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HOK Futures Competition Offers Design Solutions for Refugee Crises

Philadelphia design students explored how architecture and interior design can provide sanctuary for immigrants arriving in their city.

HOK’s Philadelphia studio recently held the seventh edition of its HOK Futures Design Challenge. More than 70 teams from seven area universities participated in this year’s contest.

Students were asked to provide design concepts that welcome and support immigrants and refugees in Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood. The architecture competition included a residential component. The interiors competition asked participants to design a skills workshop for new arrivals to the U.S.

“We were blown away by all the hard work the students put into the competition,” said Julia Keohane, an interior designer in HOK’s Philadelphia office and a former HOK Futures winner. “Their ideas show how design can make cities everywhere more welcoming and responsive to the millions of people forced to flee their homes each year due to conflict, violence, famine and environmental disasters.”

Winners of the architecture program were:

First place: Taely Freeman and Regina Gonano of University of Pennsylvania
Second place: Jorge Couso and Clayton Monarch of University of Pennsylvania
Third place: Rachel Seto and Sharlene Yulita of University of Pennsylvania

Winners of the interiors program were:

First place: Kavita Patel and Raj Shah of Drexel University
Second place: Manvi Jain and Jeel Kathiriya of Drexel University
Third place: Celia Armstrong and Andrew Scheetz of Drexel University

First place winners earned $6,000 per team and a paid internship opportunity at HOK’s Philadelphia studio. Second and third place teams earned $4,000 and $2,000, respectively.


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Scroll through the Instagram post above to view the winners.

HOK Futures and its awards program would not be possible without support from the following sponsors: McGrory Glass, Shaw Contract, Teknion and Officeworks, Milliken, CFI Workspace, Synergi, Interface and Nora, McKeon, Intech, Bentley, Nolan Brands, DesignTex, CH Briggs, Mannington, Corporate Interiors, Madison Art, Tile Bar, Jopson Associates, OFS, Duet Design, Momentum, Kimball, Cofco, Facility and Design Resources, Illuminations Inc., Knoll Textiles, Mohawk Group, Patcraft, McKenna & Co., and Daltile.

Additional thanks to the jurors who volunteered their time and expertise. This year’s architecture jurors were John MacCallum (HOK), David Quadrini (Studio 6mm) Jamie Unkefer (DIGSAU) and Tya Winn (Community Design Collaborative). Interior design jurors included Kelly Beamon (Metropolis Magazine), Natalie Manrique (Morgan Stanley), Marilyn Simeone (Princeton University) and Jennifer Starbuck (Chubb).

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