: before, during, after a job. Work on interpersonal skills and be adaptable.


Can you speak to the diversity of your projects? We take on a variety of projects. Don’t forget, we were born out of a necessity to fabricate the rainscreen for Point B. We took that on inhouse—purchased the CNC machine so the panels could be designed parametrically in Rhino, cut in the shop, and tested, for an all-inclusive process. From there we decided to install the panels on site. With each

Christian Jordan, AIA, is principal at PJA Architecture, adjunct professor in the College of Architecture + the Built Environment at Philadelphia University and is currently the AIA Young Architect Regional Director of Pennsylvania.

PHOTO: B FABRICATION

step in the process, we felt more and more comfortable taking on additional projects: furniture, cast-resin table tops, molds, sculptures, working with artists like Jordan Griska, etc. For Jordan’s project, we were working from an idea from the artist (car sculpture). We developed the shop and fabrication drawings for the laser-cut steel substructure, handled the installation logistics, provided installation assistance, and at each interval had to solve a different set of problems.

And looking ahead? We have started getting back into design on the front end. We have a few projects in which we are helping to design spaces by providing 3D renderings, precedent studies, and design analysis. Currently, we are looking into the architectural ramifications of large cast shells. Ideally, we will continue to learn new skills and provide creative design solutions for our clients and collaborators…and there’s always surfboard making. ■

Collaboration with Artist Jordan Griska

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BY KATIE SWENSON, LEA OXENHANDLER, AND STEPHANIE WALL Between 2001 and 2014, rents rose seven percent while renter incomes fell nine percent nationwide, adjusting for inflation. This yawning gap between rents and wages has left more than one in four households “housing insecure,” which means they pay more than 50 percent of their income on housing costs. The Philadelphia metro area is even worse off; analysis of the 2014 American Community Survey pegs the ratio closer to one in three. This leaves little for anything else and hampers citizens’ health, education, and any real shot at upward economic mobility. National affordable housing and community development organization Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise) seeks to end the growing housing insecurity crisis in the

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PHOTO: DAVE JACKSON

A ROSE GROWS IN PHILLY


United States and believes a well-designed built environment is a critical part of the solution. Philadelphians will be able to witness this firsthand because the city will be hosting its first Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow in 2017. Launched in 2000 by Enterprise, the fellowship is the premier career path for young architects to support public interest design, partnering emerging designers with community developers for three years. The fellowship is designed to cultivate the next generation of architectural leaders committed to bringing the economic, health, and education benefits of quality design to low-income communities. Over the past 17 years, 69 fellows have been placed around the country. They are not just leaders, but a group of vocal advocates who are advancing a national dialogue about the power of design to transform the field of community development (more than 60 percent of former fellows are in leadership positions in the field of community development, nearly all of them in mission-driven organizations). The fellowship process begins with Enterprise choosing host organizations that are looking to advance their work in a new way by collaborating with a fellow. Enterprise invites organizations to apply to host a fellow

to work on a specific work plan that typically offers an opportunity to sharpen essential architectural skills and develop financial, policy, community engagement, organizing and soft skills in an effort to center architectural leaders in the critical path of development. Once the host organizations are selected, Enterprise publicaly shares their work plans and opens the application period (typically March to May) for Enterprise Rose Fellow hopefuls to apply to the host and plan to which they are most drawn. While all applicants must have a professional degree in architecture, many of them have other areas of expertise and interest. Accordingly, the host organizations and their respective work plans vary widely. From housing for formerly homeless families in Brooklyn to a community center on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the environments and end goals of each project differ, but are united by their desire to incorporate standards of design excellence into the development of healthier, more equitable communities. Enterprise has worked for many years in Philadelphia, but Lea Oxenhandler will be the first Enterprise Rose Fellow in the area and will be working with the People’s Emergency Center Community Development AIA Philadelphia | context | SPRING 2017  17


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PHOTO: ENTERPRISE COMMUNITY PARTNERS

