Arts, Culture, and Humanities

Center for Architecture

  • Philadelphia, PA
  • www.philadelphiacfa.org

Mission Statement

Founded in 2002 by the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Philadelphia), the Center provides the public with a place to explore architecture, urban planning, and design, allowing them to understand how these creative professions affect us all in our daily lives. Using Philadelphia's distinctive breadth of architecture, pioneering urban design, and diverse manufacturing heritage as the foundation for discussion, we educate the public through walking tours, exhibitions, guest speakers, hands-on workshops, design competitions, city-wide festivals, and children's programming.

The Center's signature annual festival, DesignPhiladelphia, is the oldest and largest of its kind in the country. Each October, DesignPhiladelphia highlights the work of thousands of local designers, architects, and creative professionals with over 100 events citywide including panel discussions, fashion shows, participatory workshops, studio tours, book signings, professional development classes, design exhibitions, and imaginative celebrations.

The Center brings together architects, designers, developers, thought leaders, and the public under one roof and also serves as the physical home for AIA Philadelphia, the Community Design Collaborative, and the AIA Bookstore. The Center is open to the public seven days a week.

In 2008, the Center moved into the ground floor of the historic Young Smyth Field building at 1218 Arch Street, across from the Pennsylvania Convention Center. This contemporary industrial loft space includes a public forum, meeting rooms, offices, a design gift shop, and a gallery with rotating exhibitions relevant to design professionals but accessible to the public. This unique facility is available to rent for private meetings and public celebrations alike.

Our Vision
The Center for Architecture supports, promotes, and demonstrates the ability that design has to solve problems, enhance daily life, generate innovation, and influence both the perceptions and economics of the greater Philadelphia region. Through public engagement, education, and professional/public/private collaboration, the Center unifies the city's design culture bringing together architects, creative entrepreneurs, manufacturers, educators, civic leaders, retailers, and the public to build a 21st century city shaped by thoughtful design, collaborative business practices, and community engagement.

Main Programs

  1. DesignPhiladelphia
  2. Louis I. Kahn Memorial Award + Talk
  3. Edmund N. Bacon Award + Talk
  4. Constructing Play: Classic Building Toys
Service Areas

Self-reported

Pennsylvania

Greater Philadelphia region

ruling year

2003

Executive Director since 2014

Self-reported

Ms. Rebecca JOHNSON

Keywords

Self-reported

Architecture, Urban Planning, Design, Philadelphia

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Also Known As

Philadelphia Center for Architecture + Design

EIN

76-0725828

 Number

0824054116

Physical Address

1218 Arch St

Philadelphia, PA 19107

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

DesignPhiladelphia

As the oldest and largest design festival of its kind in the country, DesignPhiladelphia highlights the work of thousands of local designers, architects, and creative professionals to demonstrate Philadelphia’s reemergence as a 21st century city shaped by thoughtful design, collaborative business practices, and community engagement. Over the course of nine days each October, places such as universities, cultural institutions, civic associations, city agencies, retailers, manufacturers, and startups across the city participate in over 100 engaging events including panel discussions, fashion shows, participatory workshops, studio tours, book signings, professional development classes, design exhibitions, and imaginative celebrations.

Philadelphia is a unique environment with a strong history and tradition of design, manufacturing, and architecture. The days of being called "the workshop of the world" are in the past, but Philadelphia's identity as a hub for creative activity never vanished - instead it was transformed. The opportunities for design exploration and innovation through the wealth of cultural institutions, universities, and an expanding entrepreneurial base are endless. In this setting, the DesignPhiladelphia Festival emerged in 2005 to identify, celebrate, and raise the profile of this city's creative economy, all 50,000+ of them.

Our Mission
DesignPhiladelphia's goal is to support, demonstrate, and promote the ability that design has to generate innovation, solve problems, enhance daily life, and influence both the perception and economics of the region.

Our Goals
- Connect design, designers, and design methodologies to promote Philadelphia as a center for creative excellence, engagement, and innovations.
- Grow the economic opportunity for trade and investment in Philadelphia's creative sector.
- Enhance Philadelphia's reputation and promote its cultural, historic, and contemporary design assets.
- Retain future generations by providing opportunities for young people, students, and graduates to explore creative careers and interact with the local design community.
- Educate the public on the role that design plays, and can play, both in the vibrancy of our communities and the quality of our everyday lives.
- Promote design as an integral part of socially and environmentally sustainable communities by creating a space for public dialogue and experimentation.

Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities

Population(s) Served

General Public/Unspecified

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

None

Budget

$350,000

Program 2

Louis I. Kahn Memorial Award + Talk

Presented Annually In Spring

Since 1983, the annual Louis I. Kahn Memorial Award + Talk has been Philadelphia's signature event honoring an individual who has made significant contributions to the field of architecture. The event celebrates these achievements against the backdrop of the storied career of Philadelphia architect, Louis Kahn [1901-1974], architect of such famous structures as the Salk Institute in La Jolla California; the National Assembly Building in Dhaka, Bangladesh; and the Richards Medical Research Laboratories at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He was also a renowned teacher at Yale, University of Pennsylvania, MIT, and Princeton.

