2015 Better Philadelphia Challenge: Special Jury Prize Winners

December 15, 2014 |

The 2015 Better Philadelphia Challenge asked students from around the world to reimagine how Petty Island - an uninhabited, 292-acre island located in the Delaware River between Philadelphia and Camden, NJ currently used as a storage site for petroleum tanks and cargo containers - could be developed as a 21st century recreation complex suited to today's needs and economic/environmental realites. Last week, we announced the first prize winners and reviewed details of their proposal. Today, we'll take a look at the four teams who were chosen to be acknowledged with a special jury prize.

Special Jury Prize For Alternative Energy

A Bio Fuel Future | Leeds Beckett University
Team: Asma Dauleh, Freddie Garside, Nick Husband

Petty Island - The Hub for a Biofuel Future will act as an extension to the Mayor’s current “Green Works Plan”. The island will grow to become a self-sustained and renewable energy engineering site, encompassing within it the potential for research, education and preservation. The team envisioned an "ideal framework for a bio-chemical utopian experiment" centered on the growth and processing of the water hyacinth plant.

Special Jury Prize For Economic Development

Radiant Seed | Cornell University
Team: Jorge Champin, Darren Graffius, Petra Marar, Hobum Moon, Qianqian Ye

Reviving the ten-year-old Philadelphia-Camden Empowerment Zone, Petty’s Island becomes the seed for an open framework that emphasizes new opportunities in green infrastructure, accessibility, social capital and the site’s industrial legacy. Flexible program and space, charged by Petty’s Island Community College (PICC), provides accessible housing and job opportunities for neighbors and, over time, provides benefits to the cities at large.

By 2030, the team envisioned that students, graduates, educators and island- and pier-based startups would have structured the space based on surrounding and city needs. A photovoltaic solar array, street tree production, prairie restoration, and small scale farms could provide training and renewable energy production - and are suggestions in a larger framework of flexibility organized between PICC, the start-ups and local organizations.

Special Jury Prize For Regional Integration

The Oasis | Novosibirsk State Academy of Architecture & Fine Arts
Team: Alexandra Starostina

The Oasis conceives a continuous green route, which includes Petty Island and both banks of the Delaware River, where the island is the central point in the structure. Thus the existing banks of the river (currently industrial, abandoned, and unkempt areas) will become diverse embankments, connected with parks inside the city and creating a "green frame".

To address future rising water levels due to global warming, all key constructions on the island would be located in "flood free" areas, while pre-fab and modular construction techniques would be used near the water and could be easily transferred to an alternative place.

Special Jury Prize For Compelling Graphics

From Dregs to Destination | Cornell University
Team: Stephanie Buglione, Mujahid Powell, Levi Schoenfeld, Xiao Shi, Ge Yi, Shuqi Zhang

To recontextualize the Petty Island site as a destination of human activity and a standard for landscape productivity, the team's proposal promotes the integration of human and environmental systems in symbiosis.

This bird’s eye view provides a comprehensive overview of the structure, systems, and programming of the team's site. Each element is colored coded to reflect the three systems (cultural and economic, energy and mitigation, and landscape productivity and adaptation). The site is composed of three key areas: the island ecological area, the light industrial and recycling district, and the mixed use knowledge center, all woven together with active and passive recreation spaces and multi-modal circulation.

Awards Ceremony

An awards ceremony, where the winning team will be presented with the first prize of $5000, will be held on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 from 6:30-8:30pm at Moore College of Art & Design. Each team of special jury prize recipients will receive an award certificate and have a few minutes to present their ideas to the audience. They will also be available at the reception following the ceremony to talk with people and answer questions about their projects. The evening will also include a VIP reception, awards ceremony, and speech given by 2015 Bacon Prize honoree, Judith Rodin, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. Ms. Rodin, a former president of the University of Pennsylvania and provost of Yale University, and her work with the Rockefeller Foundation has centered on helping people, communities, and institutions to build greater resilience to everyday challenges. Her talk will also feature ideas from her new book, The Resilience Dividend. The program concludes with a coffee and dessert reception.

Click here to purchase tickets.

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