Corporation (PEC) in West Philadelphia. She comes with a background leading various pro bono, community-focused design projects and sees the fellowship as a perfect fit for her career goals. After learning about the range of services that PEC provides its community and their inclusive long-term neighborhood planning processes, she knew it would be an invaluable learning experience. She says, “As a practicing architect, I believe that buildings are not insular objects and that the scope of “architecture” can span far beyond the built environment to solve complex issues within our cities. As a very proactive and entrepreneurial person, it has always been difficult and counterintuitive for me to sit on the sidelines when something doesn’t seem right. The Rose Fellowship offers architects the unique opportunity to reach beyond the traditional boundaries of practice to impact the people that our buildings serve and the neighborhoods in which they are sited.” Throughout her studies and career, Lea has had many opportunities to confront her interest in public interest design head on. When she worked with an interdisciplinary team on forming a creative policy solution to address Philadelphia’s school closures, she realized that her role as an architect could be more than just “designer.” She also played the role of organizer and planner, and worked to successfully promote design as a catalyst for change. While there is no clear career track that supports public interest design, Lea continued to pursue this passion for leadership in community engagement while working at KieranTimberlake for the past six years. In 2013, she helped establish a framework to support sustained involvement within the firm. Since developing a goal of devoting 1% of their staff’s time to these efforts, KieranTimberlake has devoted thousands of hours towards many new initiatives in youth mentorship, non-profit community design services, and STEM education.

When KieranTimberlake’s first built pro bono design project broke ground in October 2016, it was clear that this initiative had truly encouraged and enabled staff to use valuable design expertise to enact positive change. The addition of a new pavilion in the yard of the Northern Liberties Neighborhood Association’s community center will transform an existing gravel lot into a comfortable and inviting public space for neighbors to enjoy. Through this fellowship experience, she will be able to contribute the leadership and project management skills she has developed while working on projects like this at KieranTimberlake. Lea also stated some of her goals for the next three years. “As a Rose Fellow, I hope to broaden my skill sets as I cross between real estate development, historic preservation, public space design, temporary reuse, planning, and community outreach, all in support of the community development-focused mission of PEC. Accepting this position will not only be a unique and transformative experience, but will also allow me to devote my energy and enthusiasm to an organization that is making our city better each year. Having lived in Philadelphia for almost a decade now, I am invested in and passionate about its success, and I am ecstatic to serve as a champion of design excellence and civic engagement at PEC.” Since PEC’s philosophy of nurturing families, strengthening neighborhoods and driving change aligns with the core of the Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship’s mission, it was a natural fit as a host organization. From their humble beginnings in 1972 as a volunteer-run housing and service provider for families experiencing homelessness, the organization has become widely recognized as an indispensable community development nonprofit in West Philadelphia focused on affordable housing, commercial corridor revitalization, and quality of life programs. Their comprehensive, strategic approach to community development, along with their continued work for homeless families, builds upon neighborhood assets and responds directly to the needs of the community. PEC focuses on the neighborhoods surrounding Lancaster Avenue between 37th and 48th Streets. In the past 25 years, they have transformed 140 vacant properties into hundreds of affordable housing units, both rental and ownership, and helped over 100 existing homeowners make repairs to their homes. Their work on Lancaster Avenue has made it a more vibrant, attractive commercial corridor with over 50 new businesses, dozens of facade renovations, streetscape improvements, and daily street cleaning. Their quality of life programs have reached thousands of residents, providing a range of services that cover technology, financial literacy, health, legal assistance, environmental sustainability, and the arts.


PHOTO: ENTERPRISE COMMUNITY PARTNERS

PEC is extremely excited to have Lea join their team as the Enterprise Rose Fellow, particularly at a time when their neighborhoods are on the verge of dramatic change. Local institutions have made broad commitments to invest in surrounding communities and, with a federal Promise Zone designation, government agencies and nonprofits have also turned their attention to our neighborhoods. With an expanding student population in their community and a renewed interest in urban living, they expect the nascent shifts in demographics and housing values to continue at a heightened pace. Having the expertise of an architect on staff will enable PEC to respond to these changes in a more powerful way, elevating their work by having design as an integral part of their process from the beginning. Lea will be working on a number of projects while at PEC, including the renovation of several key anchor buildings along Lancaster Avenue that were acquired as part of PEC’s effort to transform the avenue into a thriving commercial corridor. One such property is Hawthorne Hall, a historically-designated theater that currently sits vacant and in poor

