The Community Design Collaborative has renamed its longstanding community design award to honor the late Paul Sehnert, former Director of Real Estate Development for the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Collaborative’s Board of Directors for nearly a decade. Sehnert passed away on May 19, 2019.
The Paul Sehnert Award for Community Design will continue Paul’s legacy by promoting the practice of social impact design within the architecture community. The annual award will celebrate one project completed through the Collaborative’s Design Grants Program for design excellence, professional development, and social impact. The first Paul Sehnert Award will be presented at the AIA Philadelphia Design Awards Gala on December 5, 2019.
The Community Design Collaborative provides pro bono preliminary design services to nonprofit organizations in greater Philadelphia, creates engaging volunteer opportunities for design professionals, and raises awareness about the importance of design in revitalizing communities.
“Paul was a fierce champion of the Collaborative, Philadelphia’s nonprofit community design center,” says Executive Director Beth Miller. “We valued his enthusiasm, positivity, and open embrace of many roles over the years. So much of our success is due to his thoughtful participation, leadership, and guidance.”
Paul served as Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Community Design Collaborative from 2011 to 2016. He lent his expertise to special design initiatives including Infill Philadelphia: Industrial Sites and Sacred Places/Civic Spaces. Always ready for fun, Paul also served as the emcee for the Collaborative’s annual Bowling Ball fundraiser.
“Paul advocated for innovative urban design and real estate development in Philadelphia, both through his work with the University of Pennsylvania and the Community Design Collaborative. We’re proud to remember Paul and his many contributions through this award,” says Richard Winston, current Co-Chair of the Community Design Collaborative.
We captured just a little Paul’s superb spirit in this 2016 profile, Wearing Two White Hats.