Curbed Young Guns, now in its first year, aims to identify promising up-and-coming talent (35 and under) in the fields of architecture, interior design, and urban development. For the next few weeks, Curbed National will run individual stories on each semifinalist; the inaugural class of Young Guns will be announced in mid August. In the mean time, though, here's a look at a semifinalist based in Philly:
Renderings for the Lower Schuylkill Master Plan are somewhat romanticized, naturally, showing little computer-generated families strolling along the banks of a computer-generated river, watching computer-generated kayakers boat by. Computer-generated children frolic, a computer-generated dog is being walked. Yet if any of this urban utopia becomes a reality within the next couple of decades, the city of Philadelphia will have Dylan Salmons, 25, among its list of people to thank.
In 2012, Salmons, a New Jersey native, left the University of Pennsylvania's graduate architecture program to pursue real-world career opportunities, eventually joining the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) as an assistant real estate manager. He had been interning there, and had been "thinking about whether or not I was going to return to the University of Pennsylvania. But being in the more pragmatic world and having some really great insight and access to stuff, I decided to take the contract position. I told them, 'Sure, I'll work to get the Lower Schuylkill out the door.'"
From the time he was a kid, Salmons had always been interested in design and construction. Working summers for his dad's building company "directed me into architecture," Salmons says, and while at Penn for grad school he joined the Wharton Real Estate Club. "Architecture school was my full-on designer 'explore-everything mode,'" he says. "While Wharton allowed me to balance that with pragmatism, plus it allowed me to connect with people who had skin in the game." Combine these interests with an undergraduate degree in the urban-planning side of landscape architecture: it's no wonder Salmons was just the guy to help devise a plan to redevelop 3,700 acres of vacant industrial land along the lower banks of the Schuylkill River.