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A Look at the Philadelphia-Area Winners of HOK’s 2020 Futures Design Challenge

Winners of the fourth-annual HOK Futures Design Challenge were honored at a Feb. 18 awards ceremony in the firm’s Philadelphia office.

HOK’s competition challenged Philadelphia-area architecture and interior design students to engage in the future of East Market Street and pushed them to develop creative solutions for revitalizing the historic urban corridor. The site runs a full city block between 8th and 9th Streets in a location ripe for redevelopment.

Architecture students were asked to propose a development along Market Street with multifamily housing, commercial, community and retail space. Interiors students were challenged to design a community-centered wellness hub that included aspects of commercial, hospitality and healthcare programming totaling 21,000 square feet.

The Futures Design Challenge included teams from seven Philadelphia-area universities: Drexel University, Harcum University, Moore College of Art & Design, Penn State University, Jefferson University, Temple University and University of Pennsylvania.

At a Feb. 18 awards ceremony in HOK’s Philadelphia studio, jurors handed out cash prizes to winners in both architecture and interior design categories.

Architecture Finalists

  • First Place: “Market Framework” by Ksenia Kudinova and Chris Hytha from Drexel University
  • Second Place: “Thoroughfare Towers” by Eric Anderson and Megan York from University of Pennsylvania
  • Third Place: “800 Market Street – A New Common Asset” by Matthew Alan Kohman and Paul Germaine McCoy from University of Pennsylvania

Interior Design Finalists

  • First Place: “Ananda” by Ashley Grega and Talla Yahya from Drexel University (above rendering)
  • Second Place: “Float and Transform Wellness Center” by Fatima Al-Mokhaizeem and Tasneem Samarkandy from Drexel University
  • Third Place: “Elevated” by Jhanvi Jagani and Tiffany England from Drexel University

Drexel University undergraduate students Chris Hytha and Ksenia Kudinova (above) created the winning architecture entry “Market Framework.” Their first-place award included a $6,000 cash prize and the opportunity to participate in a paid internship in HOK’s Philadelphia office.

Jurors praised Kudinova and Hytha’s design (above) for its “forward thinking design that challenged us to consider the future of Philadelphia development. Most wonderfully, it encouraged active participation of our city with a sense of individual ownership.”


Also hailing from Drexel University,  undergraduate students Ashley Grega and Talla Yahya (above) submitted the winning interior design entry, “Ananda.” Jurors commended the design’s “excellent presentation, fabulous use of materiality and well-considered gallery space that capitalized on architecture.” Grega and Yahya also won a $6,000 cash prize and an opportunity for a future internship at HOK’s Philadelphia studio.

Jurors for the architecture competition included Brian Murray, principal and founder of Shift Capital; Alex Smith, city planner and urban designer for the City of Philadelphia; and James Templeton, director of architectural services at Temple University. Jules Dingle, principal and founding partner of Digsau, also participated, though abstained from judging.

The jury for the interior design competition included Lila Allen, managing editor at Metropolis magazine; Jhane Barnes, industry leading textile designer; Mark Strauss, strategic advisor at IWBI/WELL; and Richard Mark, owner and design principal of Richard Mark Design.

“HOK Futures is such a rewarding competition to judge. Working with a very tight turnaround on top of schoolwork and other commitments, participants pull off visually impressive, well-considered projects and articulate, clear visions for their proposals,” said juror Lila Allen. “It’s obvious that this won’t be the last time these young designers have work to share with a design editor!”

The Futures Design Challenge is made possible by the generous support of its sponsors, including McGrory Glass as the Event Partner, Knoll/CFI, Nora Flooring, Milliken, Mohawk Group, Atlas, Clemens Construction, Bentley Mills, Momentum Textiles, McIlvaine Contract, Keith Bush Associates, Duet Partnership, Haworth, S&S Resources, Diener Brick, Metalwerks, Fessenden Hall, Corporate Interiors, Steelcase, Diversified Lighting, Spectrum, Advanced Office Environments, Teknion, OfficeWorks, Arch Resources, Bobrick, Acrovyn, Jopson Associates and Construction, OFS, DesignTex, Mats Inc, CHBriggs, Interface, and INTECH Construction.

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