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Why DesignPhiladelphia Needs YOU!

Watch this video and see why DesignPhiladelphia needs YOU!

It’s been an amazing year for design!

This year, we have educated thousands of people about the role that design plays in our everyday lives through educational programming like Creating with Constraints – our spring lecture series – and Experience Design! – our annual citywide festival.

2014 marks DesignPhiladelphia’s 10th anniversary. As we approach the holiday season and near the end of 2013, please consider making a tax-deductible gift to support DesignPhiladelphia’s future endeavors. Your donation will allow us to develop meaningful programs that inspire all ages, design professionals and aficionados alike. Help us fulfill our vision to brand Philadelphia as a 21st-century city shaped by design, technology, and business.


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Eric Corey Freed to speak on Biomimicry





ArtsTech Philly and YAF Present Architect Eric Cory Freed: Attack of the Dodo Sapiens

ArtsTech Philly, in collaboration with Young Architects Forum, presents “Attack of the Dodo Sapiens: Innovative New Models for Sustainable Development”, a talk by Eric Cory Freed about biomimicry and its applications to sustainable architecture.

“Our way of life is killing us. Our cities, buildings and surroundings have been designed around abundant and cheap oil, but now we have painted ourselves into a corner and are stuck there. The next generation of buildings will have to do better than just energy efficiency and recycled materials. Our lack of foresight has made our building toxic, wasteful and unaffordable. In order to undo the damage of the past, we need innovative, new models for how to build deep green, bio-based buildings. By examining the emotional, psychological and financial reasons why we build we find new and better arguments for greening buildings. With this talk we will learn how to use biomimicry and organic principles as a guide, teaching us how to transform our built environments through bio inspired design and design solutions modeled on designs found in nature.” – excerpt from Freed.

Tuesday, April 23rd

6:30 – 9:30pm

Corzo Center for the Creative Economy at the University of the Arts

211 S. Broad Street, Room 513, Philadelphia PA 19102



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Drink Buttermilk and Live Forever by Virginia Gehshan. What design elements make Philadelphia unique?

For the DesignPhiladelphia Festival guidebook this year, we asked four members of the design community to reflect on iconic design in the city – from places to objects. Virginia Gehshan, Principal at Cloud Gehshan Associates, writes about a memorable sign at Reading Terminal Market.

Drink Buttermilk and Live Forever

By Virginia Gehshan

You’ve probably passed it many times and not noticed it, sandwiched as it is between fruit and fish stands. It’s the “Drink Buttermilk and Live Forever” sign in the southeast quadrant of the Reading Terminal Market (12th and Arch Streets). Another colorful fragment in an amazing place that is full of them, this sign reminds us of a simpler time when shopkeepers wrote their own taglines, designed their own signs and, quite possibly, hand cut the letters in their basements. Few modern retail signs can beat it for heart-on-the-sleeve enthusiasm and sheer charm.

Buttermilk, then.

Spataro’s Buttermilk was started in 1947. There were at least three buttermilk stands at the time as the beverage was riding a wave of popularity as a health drink. Domenic Spataro, Market patriarch, didn’t live forever, but he did live to the ripe old age of 94.

Thanks are due to Reading Terminal Market managers for preserving this quaint piece of history even as the stall occupants change. If you are looking for the sign note that it’s in the stall occupied by soap store, Terralyn.

Virginia Gehshan, Principal at Cloud Gehshan Associates. Branding, Wayfinding, Storytelling.

icon-VG-buttermilk side now-photo by Virginia Gehshan

In 2012, at Reading Terminal Market.


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Inside Corner by Michael McGettigan. What design elements make Philadelphia unique?

Washington Square

Washington Square

For the DesignPhiladelphia Festival guidebook this year, we asked four members of the design community to reflect on iconic design in the city – from places to objects. Michael McGettigan of Trophy Bikes writes about Washington Square.

