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October 21, 2014
Chapter News

AIA Philadelphia Announces Annual Award Winners

By Elizabeth Paul

Paul R. Levy; George L. Claflen, Jr. FAIA, LEED AP; Joshua Otto, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP; and RKM Architects among winners celebrated at the 2014 AIA Philadelphia Awards for Design Excellence.
AIA Philadelphia’s Annual Awards for Design Excellence acknowledges the achievements of member architects and demonstrates their capability to realize high standards of design, building efficiency, and sustainability. In addition to the jury-selected awards for built and un-built projects, AIA Philadelphia also celebrates the achievements of individuals and firms in recognition of their contributions to the profession of architecture and the built environment. The following honorees were celebrated during the Awards for Design Excellence Gala on October 20, 2014 at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel.
Paul Philippe Cret AwardThe Paul Philippe Cret Award recognizes individuals or organizations who are not architects but who have made an outstanding and lasting contribution to the design of buildings, structure, landscapes, and the public realm of Greater Philadelphia.
Paul R. Levy, President and CEO Center City District – Mr. Levy is the founding chief executive of the Center City District, a $19.4 million downtown management district, providing security, cleaning, place marketing, promotion, and planning services for the central business district of Philadelphia. Mr. Levy has dedicated his career to returning Center City Philadelphia to its original national prominence. Using a foundation of safety and cleanliness, he is revitalizing the built environment by focusing on engaging public spaces with projects such as Aviator Park in Logan Square, Dilworth Park on the west side of City Hall, and a new park along the elevated tracks of the Reading Viaduct. Mr. Levy’s vision of creating inviting public spaces that make Philadelphia a more walkable, livable, energetic, and welcoming place to work and play and his strong commitment to design excellence make him a clear choice to receive this year’s Cret award.
John Frederick Harbeson AwardThe John Frederick Harbeson Award is presented annually to a long-standing member of the architectural community and is intended to recognize significant contributions to the architectural profession made over their lifetime.
George L. Claflen, Jr. FAIA, LEED AP, Principal-in-Charge, Claflen Associates – Throughout his 30-year career as an architect, urban designer, teacher, and advocate, Mr. Claflen has collaborated with Philadelphia City agencies to find ways to improve its policies, codes, and infrastructure. Claflen is a founding member of the Design Advocacy Group of Philadelphia (DAG) where he helped shape DAG’s Reform Agenda for Planning and Design Review in Philadelphia. He has more than 30 years of experience practicing architecture in Philadelphia and was a professor of architecture at Temple University serving as Chair of the program. Mr. Claflen is a past president of the American Institute of Architects, Philadelphia Chapter, a current AIA Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and is the principal of Claflen Associates. Mr. Claflen’s storied career and commitment to collaboration with public agencies makes him the selection for this year’s Harbeson Award.
Young Architect AwardThe Young Architect Award, presented by AIA Philadelphia’s Steering Committee of Fellows, seeks to recognize a candidate’s contribution to the categories of leadership, practice, and service.
Joshua C. Otto, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, Otto Architects – Mr. Otto has exemplified outstanding merits in leadership, practice, and service. From the formation of his own award-winning practice to his enthusiastic leadership and service to the profession, the Chapter, and the community, he is most deserving of this year’s Young Architect Award. He is a Registered Architect and LEED Accredited Professional, active on AIA Philadelphia's Board of Directors, Co-Chair the AIA Philadelphia Design Committee, and is a frequent volunteer with the Community Design Collaborative. He is the co-founder and coordinator of the Philadelphia Emerging Architecture (PEA) Prize, has taught in the School of Architecture at Philadelphia University, and is on the Building Committee of Frank Lloyd Wright's National Landmark, Beth Sholom Synagogue. His Tria Taproom project in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square neighborhood was a finalist for the 2014 James Beard Foundation, Best Restaurant Design in the 75 seats and under category. Mr. Otto’s robust young career is why he was selected for this year’s Young Architect Award.
Philadelphia Emerging Architect PrizeThe PEAPrize is awarded annually to recognize an emerging architecture firm producing high-quality design and innovative thought within the Philadelphia region.
RKM Architects – Established in 2010, RKM Architects is an award-winning Philadelphia design firm with an emphasis on urban residential design and modestly scaled commercial and mixed-use projects. RKM’s philosophy revolves around forming collaborative relationships to inform their design solutions, bringing humanity to built form, and using reclaimed and salvaged materials. They have a reputation for both adaptive reuse and new construction, with a design ethic that is rooted in a sense of place, materiality, detail, and light. Examples of their work, such as the Block House in Northern Liberties and the Merit Award winning Lantern House in Fishtown are just a few examples of RKM’s design philosophy at work and a clear reason why they are this year’s PEAPrize winner.
In addition, 26 projects designed by AIA Philadelphia members were also honored including the unbuilt project Silver Medal winner, Adelphi University Nexus Academic/Welcome Center designed by Ballinger, and the built project Gold Medal winner, The Challenge Program Construction Training & Education Center by Digsau. To view the winning projects, please visit our Pinterest page.

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