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9 local winners of AIA Philadelphia’s 2017 Design Awards

From a boutique hotel to stunning reading room, these projects are this year’s local AIA winners

The AIA Philadelphia hosted its annual Design Awards this month, highlighting the recent work of a long list of local architecture firms. Bohlin Cywynski Jackson took home the awards’ highest Gold Medal honor for its work on the Newport Beach Civic Center.

Here at Curbed Philly, we’re keen on the local award-winning work. This year’s winners include an eclectic mix of adaptive reuse, new construction, and residential projects. While some of these buildings and places may be familiar, others are less so, hidden in private buildings. Here are nine projects in Philly that took home prizes.

Photo by Halkin|Mason Photography

El Corazón Cultural Center

A merit winner in the built category, this recently completed community center at 2600 N. 5th Street adds even more pops of color and to the El Centro de Oro district. Designed by WRT, the $8.2 million project was spearheaded by Taller Puertorriqueño and took more than a decade in planning and building from start to finish. It features plenty of flex space, as well as a courtyard, classrooms, a theater, and Puertorriqueño ’s offices.

Courtesy of KSS Architects

Pennovation Center

Also a merit winner in the built category, Pennovation Center in Grays Ferry was designed by KSS Architects and Hollwich Kushner, a collaborative partner and a design lead on the project. It opened in July 2016 as an extension of Penn’s campus as a place for innovative entrepreneurs, scientists, and researchers to collaborate. Although it looks brand new, the $26.2 million project was actually an adaptive reuse of an old DuPont factory.

Photo by Barry Halkin

Perelman Auditorium

MGA Partners won a merit award in the built interiors category for their work on the new Perelman Auditorium, located in the Art Deco Perelman Building next to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The project, which recently finished this year, blends the old with new and opened up a series of large windows that were previously blocked, allowing more views of the Parkway.

Photo by Brad Feinknopf

The Grand Reading Room at Penn

Winner of a merit award in the built interiors category, the Grand Reading Room at the University of Pennsylvania’s Library was designed by Gensler and opened in May 2017. The soaring, light-filled room was designed with sound in mind: The handmade felted wool mural and wood ceilings double as acoustical features that separate the reading room from the rest of the building and campus.

Photo by Todd Mason, Halkin|Mason Photography

The Study

The Study, a new hotel by Drexel’s campus, won an honor award in the built hospitality category. It was one of a handful of DIGSAU-designed projects that were honored, and only recently opened in January 2017. The boutique hotel’s facade is highly textured, featuring dark ironspot brick.

Photo by Todd Mason, Halkin|Mason Photography

The Walnut Estates

Moto Designshop’s Walnut Estates is a collection of three 5,000-square-foot and one 6,000-square-foot residences at 111-117 Walnut Street. The five-story townhouses are hidden behind an eye-catching white-brick facade that doubles as a shading device. The townhomes won a merit award in the built residential category.

Renderings by ISA and Groundswell

Cherry Street Pier

The impending transformation of Cherry Street Pier was merit winner in the unbuilt category for adaptive reuse. Designed by ISA and Groundswell, the $4.5 million project will restore the long vacant Pier 9 next to Race Street Pier and turn it into a community gathering space with markets and artist studios.

Rendering by DIGSAU

Discovery Center

DIGSAU snagged another award at this year’s design awards, this time an honor award in the unbuilt category for new construction. The $7.75 million project recently broke ground and will bring an educational and research facility run by Audubon PA and Outward Bound to East Park Reservoir, which has been closed for nearly 50 years. The center will be highlighted by a nearly 500-foot-long piece of charred wood that will serve as the building’s facade.

Photo by Todd Mason, Halkin|Mason Photography

Network in Relief

The Divine Detail award went to DIGSAU, who designed this complicated series of stepped wood slabs in Adaptimmune’s new headquarters at the Navy Yard (the architecture firm also designed the entire building). The $10 million project features four-inch-thick plywood slabs installed into the building’s Monumental Stairs.

The Navy Yard

4747 South Broad Street, , PA 19112 Visit Website

Race Street Pier

Race Street, , PA 19106 Visit Website

Grays Ferry

, , PA

Perelman Building

2525 Pennsylvania Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130 Visit Website

Philadelphia Museum of Art

2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, , PA 19130 Visit Website