condition. With its curved facade, Queen Anne keystones, brick arches, and terracotta sculptures, Hawthorne Hall is one of the most recognizable and beloved buildings in the community. Restoring its original beauty and returning it to its use as a theater and cultural hub will bring new life to a local landmark and spur additional investment along Lancaster Avenue. Off of the commercial corridor, Lea will be working to preserve and create new affordable housing opportunities in our neighborhoods. She will assist with a significant rehabilitation project involving PEC’s older, scattered-site rental units and help to conceptualize their next new construction projects. She will also create design guidelines for PEC’s existing and future properties, helping them to build better homes for our residents and the community. Overall, this partnership will serve as a way for Enterprise, Lea and PEC to learn from one another, experiment with and adopt best practices and incorporate these methods in future initiatives. Lea will work for three years to support PEC’s long-term strategy focused on strategic investments along Lancaster Avenue. PEC is also grateful for for the opportunity to have an Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow and looks forward to all of the possibilities that she will bring to their organization’s work. ■ Katie Swenson is a national leader in sustainable design for low-income communities, directing the Affordable Housing Design Leadership Institute and the Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship as VP, National Design Initiatives, Enterprise Community Partners. Lea Oxenhandler is a licensed architect and LEED accredited professional, serving as the 2017-19 Enterprise Rose Fellow at the People’s Emergency Center Community Development Corporation in West Philadelphia. Stephanie Wall is the real estate project manager at People's Emergency

PHOTO: DAVE JACKSON

Center in West Philadelphia.

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Philadelphia Emerging Architects FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION

Roundtable Panel from left: Christian Jordan, Jeff Pastva, Neil Stroup, Rachel Schade, Erike De Veyra, Jared McKnight, and Kathy Lent, not pictured Megan McGinley.

PARTICIPANTS Christian Jordan (CJ) - Moderator Principal, PJA Architecture Kathy Lent - Editor

Context hosted an issue-thematic roundtable discussion at the school of architecture in Drexel University’s Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. In addition to wearing many hats within the Philadelphia architecture community, the panelists represent a cross-section of the profession – from Associate AIAs and early career licensed architects to firm principals and educators of the newest generation of emerging professionals.

Project Designer, BWA Architecture

CJ: What was your experience with the licensure process?

Megan McGinley (MM)

MM: I didn't want to miss things because I was studying, but I wanted to knock out IDP in a reasonable amount of time. I wasn't going to feel done with what I'd set out to accomplish until I finished those exams. NS: I tried to cram it into the smallest time frame possible. And I think my involvement in the architectural community was a trade-off. JM: I wanted to put a strong foot forward in terms of my service and leadership in the AIA, so I put testing off a bit. It's been a struggle to get back in that mindset – i.e. to sit down and study – but it's one of my goals this year. EDV: I graduated in 2009, so we were the class of "How do we get into the profession if there's no room for us?" I actually started in government, doing federal work, but faced some pushback from those professionals who told me, "You need to make a choice: either continue being in government or take the path toward becoming an architect."

Project Manager, Kitchen & Associates Neil Stroup (NS) Project Architect, KieranTimberlake Jared McKnight (JM) Associate and Designer, WRT Erike De Veyra (EDV) Project Designer, CICADA Rachel Schade (RS) Program Director for Architecture at Drexel University

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RS: When I took the exam it was a once-a-year, in-person, trial-by-fire, horrible experience. The new Integrated Path to Architecture Licensure program means being able to take the exams and finish your hours before you graduate. The whole program was developed because NCARB saw it take an average of 13 years from the time a student graduated high school to the point where they became licensed. That's a long time and all sorts of other questions came up like, "Do you need it?" "What kind of architect do you want to be?" and "Is it worth anything anymore?" Ultimately, it depends on the firm and on the individual. Licensure was important to me, but I just accepted it as the path without questioning it very much. Now I think a lot more people are questioning it.

PHOTO: KSS ARCHITECTS

CJ: Do you have any concerns about the current state of the licensure process? JM: I find it a little funny that NCARB has decreased the total number of hours one has to log in AXP, making it much easier to go through the process of becoming registered earlier on in your career. CJ: One of the biggest concerns I have with what NCARB did was that they took 17 focus areas and reduced them to 6. For example, you no longer need on-site construction observation -- that was leverage that interns had to say, "Look, I need to be on-site." The leadership IDP category was a big loss, spec writing was another. Now you're looking at arming a whole generation of architects with a license and they've never set foot on site. I'm afraid to what extent that reduces the value or perceived value of an architect. NS: What are the stated goals of these changes? Is it making it easier to become an architect? Creating more architects? Recognizing the changing role of the architect? RS: [NCARB’s] mission is licensure; [The change in hours is] a return to the base number of hours that they had about 7 or 8 years ago. After the recession, when people were having such a hard time getting work, let alone logging hours, they expanded the definition of experience to include a lot more of the service and leadership. I agree with you, it's a shame to lose it -- these are important things to require of rising professionals.

