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Finalists for the Paul Sehnert Award for Community Design

One of these outstanding finalists – the results of design grants completed in 2018 – will receive the Paul Sehnert Award for Community Design at the AIA Design Awards on Thursday, December 5, 2019. The Collaborative has renamed its longstanding community design award to honor the late Paul Sehnert, an inspiring Collaborative board leader and an advocate for innovative urban design and development. 

Oxford Circle CCDA
Carnell Elementary School: Conceptual Design for Open Space Improvements

The Laura H. Carnell Elementary School in the Oxford Circle neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia serves over one thousand K-5 students as well as the diverse surrounding community. The Collaborative’s conceptual design outlined strategies to improve the school’s open spaces to support a new project-based learning model, increase recreational opportunities for students, address stormwater management, and celebrate the cultural diversity of a school community where 23 languages are spoken.

A rain garden, an accessible ramp, murals, and reconfigured basketball courts that also accommodate soccer and hockey games will foster pride and interaction among students and the community. In 2018, this project received a $250,000 Greenways Grant from Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

Design Team

  • Stantec Abbie Gall | Arjumand Anjum | Evan Wilbert | Kristin Shiffert | Nikki Mancuso |
    Stefan Lesiuk
  • DeBruynGroup Chris DeBruyn

Jefferson Health Design Lab, New Kensington CDC, and Impact Services
CoLab Philadelphia: Building Healthier Communities through Creative Placemaking

Philadelphia has the highest percentage of people experiencing poverty among the nation’s ten major cities, with life expectancy differing by as much as 20 years depending on where one lives. Jefferson Health Design Lab saw the opportunity to bring health beyond the walls of the hospital and into the most underserved communities through CoLab Philadelphia: an Airstream trailer remodeled as a mobile, flexible platform for creative placemaking that promotes health and wellness. CoLab Philadelphia was developed through a collaborative design process that engaged multiple partners, including community organizations and residents of the Kensington community.

In Summer 2018, using a rented trailer, different locations, programming, design elements, and layouts were tested in the Kensington community. Based on findings from the pilot, the design team developed plans for infrastructure modifications, interior fit-out, and branding for a 1964 Airstream trailer purchased by Jefferson. CoLab Philadelphia was put into action this summer and will be officially unveiled at DesignPhiladelphia.

Design Team

  • KieranTimberlake Abraham Drechsler | Amanda Baker | Aracely Coronado | Bailey Stultz | Billie Faircloth | Connor Cook | David Feaster | Emily Dodson | Georgeanna Foley | Jason Smith | Kit Elsworth | Rachel Stoudt | Saeran Vasanthakumar | Stephanie Carlisle 
  • Cohere Dylan Garner | Marissa Le | Meredith Simmons | Olivia Mulder | Randi Bellamy
  • Ballinger Bradford Crowley

Passyunk Square Civic Association
Electric Street: Conceptual Design for Transforming Alley to Artswalk

Percy Street is an “L”-shaped alleyway with the potential to link two famous Philly commercial corridors—the Italian Market and East Passyunk Avenue. In 2016, the alley became the colorful backdrop for Electric Street, an LED light mural. The Collaborative helped the community imagine the next steps and tie improvements to a broader community revitalization initiative. Our conceptual design activates the alley with distinctive paving, gateway murals, and downspout planters and makes the connecting streets more welcoming with bike lanes, green curb bump-outs, and lighting.

In 2019, Passyunk Square Civic Association received a grant to participate in the Philadelphia Foundation/Knight Foundation On the Table initiative. The community association has since hosted community programs including a spring clean-up and a series of street painting workdays to kickstart alley improvements.

Design Team
Anna Darling | Anna Grace FitzGerald | Anqi Zhang | Chris Landau | Daria Kieffer | David Armbruster | Kristen Loughry | Prince Langley | Shiyu Bei | Zhuangyuan Fan
International Consultants, Inc. Michael Funk
David Guinn



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