BWA to Design Philly Schools’ Cutting-Edge Vocational Center


In September 2015 the School District of Philadelphia will open a high school-based vocational center to train students for careers in the modern manufacturing industry.  The Center for Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing, the first of its kind in the city, will offer a wide range of courses in everything from mechatronics to renewable energy engineering.  The School District hopes the program, which will involve participation by the business and manufacturing community, will benefit Philly students by preparing them for hi-tech careers, and benefit the city at large by helping to meet growing industry needs for highly trained and skilled workers.

BWA architecture + planning is working with the district’s Office of Career and Technical Education on the Center, which will be located at Benjamin Franklin High School on North Broad Street.   The $6 million dollar project includes extensive renovations to the basement of the high school to provide shop and learning spaces for ten separate skill areas.

As it designs the Center, BWA will look to create efficient work and learning spaces within each shop area, facilitate movement throughout the suite of spaces, and define how the Center relates to the rest of the school.  The facility must provide the infrastructure for the delivery and installation of the large equipment needed for each shop and accommodate change as technologies and course offerings evolve.  BWA’s design will also take into account the potential for an adult educational component and possible industry use of the Center in the evenings.

Read more from the Philadelphia City Paper and check this blog for updates as the project progresses.

vocational programs

Philly to open a new school to train high school students skills needed for manufacturing jobs — Philadelphia City Paper, 06/12/2014


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Visiting History & Cherry Blossoms at Washington Crossing

by Richard Winston, Principal


As an architect, I find a successful project is an enduring source of pride.  I feel a connection to some projects long after completion, and I like to check in on them.  Earlier this week I visited one of my favorites, the Visitor Center at Washington Crossing Historic Park in Bucks County.

Cherry blossoms at Washington Crossing Historic ParkOn this spring morning the birds were singing, and the sun illuminated the mall of flags at the expanded north entrance.  The grass was greening, and the cherry trees—which were still newly planted at last spring’s ribbon cutting—were in bloom.

Washington Crossing Historic Park was founded in 1917 to preserve the site from which General Washington and the Continental Army crossed the Delaware River in 1776 and marched to a successful surprise attack against British-allied Hessian troops quartered in Trenton—a move generally credited with changing the course of the Revolutionary War.

BWA architecture + planning was honored to work with the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission and PA’s Department of General Services on the renovation and expansion of the park’s visitor center, which had been closed for some years due to serious disrepair.

BWA expanded and reconfigured the existing structure, a 1959 keystone-shaped building with 1976 additions.  Our design opened up and modernized the interior to provide visual drama and sweeping views of the river, but kept it warm and welcoming with plenty of exposed wood.  Capitalizing on the basic character of the building, we maintained the exposed locally-quarried stone walls, several of which are now interior surfaces in gathering and event spaces.

The visitor center now boasts a new museum, new conference space, a museum shop, a refurbished auditorium, and a state-of-the-art, climate-controlled storage area to protect the park’s Colonial artifacts. The new north entry, with its orientation to the Delaware and Washington’s point of embarkation,  strengthens the connections between the visitor center, the river, and the historic village of Taylorsville.  (Carter van Dyke Associates’ excellent landscape design for the site further enhances these relationships.)

The project was particularly rewarding in that in called upon some of BWA’s key strengths and interests: historic preservation, contextual design, and building consensus among a diverse group of stakeholders.

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Happy Holidays from BWA!


Happy Holidays from BWA!Click the image for a larger view…and see additional project photos here!

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Stop by BWA’s table at the Homes Within Reach Conference in Harrisburg, PA – November 12th

BWA is proud to be a sponsor and exhibitor at this terrific annual conference organized by the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania. Check out the workshop schedule here - Topics include Addressing Homelessness, Investing in Development, Fighting Blight, and Rebuilding Homeownership. Hope to see you there!

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SJU’s Post Learning Commons featured in fall issue of American Libraries Magazine!

SJU's Post Learning Commons if featured in this month's American Libraries Magazine!BWA is pleased to announce that the Post Learning Commons at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia has been selected for publication in American Libraries Magazine’s annual Library Design Showcase! This year’s “Building the Future” projects include “…shining examples of innovative architecture that addresses user needs in unique, interesting, and effective ways.” You can view the piece in its entirety here.

See more images of the Post Learning Commons here.

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Tour Connelly House during Greenbuild – Nov. 18th and 22nd!

Sign up to tour Connelly House during Greenbuild - Nov. 18th and 22nd!Greenbuild, the world’s largest green building conference, is coming to Philadelphia November 18th to 22nd. The event features a wealth of educational speakers, workshops, and tours of the host city’s green buildings.
BWA’s Connelly House, a LEED Gold, supportive housing facility in downtown Philadelphia, is a featured tour site!

BWA principal Morrie Zimmerman will accompany building administrators on a tour of the 79-unit facility, community spaces, and green roof built for non-profits Project H.O.M.E. and Bethesda Project.

Click for details about the “Liberty and Justice for All: Innovative Multifamily Housing” half-day tour, including stops at Connelly House, Anderson House, 777 Broad Street, and Lenfest Hall. No conference registration is required to attend. Hope to see you there!

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BWA wins “Best Team Name” at 2013 CDC Bowling Ball!

On June 15, 2013, along with forty other design and neighborhood organizations, BWA bowled to benefit the Community Design Collaborative of Philadelphia. BWA is proud to be a long-time sponsor and volunteer firm with this great organization, and also repeat winner of Bowling Ball team prizes. This year, drawing inspiration from their Old City office location, BWA was awarded Best Team Name for their costume concept, “Elfreth’s (Bowling) Alley” – We had an old-fashioned good time!

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Washington Crossing Visitor Center Grand Re-Opening

This gallery contains 6 photos.

On March 10, 2013, after two years of construction and over a decade of planning, BWA project architect Morrie Zimmerman and Entech engineer Craig Snyder attended the ribbon cutting celebration at the Washington Crossing Visitor Center. The exhibit portion of … Continue reading

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Washington Crossing Visitor Center to Open March 10, 2013

This gallery contains 17 photos.

Some photos of the finished construction: Stop by soon to see for yourself!

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Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from BWA!

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