CJ: What could be done to increase the importance of licensure? EDV: Being licensed is part of owning your own firm; no matter how long it takes, as long as it happens, that's my overarching goal. RS: It’s really important to encourage the rise of the young firms. I co-founded both the Eastern Pennsylvania Young Architects Forum and later the small firm round table as practical sounding boards for things like "How do you write a contract?" It was a transition between school and the work experience -- that's what young architects were about. CJ: I think if we frame licensure in that model for the current generation of emerging architects, the one that comes after will be even more entrepreneurial. EDV: Some folks who graduated in the late 90's and early 2000's have either started their own firms or are the people doing the hiring. When you have a small community, when you know these people and see that they're successful, you're like, "Well, if they can do that, I can too."

CJ: What are firms doing to support emerging professionals, and what could be done better? RS: There are firms that celebrate and support licensure by paying for the exams or helping with study materials.

PARK(ing) Day Philadelphia 2016

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CANstruction PHL

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JM: Whenever we have new employees come in, I always like to see what they're up to and what I can learn from them. What they're learning in school now is far beyond what I was learning even five years ago. I think the idea of up-mentoring is a really important piece of being an emerging professional -- while you are learning yourself, you are also teaching people your skill sets and what you know.

CJ: How do you see the role of PEA (Philadelphia Emerging Architects) in supporting emerging professionals? JM: The AIA Philadelphia Associates Committee and Young Architects Forum had so many overlapping programs that people were sort of confused which one they belonged to. I think we have a much larger diversity of age ranges being registered, and the combined PEA committee gives people one place that they can find a network of their peers. EDV: Some folks that are involved [in AIAS] while they are in school get out into the profession, focus on getting their exams done, and sometimes never get re-involved. I think the benefit now is that people realize, "I can still be involved, and be registered." Associate AIA members are also not necessarily on a conventional path -- many work in community development, affordable housing, and other fields related to the built environment. JM: We encourage all emerging professionals to come and get involved with PEA. Some people don't have any desire to join the AIA but they still want to network with their colleagues. For us, it's just about staying open. EDV: A lot of firms are starting to know PEA and see it as a really great asset that their folks are involved. I’ve met EPs who were worried that they couldn't get out of work early for an event -- we told them, "Don't be afraid to share what you're involved in." We're finding more

PHOTO: CHARLES CERRONE PHOTOGRAPHY

CJ: In 2016, AIA Pennsylvania started recognizing firms that are investing in emerging professionals. JM: At my firm, they have a recently-registered professional serving as an architect licensing advisor. We have a meeting every other month with the group that's going through the licensure process where people give updates on what exams they've taken. The firm reimburses for passed exams, and we have a great catalog of study materials. MM: When I went through my licensing exams, a group of us organized to advocate for the firm to invest in a study guide library. During my IDP process I was in a small firm, so in terms of getting the hours I needed, it was a very direct conversation. I think it's all about advocating for yourself and not just waiting for your review to mention what you need. EDV: When I interview for a position, I sometimes need to negotiate for the firm to pay for exams and AIA membership. When I talk to younger professionals, I encourage them to push their own firms to support professional development. At a previous firm, every month there was a happy hour and people presented what they were working on. It was an opportunity for principals to see these young people - how they'd present, what they were involved with, what their passions were. RS: That also helps to build confidence. Maybe they don't get to present in front of clients now, but ultimately they will. CJ: Another important practice for firms to support emerging professionals is developing a firm culture that is open-minded about learning on both the employee and firm-leadership ends. EDV: As a young person, when you hear “that’s how we always do it” you can take that as the end of the conversation or ask "can we try to look at it differently?".


firms are being supportive of these young professionals -- that's not coming from the top down, that's coming from us.

PHOTO: HALKIN MASON PHOTOGRAPHY

CJ: What trends affecting emerging professionals are you picking up on?

Conclusion Through their collegial discussion about the changing state of architectural education and practice, this group of designers reflects the optimism and commitment that will continue to support emerging professionals in Philadelphia. ■