Inside Corner

By Michael McGettigan

Philadelphia’s grid plan makes for lots of corners; it’s always a pleasure wondering what’s around that 90-degree bend. But sometimes you want a little something different. And in the heart of Philadelphia, you can find that urban rarity—the inside corner.

Namely, where West Washington Square and South Washington Square meet. Usually you turn a corner—here, the corner turns around you.

photo courtesy of Michael McGettigan

photo courtesy of Michael McGettigan

The Farm Journal Building anchors a graceful curve and some plantings camouflage the place where the two walls meet. Pivot to feel the masonry rising up behind you—just high enough!, and calmly take in one of the great “rooms” of the world—Washington Square.

The odd coziness makes Washington the most humane of Penn’s original squares, at least from this vantage point. Rittenhouse is defined by the towers around it; Logan by its vista down the Parkway; Franklin Square will always feel like a gateway, with the mighty Ben Franklin Bridge dominating its eastern border. Only Washington Square has your back — more like the squares embedded in older sections of London, Barcelona or other ancient towns. Edge in, close to where the walls connect and be simultaneously enclosed and free — gaze clear across to the Curtis Building and Walnut Street’s bustle. You can feel the city’s embrace.

Michael McGettigan is the proprietor of Trophy Bikes University City and Trophy Bikes Northern Liberties/Philadelphia specialists in urban, commuting and touring cycles.

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PSFS Spells Home by Elise Vider. What design elements make Philadelphia unique?

For the DesignPhiladelphia Festival guidebook this year, we asked four members of the design community to reflect on iconic design in the city – from places to objects. First up, Elise Vider writes about the PSFS sign. Timely, as the PSFS building is back in conversation.

As you’re walking the city, consider -

What design elements make Philadelphia unique to you?
Think about the spaces and places that make you linger.

PSFS Spells Home

By Elise Vider

The PSFS sign atop Loews Hotel Philadelphia (1200 Market Street) is a four-letter primer on 20th century design, a quickie lesson in architecture, typography, historic preservation, urbanism and corporate identity.

When I moved to Philly in 1984, the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society was still around, but the sign was already an iconic element on the city’s skyline. (With the battle raging over tall buildings, the sign pretty much was the skyline.)

In 1929, when Howe and Lescaze designed the first International Style skyscraper in the U.S., the 27-foot-tall sign was a radical element, widely considered the first incorporation of advertising into architecture (maybe not a great idea in retrospect) and the first use of acronym-as-logo. Its form is Futura Light, then a brand-new typeface that perfectly echoes the design; its function is to hide mechanical equipment.

The sign quickly engaged the public as great design can. Visible for 20 miles, it stayed lit during the Depression to telegraph PSFS’s stability. In 1990, a new bank owner briefly extinguished it – to public outrage. In 2000, during the hotel conversion, a short-lived preservation skirmish arose over altering the sign to read “Loews.”

Today, “PSFS” is dwarfed by the city’s skyline. But to me it symbolizes another four-letter word: “home.”

Elise Vider is a writer/editor/project manager for print and electronic publications, with a specialty in design and economic development.

Photo by Jackie Starker. She toured the rooftop while a student at UArts. Favorite memory, getting inside the S.

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Festival Events Explore The Philadelphia and Reading Railroad: SURFACE, Oct. 11-14 and Design VIADUCTgreene / DesignPhiladelphia, Oct. 13

Julia Blaukopf

There are not one but three DesignPhiladelphia Festival events exploring the viaduct!

SURFACE is an exhibition by Julia Blaukopf of wallpaper and tile imprinted with photographic images of the historic Philadelphia and Reading Railroad just north of Center City. The images were taken upon the viaduct and from within the submerged sections. The exhibition is designed to draw attention to VIADUCTgreene‘s vision for a 3-mile linear park through the heart of Philadelphia.

