The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia is pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 Preservation Achievement Awards, including individuals, organizations, structures, and spaces that contribute to the Philadelphia region’s unique character.
“This year’s Grand Jury winners exhibit astonishing variety, from a preschool housed in a former parking garage, to the conservation of the tympanum on America’s First Bank, to the rehabilitation of a grain elevator into an apartment building,” said Paul Steinke, Alliance Executive Director, “The work is an excellent representation of the continuum of preservation achievement that we have established over the past 25 years.”
The Alliance was formed in 1996 from the merger of the Philadelphia Historic Preservation Corporation (1979), a nonprofit corporation formed to guide investment dollars into historic renovation projects through tax and other financial incentives; and the Preservation Coalition of Greater Philadelphia (1982), dedicated to preservation advocacy.
Preservation Alliance Achievement Awards will be presented in two categories: Grand Jury Awards for historic building projects that have been restored or renovated in an exemplary way; and Special Recognition Awards for people and organizations that champion preservation. The most prestigious Special Recognition honor is the James Biddle Award for lifetime achievement.
Special Recognition Awards
This year’s James Biddle Award goes to Bruce Laverty, the Gladys Brooks Curator of Architecture for the Athenaeum.
“For many of us, Bruce is the Athenaeum,” said Steinke. “He has managed the collection, documentation and organization of priceless architectural archives for 37 years. He created the Philadelphia Architects and Buildings Project, an essential digital resource. His depth of knowledge, understanding of preservation, commitment to architecture, and ability to maintain his sense of humor in the face of endless inquiries, make him a local hero to anyone researching the built environment.”
In addition to the Biddle, Special Recognition Awards will be presented to blight-busters Scioli Turco; Camden Enslaved Africans Historic Markers project; Monument Lab; and the Keep Wharton Esherick in Rose Valley Campaign, among others.
The Young Friends of the Preservation Alliance Award will go to the project to transform the home of artist Dox Thrash into an artistic and economic anchor for the Sharswood community. See the complete list here. The Special Recognition Award winners are selected by a panel of esteemed preservationists from the Philadelphia region.
Grand Jury Awards
Twenty-four exemplary projects will be honored this year, including the restoration of Shofuso’spebble beach and the Happy Hollow Rec Center; replacement and reconfiguration of all seating at the Academy of Music; adaptive reuse of the Phila Armory into the Arlen Specter US Squash Center; and rehabilitation of historic apartments, schools, industrial buildings, bridges and private homes.
The iconic 30th Street Station is among the most prominent of the Grand Jury Award winners. Now officially the William H. Gray III 30th Street Station, the neoclassical façade of buff-colored Alabama limestone atop a base of pink granite has been painstakingly cleaned and repaired to its original 1933 beauty. From 2016 to 2020, professionals from multiple trades worked two, 10-hour shifts --with the building always open -- to extend the lifespan of one of America’s grandest train stations.
See the complete list here. The Grand Jury Award winners were selected by a New York-based panel of preservation architects and historians.
The Annual Preservation Achievement Awards will take place on Wednesday June 9th, from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. on a virtual platform. Each ticket includes an event access link and an Experience Box shipped to home or office containing a printed Program and a Gourmet Culinary Adventure from DiBruno Bros.
The annual Achievement Awards celebration is the largest gathering of preservationists in the region, with more than 500 guests expected.
If you watch
What: 2021 Preservation Achievement Awards
When: Wednesday, June 9th, 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Buy tickets at www.preservationalliance.com.