EDV: EPs want to make an impact. A lot of us have volunteered with the Community Design Collaborative to provide pro bono, preliminary design services to nonprofit organizations in Philadelphia, and others are practicing social impact design as a career path. People are trying to figure out how they can do that and still make money. For some that means having a day job, and an “after-work job doing other things that make me happy,” or going into another profession entirely. RS: Committees/groups like PEA, are bridging gaps and doing more to be inclusive rather than exclusive. I think the future is brighter because of that. I sometimes fear that the profession is losing control over the built environment. I don't think that's an ego thing; I think it's because we are responsible. JM: One of the perks of my workplace is that I get to work on both architecture and landscape projects. I see that as a big step toward the future of the profession -- interdisciplinary collaboration. Thinking about design is very holistic -- lighting design, infrastructure -- I want to know it all. MM: How do we not squash that enthusiasm and let it help energize the profession, rather than getting in the mode of "to get it done, we have to do it this way?" NS: In my office, there's a huge initiative to bring down silos, and technology often plays a big role in that. People are sharing ideas about different things, and you see the partners of the firm commenting on an intern’s posting about a new rendering technique. That trend toward the cross-pollination of ideas is really inspiring. CJ: How we keep the energy is to not let technology close us off. Because tech could also be very much, "You don't know that, but I do. So I'm just going to build my walls." MM: Technology needs to be about breaking down those walls if we are using it effectively, so we can more easily collaborate and learn from one another. EDV: There's an assumption [from firm-leadership] that using technology means, "That's going to be really quick, right?" RS: That has a lot to do with communicating, letting someone understand what it is that you know how to do, and how long it will take. The joy of hand drawing is being able to express yourself quickly. If someone is standing over your shoulder asking, "Can you make that happen?" but the software is kind of in the way, you can lay a piece of trace over and say, "This is what I'm talking about." JM: There's nothing better when you're in a client meeting explaining something through drawing and then seeing the client understand it. That's such an important skillset -- the ability to explain something through both verbal and visual communication. RS: Or “Is this what you meant?" "I didn't think I did, but that's much better." That's hard to do in front of a screen. Hoover-Mason Trestle

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Developing Philadelphia: THE ROLE OF EMERGING PROFESSIONALS BY DIANA LIND

When I moved to Philadelphia from Brooklyn nearly a decade ago, I was enamored with the city’s sleepy, desolate vibe. Unlike in New York, where the pace of development had given me whiplash, in Philadelphia there were still dozens of old warehouses, vacant lots, and surface parking that had yet to be reimagined. Philadelphia, with its less rapacious market and deep culture of architectural history, seemed poised to get 21st-century development right. Fast forward to 2017. New developments abound, subtly shifting the city’s design baseline from historic to contemporary, from ornately detailed to prefab, from small trinities to large individual houses. Millions more square feet of commercial and residential space are in the works. It’s a very exciting time for the city, and yet, we are at risk of wasting a building boom with mediocre architecture. You see it on Broad Street, our grandest thoroughfare, where condo buildings read as watered-down urbanism. But also in Market East, in rapidly densifying Northern Liberties, Fairmount and too many other neighborhoods. Generic, boxy, clean, nondescript design. Burnt by the aesthetics and logistical shortcomings of many Modern, Brutalist and Post-Modern buildings, developers, clients and the public alike have settled on this un-aesthetic for residential buildings. Worse, new cultural buildings, which should themselves advance our thinking about architecture, instead vaguely reference history with brick and limestone, yet have neither the heft of tradition nor the excitement of the vanguard. No one will complain about these buildings, no one will exalt in them. Like resorting to email or text instead of making a potentially awkward phone call, our architecture these days is comfortable but missing a sense of human engagement. For so long, Philadelphia accepted any new development as good enough. Whatever the design or price to taxpayers, we figured beggars couldn’t be choosers. See our convention center district and Market West for examples. Now, even though the development community is increasingly positioned to get choosier, far too often Philadelphia’s new construction consists of safe designs by mature firms. While the old age of a firm or its principal designer doesn’t in and of itself cause

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OPINION

MANY OF PHILADELPHIA’S MOST EXCITING AND ENDURING BUILDINGS WERE CONSTRUCTED BY YOUNG ARCHITECTS. THE PENNSYLVANIA ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS WAS CONSTRUCTED WHEN FRANK FURNESS WAS JUST 33. WILLIAM LESCAZE AND GEORGE HOWE WERE IN THEIR 30's AND 40's WHEN THEY CONSTRUCTED THE PSFS BUILDING. ROBERT VENTURI WAS 38 WHEN GUILD HOUSE WAS COMPLETED AND TRUMBAUER WAS 41 WHEN THE UNION LEAGUE OPENED ITS DOORS.