SURFACE will open with a reception on Thursday, October 11 from 5-9pm, and will be on view at CITYSPACE (2200 Walnut Street) from October 12-14Event Details >> Listing on DP Festival Calendar


If you’re interested in learning more about the viaduct’s future, be sure to also check out Design VIADUCTgreene/DesignPhiladelphia on Saturday, October 13 from 3-5pm at Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill Street). Through the Community Design Collaborative, VIADUCTgreene has teamed up with OLIN, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, CVM, and VJ Associates to develop conceptual designs for a 3-block stretch of what could become a 3-mile linear park connecting many neighborhoods to Fairmount Park. As part of the Festival, VIADUCTgreene wants your input on envisioning the great potential of this soaring and submersive civic space. Bring your ideas and be prepared to let your imaginations run wild. Snacks and bar, too!
Event Details >> Listing on DP Festival Calendar 

above | below | beyond charts the work of Penn and Temple design studios from spring 2012, exploring possible design interventions for abandoned rail lines in Philadelphia. This ongoing exhibition at Next American City’s Storefront for Urban Innovation (2816 West Girard Avenue) is meant to be a springboard and catalyst for further conversation about redevelopment of the Reading Railroad as a public, regenerative space. Inspired by the space’s unique structure, pervasive wild vegetation, the railroad’s dramatic elevation changes, and its location in many Philadelphia neighborhoods, students took on creative inventions to incorporate this historic relic into a diverse and engaging civil experience. Co-Organizers Diana Fernandez, Susan Kolber, Amy Syverson came together wanting to share the process behind their classmates’ work and engage Philadelphian’s to get involved in imagining the railroad’s future. above | below | beyond will be on display through December 5, 2012 at Next American City’s HQ, Monday-Friday 11am – 6pm. Celebrate at the exhibition opening during DesignPhiladelphia on Friday, October 12 from 6 to 10pm.
Event Details >> Listing on DP Festival Calendar >> Story on Next American City >>

Check out the above | below | beyond Kickstarter video for insight into the student project!

Sponsored by Michael GardenOcto Design GroupBrands ImagingCallahan Ward Companies.

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Will Philadelphia’s mega-museums snatch visitors from the city’s smaller cultural institutions? Panel: Thursday, Oct. 11

Will Philadelphia’s mega-museums snatch visitors from the city’s smaller cultural institutions? Or will these legacy projects collapse under the weight of their own outsized ambitions? Or, will all boats be lifted?

Join in the conversation at Philadelphia’s Mega-Museums: Iconic Forms Over Function? - a panel discussion presented by The Architect’s Newspaper as part of the DesignPhiladelphia Festival on Thursday, October 11 at 5:30pm, fittingly at the Rosenbach Museum & Library, a museum housed in two historic townhouses on a residential block in the city’s Rittenhouse Square neighborhood..

Located on Philadelphia’s culture-packed Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Barnes Foundation houses Dr. Albert Barnes’ renowned art collection. Credit: Photo by B. Krist for GPTMC

With the dust settling on Barnes hullabaloo, several new projects are already underway, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s expansion by Frank Gehry and a proposed Museum of the American Revolution by A.M. Stern. A recent study from University of Chicago cast a leery eye on cultural buildings that are more “signature pieces for leading architects” rather than what the institution needs and the public wants.

As Philly rides this next museum wave, the panel from the worlds of architecture, public policy, media, and cultural institutions will weigh in on the trend.

The program will feature Rosenbach Museum and Library Director Derick Dreher, Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron, Slought Foundation Executive Director Aaron Levy, and Peter Frumkin, PhD, Faculty Director of the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania. Tom Stoelker, associate editor at The Architect’s Newspaper, will moderate.

