Monday, January 5, 2015

SFA News - Dan Silberman Joins Spillman Farmer

We are feeling rejuvenated and excited for 2015 with the exciting news that Spillman Farmer’s former intern (and recent Philadelphia University graduate) Dan Silberman, will be joining us full time! Among Dan’s many accomplishments is his first–place win in the 113th John Stewardson Memorial Fellowship in Architecture competition.

John Stewardson was a prominent Pennsylvania architect who is credited with the English Gothic Revival, an architectural style that inspired many of his firm’s (Cope & Stewardson) collegiate buildings. The Stewardson Memorial Fellowship competition, founded in John’s honor, is the most prestigious competition for students in the state of Pennsylvania. To be eligible, undergraduate students must be in their final year pursuing a degree in architecture from an accredited school of architecture in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Each year’s Stewardson participants are tasked with developing a complete solution to a particular design challenge within a rigorous 10-day time frame. The challenge in the 2014 competition was to develop a design involving mixed-use residential, commercial and arts facilities that would foster a sense of community within Philadelphia’s Francisville neighborhood.

Dan Silberman's design, Canvas, was selected as the winner of the John Stewardson Memorial Fellowship competition.

Dan’s design, “Canvas,” created an identity for the neighborhood through a bold storefront, whose modular fa├žade-panel system could display community-based artwork, films, or news. 

Rendering from the Canvas submission, looking NW on Ridge Avenue

“Ridge Avenue, once a busy commercial corridor is now basically a small highway that connects the surrounding suburbs to the city,” Dan said. “My submission was designed to take advantage of the corridor’s potential for public communication by creating an opportunity to broadcast information about the neighborhood, the artists within the district and the new shops to those pass by every day without knowing the potential value and significance of the neighborhood.” 

Rendering from the Canvas submission, depicting the studio and upper residences of the site

Dan’s design also included a shared plaza and garage, and residences on the upper levels of the mixed-use complex.

In their written comments, the competition’s 2014 jury praised Dan’s design for the way it blurred the existing facades with layers of new construction, making it nearly impossible to distinguish old from new. The jury members said that Dan’s design would bring new life to the site and encourage a diverse and vibrant lifestyle within the neighborhood.  

Dan’s first-place win earned him a $10,000 scholarship to study architecture abroad. During his travels, Dan visited many of our favorites, including many works from Peter Zumthor and Carlo Scarpa. We had the opportunity to watch Dan grow over the years – as a student and an intern. He is a thoughtful and mature designer, who is well-suited for the rigors of Spillman Farmer. We’re excited to hear more about Dan’s travels (and hopefully read about them in upcoming blogs!) once he settles in – and we’re also looking forward to seeing how his experience abroad will inform his thinking and design.