safe, inoffensive pap — see Frank Gehry’s renovation of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is exactly not that — it does often correlate. In the past, many of Philadelphia’s most exciting and enduring buildings were constructed by young architects. The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts was constructed when Frank Furness was just 33. William Lescaze and George Howe were in their 30s and 40s when they constructed the PSFS Building. Robert Venturi was 38 when Guild House was completed and Trumbauer was 41 when the Union League opened its doors. Even just a decade ago, Erdy McHenry was hired to design the Piazza at Schmidt’s when the principals were in their early 40s. Each of these buildings raised the standard, whether for a skyscraper or public housing. There are many ways of remedying the dearth of young firms and designers at the helm of major projects in Philadelphia. As the city

embarks on the $500 million Rebuild initiative, this could be an opportunity to engage young architects and landscape designers in the design of their city’s civic assets. The city need not resort to a “youth quota” but rather could design RFPs to engage the skill sets and concerns of younger firms, such as a focus on sustainability and inclusion. New RFP requirements from the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) for social impact and the Pennsylvania Housing Financing Agency (PHFA) for passive house design have, perhaps unintentionally, led to younger architects taking the lead on projects for these agencies. Even if young architects don’t get selected for projects, they still have their bully pulpit— which more people other than Donald Trump should use. The lack of major buildings on the boards by 30- and 40-something architects should be seen as a startling development worthy of more conversation. Despite a building boom unlike any the city has seen in decades, much public outcry has turned to preserving Jewelers Row or Rittenhouse Square balustrades rather than this crisis of confidence in the next generation of designers. This is not just a problem for architecture. Baby boomers still hold the reigns of most of the city’s major political, business, and civic entities. Philadelphians cheered the influx of millennials en masse, but seem skeptical of empowering them. This does not bode well for communities hoping to collectively determine their future. It is then no surprise then that Donald Trump not only campaigned on “the good old days,” but that he was the oldest man to be elected president in our country’s history. If we don’t start raising up our youngest professionals, we will be indeed stuck in the past. ■ Diana Lind is the founding managing director of the Fels Policy Research Initiative. Previously, she was the Director of Digital Audience Development for Philadelphia Media Network and served as Editor in Chief and Executive Director of Next City.

AIA Philadelphia | context | SPRING 2017  25


TECH FREIRE CHARTER SCHOOL

CICADA Architecture/Planning, Inc.

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DESIGN PROFILE PROJECT: TECH Freire Charter School LOCATION: Philadelphia, PA CLIENT: Freire Charter School/Building Hope BUILDING OWNER: Building Hope OWNER'S REPRESENTATIVE: Northstar Owners Representation PROJECT SIZE: 50,000 SF PROJECT TEAM: CICADA Architecture/Planning Inc. (Architect)

PHOTOS: MATT WARGO

PHOTO: LORA REEHLING

Skanska USA (General Contractor)

Through decades of tireless processes and rigor this building housed a car dealership, a manufacturing facility, and a vocational school. TECH Freire Charter School renovated this building to ignite an empowering high school experience of community, project-based, hands-on learning enhanced through technology. The prominent glass façade offers a glimpse of the school’s flexible creative spaces accommodating a variety of tools for young makers and entrepreneurs to think critically and solve real-world problems. As a catalyst to the neighborhood, TECH Freire’s students and its school are equipped for the future while revitalizing North Broad Street. Kara Haggerty Wilson was responsible for day to day project management, communication with the client, design development and seeing the project through the construction phase. ■

AIA Philadelphia | context | SPRING 2017  27


CABRINI ATHLETIC PAVILION

WRT

PROJECT: Cabrini Athletic Pavilion LOCATION: Cabrini University, Radnor, PA CLIENT: Cabrini University

WOODLAND VIEW

SIZE: 48,000 SF PROJECT TEAM: WRT (Architect) Site Engineering Concepts (Civil Engineer) CVM (Structural Engineer) HF Lenz (MEP) Beam (Lighting Design)

ENTRY PLAZA +CAMPUS VIEW

WOODLAND VIEW

CAFE / LOBBY F I T NE S S LOCKERS DA N C E / YO G A S T U DIO RAIN GARDEN

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PHOTOS: JEFFREY TOTARO

DESIGN PROFILE The Cabrini Athletic Pavilion is the first phase in the implementation of a new campus master plan for Cabrini University. The master plan focuses on creating a unified campus environment, through an inversion of the existing campus plan, moving vehicular traffic to its edges and creating a pedestrianfocused core, woven together by a network of paths and open spaces. This enhanced pedestrian connectivity provides important links between campus buildings, including residential and athletic facilities, as well as a new relationship between the campus and the surrounding wooded environment, often referred to as the “Cathedral of Trees.” The new Athletic Pavilion is designed to serve as a great room that connects the various programmatic spaces in a central area at the threshold between the existing center and the new building. Connection to Nature and Restorative Space The Athletic Pavilion is configured to maximize connections to nature, and serve as a destination in the larger campus plan. The main entrance provides a visibly seamless threshold between the new entry plaza and interior lobby space, while the ribbon of glass along the eastern facade of the building provides views to the surrounding woods and campus paths. This transparency enhances the buildings connection back to nature, providing for a dynamic yet peaceful series of restorative spaces in the upper level that showcase the landscapes’ response to the change in seasons. The visual connections between inside and outside also serve to activate the spaces within and around the new Pavilion.

