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AIA Pennsylvania announces best in architecture for 2023

November 23, 2023
Pictured from left to right: 2500 League Island Boulevard by SITIO architecture and urbanism, Fahy Commons by Re:Vision Architecture, Light Path Residence by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Singer Hall at Swarthmore College by Ballinger, The Clay Studio by DIGSAU.

Architectural Excellence Design and COTE Awards recognize the best architecture by Pennsylvania firms

HARRISBURG – November 28, 2023

AIA Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Chapter of The American Institute of Architects, is proud to announce the 2023 Architectural Excellence Design and COTE (Committee on the Environment) Awards, first revealed on November 16, with the premiere of the annual Architectural Excellence Awards broadcast and five accompanying viewing parties hosted across the state. The broadcast premiere showcased honorees in five programs, including the Design AwardsCommittee on the Environment (COTE) AwardsSpecial AwardsStudent Awards, and EPiC Firm Recognition.

Annually, the Design and COTE Awards programs showcase the range and caliber of Pennsylvania’s architects’ work. “I am continuously inspired by the work of our members – works of architecture that foster opportunity, connection, and well-being in our communities, institutions, businesses, and families,” said AIA Pennsylvania Executive Director Stephen Swarney.

Architectural Excellence Design Awards

The Architectural Excellence Design Awards celebrate the exemplary design achievements of members and the impact of architecture. Design awards jury chair Sebastian Schmaling, AIA, LEED AP, Founding Partner of Johnsen Schmaling Architects, shared criteria for recognition spanned, “…interesting, original solutions to a given set of challenges or constraints – buildings that offer new impulses in our profession’s ongoing quest for programmatic innovation, environmental sustainability, and yes, beauty, regardless of budget and scale.” Allen Washatko, AIA, Co-Founder of The Kubala Washatko Architects, Inc (TKWA), and Mo Zell, ACSA, AIA, Interim Dean at UW-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning and Principal, bauenstudio, rounded out the panel of Milwaukee-based jurors. 

From 110 eligible submissions, the jurors whittled their review to 39 finalists and selected 18 projects by 13 Pennsylvania firms to receive a 2023 Design Award. The panel’s top selections, the Silver Medal recipients, are:

2500 League Island Boulevard by SITIO architecture and urbanism, based in Philadelphia
2500 League Island Boulevard, designed as a state-of-the-art production building, is centrally located in the heart of the Philadelphia Navy Yard and provides a highly flexible work and production environment to cater to the expanding technology and cell therapy industry.

Light Path Residence by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, based in Wilkes-Barre
Light Path Residence, built on 19th-century farmland in Northeastern Pennsylvania, is a “second act” family residence designed for aging in place, addressing mental and physical health, mobility and accessibility, flexibility, and more. 

*Singer Hall at Swarthmore College by Ballinger, based in Philadelphia
Singer Hall at Swarthmore College incorporates unique building and landscape sustainability strategies to create an interdisciplinary home for three of the College’s departments, fostering greater collaboration for study, teaching, and research.

The Clay Studio by DIGSAU, based in Philadelphia
The Clay Studio is the new home of the non-profit institution’s ceramics gallery space, demonstration studio, retail shop, classrooms/studios, and more, designed to serve its South Kensington community with expanded public programming.

The remaining 14 projects honored with Design Awards at the Honor Award and Merit Award levels of commendation are:



Architectural Excellence COTE Awards

The Architectural Excellence COTE Awards, presented by the AIA Pennsylvania Committee on the Environment, celebrate the highest standards of design excellence incorporating community connection, equity, economic value, resilience, and stewardship of the natural environment.

Six projects by five firms are the recipients of the 2023 COTE Awards, recognizing achievements in the AIA Framework for Design Excellence measures indicating how buildings perform for the health and wellness of the occupants, communities, and the environments they serve. Jurors Kimberly Reddin, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP of Flad Architects, Dan Kalkman, AIA, WELL AP, LFA of HGA, and Emily Neal, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP ID+C of Quorum Architects, convened to review the 31 eligible projects submitted to the program. 

One project stood out among the honorees to take the program’s top honor, the COTE Award of Excellence, for its dedication to the principle of design for integration: 

Fahy Commons by Re:Vision Architecture, based in Philadelphia
Fahy Commons at Muhlenberg College in Allentown is the world’s first Living Building Challenge Core-Ready project and is on track to receive Passive House Certification. Beyond its sustainability certifications, Fahy Commons actively engages its community and has become a model for future campus buildings.

The remaining five projects honored with COTE Awards at the Award and Citation levels of commendation are:



*Indicates project honored with both a Design and COTE Award.

About AIA Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), AIA Pennsylvania, represents nearly 3,000 members across the Commonwealth working at the forefront of a nearly $17 billion construction industry. AIA Pennsylvania advocates for the value of architecture and policies that promote economic prosperity and the health, safety, and welfare of the public. As a membership organization, the chapter provides architecture professionals with the statewide community, advocacy, and knowledge to affect positive outcomes through the power of design.