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Our History

Founded in 2009, AIA Philadelphia initiated a mission to spark passion for architecture and design creating an organization and physical hub at 1218 Arch Street called the Center for Architecture . The AIA Bookstore was our public face, flanked by AIA Philadelphia Chapter and Community Design Collaborative offices. By 2013, we embraced the DesignPhiladelphia festival, leading to our 2016 rebranding as the Center for Architecture and Design, showcasing our multidisciplinary approach. Today, we've rebranded our organization as DesignPhiladelphia and renamed our building as the Center for DesignPhiladelphia. This critical step reinforces our dedication to inclusivity and collaboration in design.

Our Vision

Together we will create a Philadelphia that is designed for and by everyone.

Our Mission

We foster a vibrant design community from K through Career committed to excellence, inclusivity, and connections. As an invaluable partner in Philadelphia’s progress we do that through multidisciplinary design education, our annual festival, and public programs.

Our Purpose

For Students We Will: Open doors and create economic opportunities in underserved communities, providing support and sparking new aspirations, from kindergarten through career.

For Designers We Will: Support and unify the design industry across the region; make it less siloed, more inclusive, and more consequential in Philadelphia’s progress.

For the Philadelphia Region We Will: Ignite the narrative that Philadelphia is a global design hub, charting a new course to make design by and for everyone.

Board of Directors

Paul Avazier, AIA,
Board Chair
Principal, Atkin Olshin Schade Architects

Elizabeth Class-Maldonado
Board Vice Chair
Program Director, Trust for Public Land

Robert Shuman Jr. ,

Board Treasurer
Associate Professor of Architecture, Temple University

Uchenna Okere
Board Leadership Committee
CEO & Founder, RevitGods

Chesenia Burgos, NCIDQ, IIDA
Associate, Interior Designer, Stantec

Anne Cummins
Chief Operating Officer, Gattuso Development Partners, LLC

Kristin DeFrancisco
Vice President, Operations & Finance,General Building Contractors Association

Richard J. Davies, Esq.
Partner, Milber Makris Piosadis & Seiden LLP

Lauren Dougherty
Executive Director, Design & User Experience, FS Investments

Alex Feldman
Managing Director, U3 Advisors

Rob Fleming,
Director of Online Innovation, University of Pennsylvania

Steven H. Gendler
Principal, MIS Capital LLC

Michael Herrmann, PE
Principal, O'Donnell & Naccarato

Christine Sabatini
Senior Business Development Manager, Langan

Alan Jacobson 
Founder & President, Exit Design

Alicia Karr
President, Meyer Design Inc.

William W. McDowell, III
Senior Director, Development, National Development

Tom Normile, PE
Senior Principal, Keast & Hood Co.

Stephen W. Pouppirt
President, Clemens Construction Co., Inc.

Katrina Rogus
Studio Director, SALT Design Studio

Lance Rothstein
Former Vice Principal, Hill International Inc.

James W. Rowe, AIA
Principal, Studio Agoos Lovera

Denise Thompson, AIA , LEED BD+C
Principal, FCA

Joe Val
Principal, Ally Partners

Kelly Vresilovic, 
Senior Architect, Preservation Design Partnership, LLC

Tya Winn, NOMA
Executive Director, Community Design Collaborative

DesignPhiladelphia Team

Rebecca Johnson
Executive Director

Michael Spain,
Associate AIA, NOMA
Director of Design Education

Jermaine Jenkins
Director of Development and Strategic Partnerships

Joe Martinelli
Finance Director

Lois Sesskin
Events and Venue Sales Coordinator

Jelani Abdul-Aziz
Creative Projects Manager

Liza Niles
Program Manager of Design Education

Tiffany Mercer-Robbins
Communications Consultant

Carly Clifford
Program and Content Coordinator

Jordan Kauwling
Facility Assistant

Jasmine Alleger



1218 Arch StreetPhiladelphia,PA 19107

T (215) 569-3186


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