About the Center for Architecture and Design

Photo © Bob Graham, Jr.
About the Center for Architecture and Design

About the Center for Architecture and Design

The Center provides Philadelphia with educational programs, exhibitions, and a public space to explore architecture, urban planning, and design, allowing visitors the opportunity to understand how these disciplines affect us all in our daily lives. Using our city's distinctive breadth of architecture, pioneering urban design, and manufacturing heritage as the foundation for conversation, we educate the public through talks, exhibitions, publications, hands-on workshops, design competitions, festivals, and children’s programming. 

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

The Center brings together architects, designers, developers, thought leaders, and the public under one roof and also provides office space to AIA Philadelphia, the Community Design Collaborative, and the AIA Bookstore. An independent non-profit, the Center was founded in 2002 by the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Philadelphia). The Center is open to the public six days a week.

The Center is a proud member of:
 - The Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia
 - The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance
 - Visit Philadelphia

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 and Design 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.


Capital Contributers

These visionary organizations generously supported the Center's original Capital Campaign - without them the Center would have remained a blueprint of an idea: