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6 March 2017

HOK’s Philadelphia Practice Announces Winners of 2017 Futures Design Challenge

1st Place - Architecture

Philadelphia University students Shannon McLain and Anna Ayik created the winning architecture entry.

HOK announced the winners of its inaugural HOK Futures Design Challenge on Feb. 21 at an awards ceremony that took place in the firm’s Philadelphia office.

HOK’s design competition challenged students to create architectural and interior design solutions for the Viaduct Rail Park site in Philadelphia’s Center City District. Students from eight Philadelphia-area design schools competed for internships and cash prizes.

Architecture entrants were asked to design a 100,000-sq.-ft. mixed-use building with corporate, retail, residential and public amenities, as well as a pedestrian connection to the elevated Rail Park. Interiors participants designed a 19,000-sq.-ft. brewery and distillery to serve as the anchor tenant in a new mixed-use building. The program required interior design teams to create public areas, including a lobby, kitchen and dining room, as well as space for offices and brewery operations.

“The submissions for our HOK Futures Design Challenge were excellent,” said Kenneth Drucker, FAIA, design principal for HOK’s Philadelphia practice. “It was refreshing to see the passion and vision that students across the Philadelphia region expressed through their design solutions.”

Architecture Jurors (brian missing)3

The jury for the architecture competition (above and left-to-right) included Alex Bachrach, publisher at BNP Media/Architectural Record; Kenneth Drucker, FAIA, design principal for HOK’s Philadelphia practice; Marguerite Anglin, project architect at Temple University; William Menking, founder and editor-in-chief of The Architect’s Newspaper; Mark Kocent, principal planner at the University of Pennsylvania; and Brian Berson (not pictured), vice president of development at Brandywine Trust.


The jury for the interior design competition (above and left-to-right) included Jeremy Babel, AIA, project architect at Etsy; Jhane Barnes, a design leader in the textile industry; Kimberly Miller, AIA, director of design at Drexel University; Gail Holmes, director of interiors, planning, design & construction at Drexel University; and Mark Strauss, publisher of Interior Design magazine and president emeritus at Interior Design Media.

1st-Place-Architecture scheme

Philadelphia University third-year students Shannon McLain and Anna Ayik created the winning architecture entry, “Unity” (above). Jurors praised their design for its well-developed public and collaborative spaces, thoughtful response to the site and “graceful interplay between the two curving towers and the curvilinear rail line.”

1st Place - Interiors
Drexel University’s Julia Keohane and Henry Whalen (above) submitted the winning interior design entry, ”First Line” (below). Jurors applauded the “excellent variety of themed experiences,” well-developed plan and thoughtful placement of a beer garden adjacent to the Rail Park.


“We were honored and delighted to host the first annual HOK Futures Design Challenge,” said Lorraine Fisher, director of interiors for HOK’s Philadelphia office. “We had great participation from local universities, thoughtful jurors and generous sponsors. We look forward to continuing the tradition and expanding the competition to other cities within HOK’s global network.”

Undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in interior design and architecture at eight local universities—The Art Institute of Philadelphia, Drexel University, Harcum College, Moore College of Art & Design, Penn State University, Philadelphia University, Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania—registered to compete in one- and two-person teams. Three finalists in each category were invited to present their work before the jury.

Architecture finalists:

  • First Place: “Unity” by Shannon McLain and Anna Ayik and  from Philadelphia University
  • Second Place: “Ripple” by Shih-Kai Lin and Cheuk Wai Lam from the University of Pennsylvania
  • Third Place: “Etherflex” by Alexandra Adamski and Kurt Nelson from the University of Pennsylvania

Interior design finalists:

  • First Place: “First Line” by Julia Keohane and Henry Whalen from Drexel University
  • Second Place: “Rail Ale” by Natala Covert and Xiao Long from Drexel University
  • Third Place: “The Station” by Jocelyn Eisenstaedt and Sonia Benner from Moore College of Art & Design

The two winning teams were honored at the awards ceremony with a cash prize and offered part-time summer internships in HOK’s Philadelphia office. Second-place and third-place teams also earned cash prizes.

The competition’s sponsors included Interface Carpet, Herman Miller/Geiger, Eykon, Atlas Carpet, Haworth, McGrory Glass, Teknion, Hunter Douglas, Mohawk, Formglas, Humanscale, Milliken Carpet, Diversified Lighting Associates, Garden State Tile, Kimball Office, Lutron, Synergy, Mannington, Metalwërks, Steelcase, Designtex, Coalesse and Tandus Centiva.

View the Flickr album for more images of the event.