The Philadelphia Center for Architecture has awarded a team of
graduate students from the University of Maryland’s architecture program the Jury Prize for Most Realistic Design in the 2013 Ed Bacon Student Design Competition. Their design, a re-envisioning of the Schuylkill waterfront in the heart of Philadelphia, was one of four selected for special jury prizes from a formidable pool of student-led entries from universities around the world. The team will be honored at an awards ceremony February 21st in Philadelphia.
“This is a terrific achievement for a talented group of students,” said David Cronrath, Dean of Maryland’s School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. “Their design is innovative, attainable and environmentally sensitive, which in my book is the gold standard for any city improvement project. It is also a testament to the professional mentoring our students receive from our outstanding faculty.”
View Team Maryland’s winning entry
Hosted by the Philadelphia Center for Architecture, the Ed Bacon Student Design Competition invites student teams to tackle 21st century urban design challenges using a site from the Philadelphia area as a case study. This year’s competition focused on the challenges cities face when major transportation corridors and dense urban areas intersect. Participating teams were asked to develop a creative, innovative design that interweaves two of Philadelphia’s prime transportation arteries—Amtrak’s main corridor and Route I-76—into the city’s built and natural environments.
The key to Maryland’s winning design involved stitching together the east and west parts of Philadelphia without relocating the major transportation corridors that divide them. Instead of adapting or relocating the existing rail and highway, a costly design decision, the team devised a scheme that extended the city’s urban fabric over the two major transit pathways, keeping them intact. The result is a blanket waterfront space that provides a vibrant pedestrian district and riverside esplanade while maintaining critical transit thoroughfares below the scenes. This plan not only creates a streamlined express route through the city for travelers, it physically and visually connects the east and west side of the city by creating a more organized street grid with the addition of two bridges, street extensions and relocation of the 30th St. Station train yard.
“We decided early on that instead of developing a ‘pie in the sky’ design, we wanted to focus our efforts on accentuating and adding to what the existing site had to offer, without altering the railway or I-76 routes,” said Julian Goldman (MArch Candidate, ’13), one of the student team members.
The students executed the project as part of ARCH 700, a design studio course taugh
t by Professor Matthew Bell, AIA. Although the competition is built as an exercise, it tackles real-world challenges faced by cities and designers around the world. It also offers the opportunity for student collaboration under an intense deadline; the team had just three weeks to create and develop their scheme.
“Philadelphia is such a great city to study and it provides so many important and interesting urban design lessons,” said Bell. “I have to admit, the competition was one of the most complicated and challenging sites I have ever given to my studio and I’m very pleased that the jury found our proposal to be both realistic and well-conceived. It’s a big honor.”
Maryland’s winning team members are all graduate students within the School’s Architecture Program. They are Julian Goldman, Emma Crenshaw, Mike Taylor, Jake Bialeck, Mark Elliot, Tamir Ezzat, Eric Joerdens and Katrina McRainey.