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Announcing the Winners of the 2019 HOK Futures Design Challenge

Competition recognizes Philadelphia-area undergraduate and masters students with first-, second- and third-place winners for both architecture and interior design.

The results are in with students representing University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University taking home cash awards and internships in the third-annual HOK Futures Design Challenge. Jurors for the competition included architects and designers from some of the region’s most respected firms as well as editors from Curbed and Contract magazines.

“Once again our jurors were so impressed by the artistry and thoughtfulness behind this year’s entries to the HOK Futures Design Challenge,” said Lorraine Fisher, director of interiors for HOK’s Philadelphia studio. “Our region and its great universities are developing some of the nation’s most talented young designers.”

More than 30 teams entered this year’s competition that asked students to reimagine a space adjacent to Philadelphia’s South 9th Street Italian Market. From the city’s first Italian residents to today’s flourishing Asian and Latino communities, the outdoor marketplace has long served as a hub of immigrant culture.

Architecture students were asked to design a new mixed-use building across the street from the market that would serve the surrounding neighborhood in a civic capacity and contribute to its evolving identity. The new building would also house an existing restaurant (Anastasi Seafood) that is currently located on the site and include at least 100,000 square feet of new residential apartments. Interior design students were challenged to develop a design for a new marketplace on the property with a flexible dining area that could convert to event space. They also needed to create a community kitchen incubator (a “We Work for cooking”) with views and access to a community vegetable garden.

Jennifer Son and Joonsung Lee of the University of Pennsylvania took first place in the architectural competition. Jurists Nanako Umemoto, principal with RUR Architecture, Brad Fiske, former senior principal and national director of design at Jacob/KlingStubbins, and Anna Merriman, editor of Curbed Philadelphia, noted that the Son and Lee team presented a creative, believable solution to a complex program.

“The site planning is thoughtful, with well-mixed commercial and residential components,” wrote the jurists. “The residential portion is set back and buffered from the bustling market corridor, while the market buildings hold the edge of 9th Street. The concept is inclusive, progressive and forward-thinking.”

Leah Stoner and Taylor Regester of Drexel University won first place in the interior design competition. The team described their entry for a new marketplace and kitchen incubator as a “convergence of old and new, farm and industry, familiarity and innovation.” Jurists Richard Mark, principal at Richard Mark Design, Mark Strauss, strategic adviser for the International WELL Building Institute, and Paul Makovsky, editor-in-chief of Contract Magazine, commended Stoner and Regester for “presentation delivery that was spot on and outstanding translation of program into design.”

The quality of this year’s entries made selecting the winners and finalists extremely difficult, according to both juries. “The complex design problem posed to the students would have been a challenge even to seasoned design professionals,” said jurist Richard Mark. “To see the student submissions rise to and exceed expectations in terms of solution, creativity and polish in presentation technique was truly gratifying to the jury.”

Caleb Ehly and Patrick Danahy of the University of Pennsylvania won second place in the architecture competition for an entry the jury noted had “an artistry not seen in any other submissions.” A team made up of Paul McCoy and Madison Green, also of the University of Pennsylvania, won third place for architecture for their entry that the jury praised for “communicating well with its surroundings.”

Drexel University students Justin Lee and Eunbi Kim took second place in the interiors competition for their “great stylistic approach with innovative use of materials and shapes.” Aishwarya Gunta and Kristianne Simeone, also from Drexel, won third place for what jurists described as “forward, outside-of-the-box thinking.”

At an awards ceremony Feb. 19, the first-place teams for the architecture and interiors competition were honored with a $6,000 check and an offer for a paid internship with HOK. Second-place winners took home a prize of $4,000 per team, with third-place teams earning $2,000.

HOK would like to thank the many sponsors of the Futures Design Challenge without whom the competition and event would not be possible. Those sponsors include: McGrory Glass (event partner), Haworth, Knoll I CFI | Filz Felt and Mohawk Group (Center Square sponsors); Diversified Lighting Associates and Interface (Franklin Square sponsors); AOE, Armstrong, Daltile, Designtex/Steelcase/Coalesse, Duet Design Partnership, Furniture Solutions & Resources, Geiger, Gordon Inc., Humanscale, Jopson Associates, Keith Bush Associates, Kershner, Madison Art Consulting, Mannington Commercial, Metalwërks, Milliken, Tarkett, Teknion, Tutor Perini, and Wolf Gordon (Washington Square sponsors).

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