Our Community Design Award recognizes excellence in design, collaboration, and community impact of the pro bono preliminary design services provided to nonprofits through the Collaborative's Design Grants program. It is presented at the AIA Philadelphia Design Awards each year. Dragon Green Park was selected from among 25 Design Grants completed by volunteers of the Collaborative in 2015.
Jeff Goldstein, principal of DIGSAU and a member of the Collaborative Board of Directors, presented the award at the AIA Philadelphia Design Awards on October 19th. Over the past decade, he explained, “The Collaborative has provided 33 design grants for the design of schoolyards or school-related open space. Among the collection of inspiring schoolyard projects, Dragon Green Park was a standout for its design excellence.The intimate collection of elements – play structures, multi-use surfaces, rain gardens – that have come to define this project type, have been reinterpreted in a engaging and identifiable way that works at the civic scale. Everyone was blown away by the design. This project also exemplifies a true partnership between community and school.”
"Everyone was blown away by the design. This project also exemplifies a true partnership between community and school.”
Goldstein added, “As many of you already know, the Collaborative offers design professionals the opportunity to provide pro bono preliminary design services to nonprofits throughout Greater Philadelphia. For many of these nonprofit organizations, this experience serves as an introduction to the services that we as designers provide. This experience empowers nonprofit organizations to identify ways to advance their mission, communicate their vision, and gain community and financial support. Our Design Grants focus on specific sites and nonprofits—but our impact goes much farther. We lay the groundwork for the kinds of buildings and civic spaces that bring vitality to neighborhoods and give people a strong sense of community.”
Since the Collaborative wrapped up Dragon Green Park, Southwark’s schoolyard has been chosen for implementation as part of Parks for People Philadelphia, a joint schoolyard greening initiative of The School District of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Water Department, and the Trust for Public Land. Danielle Denk of the Trust for Public Land notes, “The work by the Collaborative showcased a commitment to schoolyard greening and elevated the selection of Southwark School as one of our next sites.”
Southwark Elementary School was also selected as one of nine community schools. These schools will receive extra resources to serve as hubs for social, health, and other services in their neighborhoods. The school’s new community liaison, Beth Dougherty of East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association, was instrumental in the Collaborative’s design and community engagement process for Dragon Green Park.
Dragon Green Park was a finalist for the Collaborative's 2016 Community Design Award along with two other design grants: facade improvements for the North 54th Street Commercial Corridor for Wynnefield Overbrook Revitalization Corporation and a conceptual design for Gateways to the Lehigh Somerset Neighborhood for New Kensington CDC.