Design Awards

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The Infill Philadelphia: Soak It Up! design competition challenged architects, landscape architects, engineers, and other sustainability professionals to show how green stormwater infrastructure could transform Philadelphia.

This national, interdisciplinary design competition was created by the Philadelphia Water Department, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Community Design Collaborative to inspire innovation in green stormwater infrastructure for Philadelphia.

28 design teams designed for one of three sites in Philadelphia, each reflecting the common stormwater management opportunities and challenges of industrial, retail commercial, or neighborhood sites throughout the city.Their ingenious design solutions exceeded our expectations and imaginations—exactly as we hoped! We gratefully thank every team who committed their time and talent to this competition.

Nine finalists were selected to present their design solutions to the public and a jury at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia on March 7, 2013. View the video, as over 320 people cheer for the winners and Soak It Up! partners say, “Bring it on!”

Congratulations to the winning teams!

Industrial—Warehouse Watershed


Leveraging Plants + Water on Zero Lot Sites

“Stormwater management practices, shaped strategically, can complement and catalyze urban redevelopment. Leveraging Water+Plants explores the varied potential for rainwater management for a typical “zero lot line” industrial property.

Five separate but complementary strategies are proposed. Three make adaptive use of the building through 1) the transformation of the façade, 2) lightweight, cost-effective strategies for roof space, and 3) the strategic creation of rainwater courtyards within the context of adaptive reuse of the building. Two additional strategies consider the transformation of public space to support community revitalization and the effective management of rainwater resources.” View the presentation.

Roofmeadow, Philadelphia, PA
Laura Hansplant
Lauren Mandel
Charlie Miller
Jane Winkel

In Posse – A subsidiary of AKF, Philadelphia, PA
Shannon Kaplan

m2 Architecture, Philadelphia, PA
Muscoe Martin

Meliora Environmental Design LLC, Phoenixville, PA
James Adams
Michele Adams
Kate Evasic
Altje Hoekstra
Molly Julian
Joshua McFarland

SED Design, Blue Bell, PA
S. Edgar David

Sere Ltd., Spring Mills, PA
Stacy Levy

Commercial—Retail Retrofit


Stormwater reStore

“Stormwater reStore transforms the Grays Ferry Shopping Center into a green, inviting destination outfitted with outdoor community spaces, rain gardens, native vegetation, and a restored connection to the Schuylkill River. The design implements several key initiatives to improve the site’s visibility and shopping experience by providing scalable, adaptable alternatives that can be integrated into other urban strip retail centers in the city.

These initiatives include 1) Creating cost-effective opportunities to improve the stormwater management on the sites, adjacent properties, and roadways, 2) Creating a more inviting, pedestrian-friendly retail center with community-oriented amenities on the site, and 3) Identifying cost-effective energy-reducing and sustainable building and site alternatives.” View the presentation.

Urban Engineers Inc., Philadelphia, PA
Fiona Chau
Christopher Gubeno
Daniel Humes
Kate Mundie
David Vodila
Angelo Waters

Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, New York, NY
Heather Fuhrman
Emily Gordon
Kim Mathews
Johanna Phelps

Spiezle Architectural Group, Trenton, NJ
Robert Kauffmann
A. Stevens Krug

Neighborhood—Greening the Grid


Meeting Green

“It would be easier to go for the low-hanging fruit—large lots and low-population areas—but Philadelphia has far too many neighborhoods to ignore. Large sites are the most cost-effective properties to implement Stormwater Management Practices. However, there are not enough of these properties.

Meeting Green creates a replicable model that balances the need to implement effective low-cost projects with solutions that maximize the triple-bottom benefits of investing in neighborhoods. The concept is to offer the opportunity to distribute the responsibility for managing stormwater sustainably between the public and private sectors and incentives property owner participation.” View the presentation.

OLIN Design Studio, Philadelphia, PA
Stephen  Benz
Darrell Campana
Ed Confair
Andrew Dawson
Allison Harvey
Joey Hayes
Jessica Henson
Shawn Hilleman
Jenny Jones
Chris Landau
R. Benjamin Lawrence
Amy Magida
Jennifer Martel
Andrew McConnico
John Mellor
Ari Miller
Michael Miller
Nick Mitchell
Henry Moll
Richard Roark
Lauren Schwartz
Laura Stedenfeld
Judy Venonsky
Dana Williamson

Gilmore & Associates, New Britain, PA
Christopher Green
Gregory Glitzer
Shiny Mathew
Ronald Monkres
Trevor Woodward

International Consultants Inc., Philadelphia, PA
Michael Funk

MM Partners LLC, Philadelphia, PA
David Waxman

Penn Praxis
Andrew Goodman
Harris Steinberg

SMP Architects, Philadelphia, PA
David Ade
Sam Emory
Scott Ritchie
Todd Woodward

A total of 28 teams, 101 firms, and 315 professionals from the Philadelphia region and other cities including New York City, St. Louis, Chicago, Oakland, and Portland teamed up to enter the design competition.

The finalists and winning entries were chosen for their ability to be implemented, replicated, and cost-effective. Happily, they also offer green stormwater infrastructure solutions for Philadelphia that are both engaging and beautiful.