The event is free and open to the public. The Rosenbach Museum & Library  is located at 2008-2010 Delancey Place. >> Listing on DP Festival Calendar

Rosenbach Museum & Library on Delancey Place. Credit: M. Edlow for GPTMC

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Pay attention! The Organizer’s of Fast Forward >> Philly Talk Shop

On Wednesday, October 10, a diverse lineup of speakers will take the spotlight at the Center for Architecture (1218 Arch Street) and give their take on What’s Next for Philly using 20 slides at 20 seconds a piece Pecha Kucha-style. Fast Forward >> Philly, which will take place on the first day of the 8th annual DesignPhiladelphia Festival, was organized by designers Erike De Veyra and Kathy Lent. We checked in with Erike and Kathy to talk about the future of Philadelphia’s design community and learn more about their Festival event.

Event Details >> Listing on DP Festival Calendar | @FastForwardPHL

Q&A with Erike de Veyra + Kathy Lent

DesignPhiladelphia: Why create Fast Forward >> Philly?
Erike + Kathy:
“We were looking to create a new event for the AIA (American Institute of Architects) Associates & Young Architects Forum to raise our profile as an organization. We’d attended and enjoyed Pecha Kucha, Talk 20 and Ignite Philly events with similar formats (wide-ranging presentations consisting of 20 slides at 20 seconds each), but wanted to add our own spin as designers and passionate Philadelphia residents. After some brainstorming and the support of Jeff Pastva, our YAF colleague and founder of the Designated Sketcher, Fast Forward >> Philly was born, retaining the format, but adding a theme: ‘What’s Next for Philly?’”

What’s the best advice you’ve received about creativity? Share the love. “Creativity comes from unexpected places; pay attention, you never know who or what might inspire you. Your ideas are yours to express in any way you choose, but remember to take a step back and share with others: it’s more fun!”

Find out “What’s Next for Philly” on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at The Center for Architecture.

The DesignPhiladelphia Festival is all about championing innovation happening here in Philadelphia. What is one idea that you’re working to communicate through Fast Forward >> Philly? Erike + Kathy: “We are hoping to create a forum for a variety of opinions, especially from up-and-comers, that explore the event theme and inspire us all to think beyond our individual fields and go out and do things!”

Hopes for the Philadelphia design scene in five years? “We hope Philadelphia continues to support its local talent pool and recognizes the positive impact design can have. In five years, we hope that today’s big ideas have become reality, and that there will be greater opportunities for Philly designers to compete for the high-profile commissions that today seem to shortlist ‘famous’ names from outside the city. Events like DesignPhiladelphia are so important in building awareness of the design community that makes this city an even greater place to live and work every day.

As for Fast Forward >> Philly, we hope it continues annually as a venue to connect and share what’s next for Philadelphia!”

What will audiences take away from Fast Forward >> Philly? “The most important idea we’d like attendees to take away is that Philadelphia is a vibrant and creative place, and the more we can support each other, the brighter our city’s future will be.

Tips for potential audience members: get excited, and please arrive on time! The Center for Architecture has generously donated the use of their facility, but we must keep to a very strict timetable for the event, and space is limited.”

About Erike + Kathy

Erike De Veyra is a designer at Zimmerman Studio, an AIA Associates Committee member, founder of patrike design workshop, Park(ing) Day Philadelphia Assistant Organizer, and a Philadelphia University grad.

Kathy Lent is a designer at BWA Architecture + Planning, Associate AIA, and graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

About the Presenters

  • Amanda Beebe, Senior Sales Manager at Lutron Electronics >> “Manufacture Locally, Compete Globally”
  • Halee Bouchehrain, founder and principal of Phenomenarch >> “B.Y.O.B. Build Your Own Building”
  • Michael Burlando of MGA Partners ArchitectsAlex Feldman of U3 Ventures Developers >> “Why Can’t Us?: Philadelphia Summer Games 2024″
  • Ryan Draving, founder of CompeteLeap >> “Silicon Philly”
  • Darla Jackson, owner of Philadelphia Sculpture Gym >>”Building the Creative Economy”
  • Simon Kim, principal at IK Studio >> “Are You Ready for the Future? Design and Robotics”
  • Kara Lindstrom, operations coordinator at ExCITe, Drexel University >> “Research, education, civic engagement, and entrepreneurship for transformative regional development”
  • Joe McNulty, contributing reporter at the blog Curbed Philadelphia >> “Balancing top-down & bottom-up approaches to planning and design”
  • Jason Goodman, co-founder and executive director of 3rd Ward >> “Promoting a Maker Economy”
  • Sarah Thorp, planner for the Philadelphia Water Department, member of the Design Advocacy Group, and former Navy pilot >> “Flying and Architecture”
  • Paul van Meter, co-founder of VIADUCTgreene >> “Making a Gardenpark in the City”
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A look at Open Air with PennDesign, Richard Sommer & Rafael Lozano-Hemmer in conversation, Wednesday, Oct. 3

