The Fall 2019 issue of Context focuses on the provocation that Design is a Dirty Word.

Special Offer
for AIA Philadelphia Members

Architectural Record is offering AIA Philadelphia Members the chance to continue their subscription for a special rate of $49 for a full year. To view the offer and continue your subscription, click here.

November 14, 2018
Chapter News

AIA Philadelphia Celebrates Annual Design Award Winners

By Elizabeth Paul
Celebrating the 2018 Design Award Winners

On Wednesday, November 7, 2018, the Kimmel Center in Center City Philadelphia served as the backdrop for a gala event honoring design excellence at the Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects’(AIA Philadelphia) Annual Design Awards Gala. More than 20 individual and firm awards were presented including an unprecedented two honorees for the coveted Gold Medal, the highest honor of the night.

This year’s Toronto based jury included: Brigitte Shim, Hon. FAIA (Shim-Sutcliffe Architects), Meg Graham, FRAIC (superkul), Siamak Hariri, FRAIC, Int'l Assoc. AIA (Hariri Pontarini Architects), and Tom Bessai OAA, MRAIC (Denegri Bessai Studio Architecture).

Two Gold Medals Awarded

Interface Studio Architects (ISA) and KieranTimberlake shared the spotlight last night when both firms were awarded the AIA Philadelphia Gold Medal, the highest honor of the night.  

ISA won for their Transatlantic project; a 115,000 square foot 10 million dollar project consists of single family residential, multi-family and mixed-use uses here in Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties neighborhood. The project site contained a series of existing industrial buildings many of which had substantial contamination and structural issues. These were removed, while the centerpiece six-story heavy timber Transatlantic warehouse was renovated into loft apartments. The jury found the exceptional mending of the urban fabric in this project compelling and commented that this project puts Philadelphia in the same category as some of the best infill work in the world.  

KieranTimberlake won for their London Embassy project, a transparent crystalline cube set atop a two-story colonnade in the heart of the Nine Elms district in southwest London. The US State department envisioned a new Embassy in London that would serve as the centerpiece of one of America’s longest standing and most valued relationships while presenting the American ideals of transparency, openness, and equality. The embassy’s environmental design sets a new standard for civic design, exemplified by the building’s high performance, multi-layered facade that provides generous natural light while managing solar gain and glare and a pond that demonstrates integrative passive technologies by doubling as a stormwater basin and landscape irrigation system. The jury appreciated how difficult the program was and gave special recognition for the project’s stellar sustainability interventions confirming the architects had successfully blended the landscape, architecture, and sustainability goals with this incredible project.

Two Divine Detail Award Winners

Moto Designshop and Dragani Martone Studio, LLP (dMAS) were winners of the Divine Detail Award which honors a particular aspect of built work (including furnishings) embodying exemplary design innovation and/or craftsmanship.

Moto Designshop won for the brick solar screen at Walnut Estates, three single-family residences in the Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia. The project is situated between a 12-story contemporary white residential tower and the significantly landmarked historical site, Bookbinder’s, a 5-story Greek revival building. The delicate brick solar screen serves to filter the intense southern daylight; while at night, acts as a privacy veil.

dMAS won for their Wunderkammer project, a modular wood armature and exhibit wall located in the space of Land Collective here in Old City, Philadelphia. Playing with the notion of the Wunderkammer, the art wall introduces differently shaped boxes for display of antique gardening tools either individually or in a group. The design of the art wall is a direct response to the nature and physical characteristics of the artifacts being exhibited, and each box is constructed employing only the essential materials required to perform its function. The jury liked the modesty and restraint of this project and appreciated the humble materials that allow the tools to be enjoyed and displayed.  

In addition to the Gold Medal and Divine Detail awards, the following Philadelphia firms received awards based on projects they submitted to the 2018 Design Award Jury: 

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Sumers Recreation Center, Washington University St. Louis, Honor Award - Built– a 102,000 square foot expansion of Washington University’s historic Francis gymnasium.


WP Point, Merit Award - Built– a 7,000 square foot $2 million project for the Boy Scouts of America, located in Glen Jean, West Virginia. 

Ozark Podium, Honor Award - Unbuilt– Scheduled for completion in 2020, a medium density housing project located in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Erdy McHenry Architecture 

LIV Birmingham, Merit Award - Unbuilt– a 27,5590 square foot building that addresses issues of food security while raising social consciousness of both local and global sustainability.


Jefferson Health, Cherry Hill, Honor Award - Built– a 102,000 square foot $82 million new construction healthcare facility.

Granum A/I

Incyte Corporate Headquarters Expansion, Merit Award - Built– 154,000 square foot project located in Wilmington, Delaware that expanded the current corporate site, added a parking garage, and a new building dedicated to offices.


Ballet X, Merit Award for Interiors - Built– 5,000 square foot headquarters for Philadelphia’s premier contemporary ballet.

Tiny Tower, Honor Award - Built – 1,250 square foot home on a 12’ x 29’ lot in Brewerytown is the prototype for flexible use buildings on small urban lots.


High Horse Ranch, Merit Award - Built– a 2,580 square foot private residence in Willits, California.

MGA Partners

The Shipley School, Merit Award - Built–a 37,000 square foot, $13 million dollar project creating a formal campus green.

Individual awards were also presented to an esteemed group of deserving professionals.

The John Frederick Harbeson Award was given to David Hollenberg, AIA, Architect at University of Pennsylvania. This award is presented annually to a long-standing member of the architectural community and is intended to recognize their significant contributions over their lifetime to the architectural profession and its related disciplines. 

The Paul Philippe Cret Award was given to Susan Weiler, FASLA, Partner at OLIN. This award recognizes individuals or organizations who are not architects but who have made an outstanding and lasting contribution to the design of buildings, structures, landscapes, and the public realm of Greater Philadelphia.

The Young Architect Award was given to Jordan M. Mrazik, AIA, Associate at KSS ArchitectsThis award, given by AIA Philadelphia’s Steering Committee of Fellows, recognizes a registered architect between the ages of 25 and 39 for their contribution to the categories of leadership, practice, and service.

The Philadelphia Emerging Architect Prize was given to SHIFTSPACE. This award recognizes an emerging architecture firm, one that has been established and licensed within the past ten years, producing high-quality design and innovative thought within the Philadelphia region.

The Alan Greenberger Award was given to Jeffrey Brummer, AIA, Principal of Jeffrey Brummer Architects. Presented by the Community Design Collaborative (Collaborative) this award recognizes Collaborative leaders/volunteers and AIA Member for their commitment and service to our mission.

Congratulations to all of the individuals and firms recognized for their exceptional achievements in design.

©Copyright 2008-2020 AIA Philadelphia. All Rights Reserved.