This annual event raises funds to help support the Charter High School for Architecture + Design, a legacy project of the Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects founded in 1999.

This program is organized by the Louis Kahn Memorial Committee.

Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities

Population(s) Served

Adults

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Budget

$40,000

Program 3

Edmund N. Bacon Award + Talk

Presented Annually In February

Founded in 2006, the annual Edmund N. Bacon Memorial Award + Talk honors one outstanding national or international figure who, like Bacon, has advocated for excellence in urban development, planning, thought, and design through conviction of vision, effective communication, and a commitment to improving their community.

Edmund N. Bacon [1910-2005] is recognized as one of the most significant city planners of the 20th century. As Executive Director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission from 1949-1970, his design concepts shaped the physical landscape of the post-World-War-II city. Bacon’s work had such national significance that he was featured on the cover of Time magazine in 1964, and brought Philadelphia into the national spotlight as a city that was ambitiously planning for its future.

This talk is presented along with the awards for the annual Better Philadelphia Challenge which asks university-level students around the world to design innovative solutions for Philadelphia's underdeveloped sites and infrastructure issues which present modern-day design challenges. The solutions to these challenges are broadly applicable to other aging industrialized cities around the world.

This program is organized by the Ed Bacon Memorial Committee.

Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities

Population(s) Served

Adults

Young Adults (20-25 years) -- currently not in use

Budget

$40,000

Program 4

Constructing Play: Classic Building Toys

Presented Annually in the Winter

Constructing Play: Classic Building Toys is a vibrant annual exhibition chronicling the development of classic children's building toys over the past 150 years. These toys have been instrumental in fostering creative play and are critical to the education of our children. Travel back in time to see how various types of toys have developed and advanced with technology to become the toys we know them today! Appropriate for all ages.

Constructing Play is organized into four distinct categories of toys. Each group is arranged chronologically, displaying the evolution of these toys from some of the originals of their type, to what children may be more familiar with today. The collection also includes construction-related toys that were recently designed here in Philadelphia.

ENGINEERING
Often more complex - with motors and moving parts - these toys tend to derive from real life processes and techniques, and are often used to construct buildings and infrastructure. Examples on display include Erector, K'Nex, Tinker Toys, and Astrolab.

INTERLOCKING
Comprised of basic and repetitive components that connect or snap together at their joints, interlocking toys create endless possibilities for creative play. Examples on display include LEGO®, American Skyline, and Lille Huset.

MODULAR
Consisting of simple and repeating shapes that may vary in color and scale, modular toys can be assembled to form a larger object. Examples on display include Sticklets, Construct-o-Straws, American Brick Blocks, and Bloxes.

STACKING
Instrumental in helping children at early ages to develop cognitive, spatial, and language skills, stacking toys consist of blocks of varying sizes and shapes, and are used by setting one on top of another. Examples on display include alphabet blocks, Froebel Gifts, BrickPlayer, and Arckitek Blocks.

HANDS-ON CARTS
Visitors old and young can show off their building skills and create the house or city of their dreams at hands-on carts. Filled with components of three popular building toys - these carts provide opportunities for both individual and group play.

FAMILY WORKSHOPS
A series of 90-minute, instructor-led, family workshops are held every Saturday during Constructing Play. Appropriate for children in grades 2-6, these workshops provide an educational and hands-on component and are taught by local architecture professionals. Tickets are required. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Exhibitions at the Center are always FREE to visit!

Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Adults

Budget

$10,000

Service Areas

Self-reported

Pennsylvania

Greater Philadelphia region

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

CENTER FOR ARCHITECTURE
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Center for Architecture

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
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  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair
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Executive Director

Ms. Rebecca JOHNSON

BIO

Prior to joining AIA Philadelphia and the Center for Architecture, Johnson served as Executive Director of the Fairmount Community Development Corporation (CDC), where she led strategic efforts to grow the Greater Art Museum Business Alliance (GAMBA). She led the CDC and GAMBA in supporting more than 125 small businesses with technical assistance, business development and growth strategies, and created a marketing and communications plan that raised the visibility of Fairmount in the region and helped attract nearly two dozen new businesses in just three years. Johnson has served as a land-use and zoning attorney at Scenic Philadelphia (formerly SCRUB), Kaplin Stewart, Philadelphia, and ZatorLaw Offices, Allentown, where she worked with architects, real estate developers, municipal staff, and engineers on land development projects and land use legislations, including building codes and design standards.

“Rebecca is someone with obvious passion and outward energy," added Bob Hsu AIA, President of the Center for Architecture, “and by being a little out of the box from the traditional structure of the AIA, is an ideal candidate at this time to lead our Chapter and the CFA." A Philadelphia resident for the past 12 years, Johnson earned a bachelor's degree in sociology at Lehigh University, a master's in sociology/urban studies at Georgia State University and a law degree from Temple University Beasley School of Law.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mr. Antonio FIOL-SILVA

WRT

Term: Jan 2015 - Dec 2015

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


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CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


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ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


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BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


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BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?