Their objective was to tame the chaotic, five-point intersection and transit hub at Frankford Avenue and Arrott Street and give it a stronger sense of place. Multiple efforts were already underway to improve this key crossroads when we began the project in 2015. Lighting, public art, a pop-up park, and wayfinding projects were in the works. The Collaborative brought together a volunteer team with diverse talents to work with Frankford CDC, SEPTA, and several City of Philadelphia departments including Commerce, Streets, and Water Departments to align individual projects and present the big picture.
The volunteer team analyzed the problematic intersection: What areas are under the El or open to the sky? How do cars and pedestrians actually circulate? How might the intersection be reconfigured to rein in traffic and pedestrians? They incorporated their findings, the city’s plans, and feedback from the community into a conceptual design that includes a festival street, reconfigured plazas, colorful crosswalks, sidewalk bump outs, and even a trash abatement strategy.
Rebecca Johnson, Executive Director of AIA Philadelphia, presented the award to Kimberly Washington and Ileana Garcia of Frankford CDC and the Collaborative volunteer team—Richard Carroll of JKR Partners LLC, Brad Springer of the McDonald Building Company LLC, Robin Miller of the Miller Design Group, Sofia Lundeholm, Carrie Sauer, Betsy Way, and Michael Williams — at the AIA Philadelphia Design Awards Gala on October 18th.
The three finalists for the award were selected by the Collaborative’s Design Services Committee based on excellence in design, collaboration, and community impact. The finalists were then reviewed by a jury comprised of members of AIA Chicago in a review organized by AIA Philadelphia. The jury was asked to choose the winning project that best demonstrated the principles of good design, has the most potential to serve as a community design model, and exhibits the strongest feasibility for implementation.