sunlight and add to the dappled shadows cast throughout the day. . Social Spaces The strategic configuration of social spaces in the Cabrini Athletic Pavilion serve a diverse range of user groups. The social spaces are designed at the intersections of circulation to facilitate a density of uses that are enhanced by their adjacencies to program elements and their connections to the exterior. These spaces offer a an intimate scale within the context of the athletic pavilion and the larger campus. Further enhancing the connection back to the campus core and the surrounding landscape, the social and gathering spaces provide a unique urban quality to the collection of spaces along the circulation paths, both inside and outside. This collection of spaces extends interior programs outward, and exterior views and visual connections inward. ■

Daylight The building is configured to maximize views and natural light. The ribbon of eastern facing glass provides sufficient daylight to reduce the building’s dependence on artificial lighting throughout the day. The glass takes advantage of the surrounding deciduous woods to provide shade in the summer and allow sunlight to penetrate in the winter, offering a continuously changing light that adds richness to the experience of the space. The wood ceiling acts to filter the

AIA Philadelphia | context | SPRING 2017  29


POWERHOUSE

ISA - Interface Studio Architects

Francisville is a rapidly gentrifying edge between an expanding Center City core and outlying neighborhoods. Development here has the opportunity to provide variety and diversity in keeping with the character of the community around it. Powerhouse carefully fits a dense cluster of 31 units into the urban fabric, navigating existing buildings on a sloping site by varying typologies and scales across the block. Single family townhomes, duplexes, and two small apartment buildings provide a wide variety of living options at a range of prices to meet the needs and budgets of residents. Three existing rowhouses were integrated into the streetwall inspiring an in-andout jog along the sidewalk that looks to camouflage the old and new into a single zone. The stoop is a traditional Philadelphia condition that acts as a mediator between the public sidewalk and the private residence. This project expands on this idea with a “super stoop” – a sequence of generous entry platforms navigating grade changes, entry stairs, and basement windows, and featuring fabricated metal handrail panels designed by local artist Jenny Sabin Studio.

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DESIGN PROFILE PROJECT: Powerhouse LOCATION: Philadelphia CLIENT: Postgreen Homes/Equinox MC SIZE: 35,000 SF PROJECT TEAM: ISA (Architect) Larsen & Landis (Structural) J+M Engineering (MEP)

PHOTOS: SAM OBERTER PHOTOGRAPHY

Jenny Sabin (Artist)

Powerhouse is deeply green as architecture and as an urban block. Stormwater is completely managed by way of green roofs and rain gardens along the curb line (taking in water from the street surface). The buildings themselves are super energy efficient with all 31 units achieving LEED Platinum certification. ■

AIA Philadelphia | context | SPRING 2017  31


DESIGN PROFILE

This fast growing Philadelphia-area brewery was looking to expand their operations and create a new venue to enjoy their beer. The brewery took over two floors, 8000 sf, of an existing industrial building to integrate two types of program, brewing and dining. The new brewpub includes a three barrel, seven fermenter brewing system, 2 full bars, seating for 200 guests, and an outdoor patio area. The two story space was connected by removing a large portion of the first floor ceiling to open up the dining areas. A food truck was brought into the building to act as the restaurant’s kitchen, which can be seen throughout the brewpub. Wood herringbone ceilings are used to visually connect both bars and compliment the exposed brick and painted walls. The exterior finished uses the same graphic language as the interior. The brewery’s bike logo wraps the corner of the building at the front patio, serving as an icon as you come over the Schuylkill River into the community. ■

PROJECT: Conshohocken Brewery Company LOCATION: Bridgeport, PA CLIENT: Conshohocken Brewery Company SIZE: 8,000 SF PROJECT TEAM: Moto Designshop (Architect) Penn Fusion Engineering (Structural) Castelli Engineering (MEP) Holden Robert Associates (Construction)

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Moto Designshop

PHOTOS: ROMAN TORRES

CONSHOHOCKEN BREWERY CO.