As a preview to the DesignPhiladelphia Festival, join us for an inside look at the architectural influences of the interactive public art project Open Air, Wednesday, October 3 from 6 – 8 PM at The University of Pennsylvania. PennDesign welcomes Richard Sommer, Dean of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto, in conversation with Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, creator of Open Air.

Open Air, commissioned by the Association for Public Art, combines public art with mobile technology to create a spectacular participatory experience that illuminates the night sky over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, between 21st and 24th Streets. The project is now on view during the hours of 8pm – 11pm nightly from September 20 – October 14, 2012.

Ken Lum, Professor and Director of the Undergraduate Fine Arts Program and noted public artist himself, will introduce the PennDesign discussion, and Penny Balkin Bach, Artistic and Executive Director of the Association for Public Art, will moderate.

The lecture is free and open to the public and will take place at  UPENN’s Meyerson Hall – B1, 210 South 34th Street.

Register online and view additional program details here >>

Activate Open Air with DesignPhiladelphia
Sunday, October 14

The DesignPhiladelphia Festival and Open Air  will both close on October 14. Join us on the Parkway for a very special send-off! As a featured group for the evening, DP fans and supporters will bypass the system queue and open the night with the first 10 messages of the evening – up to 30 seconds each. Meet at the Open Air Project Information Center (Eakins Oval, 24th Street and the Parkway) at 7:45pm on Sunday, October 14. Details here >>

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PopUp Place: The DesignPhiladelphia Festival Kick-off. Two Celebrations. Same Location. Benefit + Free Street Party, Wednesday, Oct. 10

Join DesignPhiladelphia for an evening of design exhibitions, fashion showcases, and outdoor revelry, set on the fringe of Northern Liberties at Provenance Architecturals, a 10,000 square-foot salvage warehouse. We’re kicking the festival off on Wednesday, October 10 with two back-to-back programs – a Cocktail Party + Benefit celebration (ticketed) that will roll into the free PopUp Place Street Party, igniting the 900 block of cobblestone Canal Street, at the doors of Provenance.

Inside Provenance Architecturals

COCKTAIL PARTY + BENEFIT >> 5:30 – 7:30pm

Come early and support DesignPhiladelphia. 

Explore Provenance Architecturals. Celebrate with the 2012 Design Champion Award winner – Dr. Amy Gutmann, President of the University of Pennsylvania. Indulge in fabulous fare from 12th Street Catering. Sip signature cocktails by Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Event proceeds support the Festival and DesignPhiladelphia’s year-round programming.


Free and open to the public. 

Build an interactive architectural structure with Public Workshop. Hangout in the pallet lounge by Bonzai Homes. Catch the So Re Fa fashion show produced by Arcadia Boutique. Experience /adaptations/- an exhibition on sustainable design. View outdoor projections by Matt Suib and Nadia Hironaka. Enjoy live music by Dani Mari and Reverend TJ McGlinchey.

Pitruco Pizza
Little Baby’s Ice Cream
Yards Brewery
With giveaways from Vitamin Water!



Get there.

Provenance Architecturals
912 Canal Street | Cross Street: Poplar
Free parking available | enter via Delaware Avenue
SEPTA >> Market Frankford Line >> Spring Garden Street Station
Buses 29, 43, 57
View in Google Maps >>

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