Philadelphia 30th Street Station District Plan Wins 2017 AIA Institute Honor Award

The Philadelphia 30th Street Station District Plan, created through the partnership of Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University, PennDOT, and SEPTA, and developed by SOM in association with WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, OLIN, and HR&A Advisors, will realize the long-awaited vision of a bold, fully integrated mixed-use urban district, with a vibrant transportation hub situated at its core. The project has been honored by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) as a 2017 recipient of the Institute Honor Award for Regional & Urban Design, the profession’s highest recognition for exemplary urban design and planning projects.

The District Plan envisions a sweeping transformation of the historic station and the vast rail yard it anchors, creating a new city fabric above the district’s complex transportation infrastructure. Through bold development, an activated public realm, and an expanded transit network, the plan creates a framework for Philadelphia’s next great neighborhood, based on an extensive process of stakeholder and community engagement. “The District Plan beautifully reimagines one of Philadelphia’s greatest assets at the center of a world-class urban district,” said Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Director Kristopher Takács, AIA. “SOM is honored to have led an extraordinary team of professionals, future-leaning institutions, and committed citizens to envision a pivotal transformation.”

The District Plan overlays the result of a broad and inclusive participatory planning methodology onto some of the most complex physical infrastructure imaginable in a single area. The site includes 88 acres of rail yard hosting 11 Amtrak routes, 13 commuter rail routes, and one freight line crisscrossing at various elevations; an interstate highway separating the site from the adjoining Schuylkill River; and existing bridge and raised deck infrastructure. The Plan creates new city fabric over the rail yards, both elegantly—by weaving streets, open space, and building infrastructure throughout the site for maximum connectivity, amenity, and safety—and strategically, by preserving robust railroad operability while enabling incremental development of individual platform areas over time.

The 2017 AIA Institute Honor Award for Regional & Urban Design jury includes: Susan Chin, FAIA (Chair), Design Trust for Public Space, New York City, David W. Benn, AIA, Cho Benn Holback + Associates, Inc., Baltimore, James S. Bershof, FAIA, OZ Architecture, Denver, Sheila Kennedy, FAIA, Kennedy & Violich Architecture, Ltd., Roxbury, Massachusetts, Robert L. Ooley, FAIA, Santa Barbara County Government, Office of the County Architect, Santa Barbara, California.

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