Architecture Students Win First Place and Finalist Awards in John Stewardson Competition

Dan Silberman’s design won first place in the John Stewardson Memorial Fellowship in Architecture competition.

Philadelphia University architecture student Dan Silberman won first place in the 113th John Stewardson Memorial Fellowship in Architecture competition. Fellow fifth-year architecture student Melanie Whedon was named a finalist in the statewide competition.

As the first-place winner, Silberman was awarded the John Stewardson Memorial Fellowship and a $10,000 scholarship to study architecture abroad.

“The Stewardson Scholarship Competition is the most prestigious student competition for students in the state of Pennsylvania,” said James Doerfler, director of PhilaU’s architecture program. “To be up against the best schools in the Commonwealth and capture two out of four places is an outstanding achievement for our students.”

This year’s participants were challenged to come up with a compelling vision for a street in Philadelphia’s Francisville neighborhood that would include residential, commercial and arts facilities and that would foster a strong sense of local community. Projects were to include both new construction and renovation projects with a special focus on street-level commercial developments. Once the design brief was issued, participants had 10 days to complete their projects.

Silberman’s winning design, “Canvas,” features a storefront with a modular façade panel system built to display artwork, films or community news, a shared plaza and garage, as well as upper residences.

Silberman said his design was intended to create a stronger sense of identity for the Francisville neighborhood. “I feel grateful that others appreciate the project,” he said. “The quick deadline made for a really good challenge. It was really tough, but a good learning experience.”

Whedon said she is “honored that the judges were compelled by my design and work enough to name me a finalist.”  Her project, “Francisville Arts District_Infilled,” included an outdoor piazza and a streetscape lined with trees, shops and apartments to enhance the neighborhood’s identity.

The three-member jury that evaluated the submissions praised Silberman’s “superb graphic presentation” and the way he chose “to blur the dichotomy” between existing facades and new construction. “What was old and what is new are ambiguous … and very provocatively layered,” the jury said in its written comments, adding that Silberman’s design suggests “a diverse and vibrant lifestyle that would come to occupy the site.”

Doerfler said the jury was impressed with Silberman’s big idea and the playfulness of his project.

“The moveable facades created a fantastic urban environment that invigorated the Francisville site,” Doerfler said. “Dan is one of our most thoughtful students. He is extremely capable and an excellent designer.”

This is the third consecutive year PhilaU architecture students have won awards in the annual Stewardson competition, which is open to graduating students and alumni from Pennsylvania’s accredited college architecture programs.

Students and alumni from Pennsylvania State University, Drexel University, Temple University and Carnegie Mellon University also participated in the competition.

PhilaU architecture students also took top honors in another prestigious competition last fall when a student team earned first place in the national 2012-13 ACSA Steel Design Student Competition for their Building to Bridge entry “Stream_Line.”  To read more, click here.

Fifth-year architecture student Melanie Whedon was named a finalist in the statewide competition.


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