DESIGN PROFILE

WALNUT ESTATES

PHOTOS: ROMAN TORRES

Moto Designshop

PROJECT: Walnut Estates LOCATION: Philadelphia, PA CLIENT: Kellytown Development, LLC. SIZE: 22,000 SF PROJECT TEAM: Moto Designshop (Architect) Penn Fusion Engineering (Structural) Fialco, LLC (Structural) Wick Fisher White (MEP) Poulson & Associates (Geotechnical and Civil) Stantec (Subdivision and Surveying)

Three 5,500sf homes and one 6,000sf home now sit on a very unique site in the historically designated Society Hill neighborhood. To the east sits 101 Walnut, a twelve story contemporary white residential tower, while to the west sits Bookbinder’s, a 5 story Greek Revival building and one of Philadelphia’s most significant landmarked historic sites. Between these two buildings, the Walnut St Estates mediates form, height, materiality and design concept. The project’s masonry and glass exterior is articulated by a delicate brick solar screen who’s proportions and color reference the contemporary influence to the east, while the underlying building form, height and mass of the project echo the scale and tonality of Bookbinders to the west. The home’s interior features walnut hardwood and travertine limestone tile floors, walnut ceilings, custom millwork, and highly detailed stairs and railings. The 4/5 bedroom, 5 full and 2 half bath homes feature two car garage parking and in-law suite on the ground level with a classic piano nobile on the 2nd floor with a double height space in the front. A library and add tional bedrooms sit on the 3rd floor while the master suite covers the entire 4th floor and circulates around an open sky garden. The roof lounge features two terraces and a second Poggenpohl kitchen making for an unparalleled entertaining space. The Walnut Street Estates project redefined expectations in the luxury home market of Philadelphia and it’s amenities, details and concepts are imitated throughout the city. ■

AIA Philadelphia | context | SPRING 2017  33


DESIGN PROFILE TRUMBAR It is both inspiring and intimidating to work within an iconic architect’s masterpiece. This renovation inserts itself respectfully yet confidently within Horace Trumbauer’s 1920’s lobby at the Franklin Hotel. To create an elegant respite within the larger hospitality space, Stanev Potts Architects worked to add a small cocktail bar and seating area in a manner that enhanced the overall ambiance of the larger volume of space while ensuring that patrons of the bar would feel a world apart. Trumbar represents an exploration into modern interpretations of old-world materials and architectural techniques. The design is comprised of three primary components: the cocktail bar, two light vaults, and a floating sculpture.

Light Vaults The soft insertion of light and texture into the remaining two hotel check-in windows is meant to architecturally identify a programmatic zone of dining and refreshment within the lobby. The challenge of this detail was to evoke a quiet elegance in tones and materials that were equal to those already existing in the art-deco lobby without competing with them. Sculpture The floating sculpture was employed to further differentiate the programmatic zone of refreshment, as well as to lower an implied ceiling, adding intimacy to the Trumbar. 34  SPRING 2017 | context | AIA Philadelphia

Stanev Potts Architects

PROJECT: Trumbar LOCATION: Philadelphia, PA CLIENT: Korman Communities, AKA PROJECT TEAM: Stanev Potts Architects (Architect) Andrew Slavinskas (Lighting) Castelli Engineering (MEP) Phoenix Design Group, Inc. (Contractor) PHOTOS: STANEV POTTS

Cocktail Bar Inspired by Trumbauer’s original 1920’s hotel design, Trumbar was designed to have a speakeasy ambiance. Tucked into what once served as a hotel check-in window, a full service bar and liquor display was compressed into less than 100 SF. The desire to have a warm, hearth-like glow emanate from the space without adding a distraction to the larger lobby drove many choices in lighting and materials. Low levels of light distributed through many sources were employed rather than fewer, brighter lights.

Inspiration was pulled from the anecdote of Benjamin Franklin’s encounter with lighting and subsequent discovery of electricity. Part kite tail, part lightning bolt, the ribbon facets bend and rotate to invoke the exhuberance and elegance of tamed electricity and the spirits imbibed below. ■


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Structural Engineering and Design Evaluation of Existing Structures Due Diligence Studies

STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING Larsen & Landis.......................................................................................... Inside Back Cover www.larsenlandis.com

Historic Preservation Expert Testimony

O’Donnell & Naccarato...........................................................................................................3 www.o-n.com WINDOWS & DOORS North American Window & Door Co., Inc.................................................... Inside Back Cover www.northamericanwindow.com

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Top photo courtesy Christopher Simmonds Architect, bottom photo courtesy of Caskey & Caskey of Shorewood Realtors


CONTEXT - Spring 2017  

From community engagement to social consciousness to alternative career paths, we take a look at how emerging professionals flex their creat...

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