University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA


University of Pennsylvania to Honor KoningEizenberg Architecture and the Reimagine Middle Branch Plan at October Forum

By Weitzman
Aug 11, '23 12:42 PM EST

KoningEizenberg Architecture has been selected to receive the 2023 Kanter Tritsch Medal in Architecture and James Corner Field Operations has been selected to receive the 2023 Witte-Sakamoto Family Medal in City and Regional Planning for the Reimagine Middle Branch Plan, a comprehensive plan to realize Baltimore’s next great waterfront while advancing equity, resilience, and health. Two of three professional honors given annually by the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design, they will be presented at The Weitzman School Awards: Philadelphia on October 23, 2023, a public forum celebrating exceptional public-interest design.                                                                   

“By embracing the greatest challenges in the built environment, KoningEizenberg and James Corner Field Operations inspire students and professionals alike,” said Fritz Steiner, dean and Paley Professor at Weitzman. “They exemplify the opportunity for designers and planners, policy makers and their constituents to think holistically and come together around shared values.”

The Kanter Tritsch Medal in Architecture was established in 2017 through a gift from Weitzman alumna Lori Kanter Tritsch (MArch’85), a member of the Board of Advisors at Weitzman, and her partner and fellow Penn alumnus William P. Lauder, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School and is a Penn trustee. The Medal honors an architect or firm that has changed the course of design history, with a particular focus on the areas of energy conservation, environmental quality, and/or diversity.

The Witte-Sakamoto Family Medal in City and Regional Planning was established by William Witte (C‘73, MCP‘75), an alumnus of the Weitzman School, and his wife, Keiko Sakamoto, to recognize a firm, team, or professional for an exemplary plan that advances the field of plan making in at least four of the following areas: social equity, environmental quality, design, public health, mobility, housing affordability, and economic development.

KoningEizenberg and James Corner Field Operations join previous medalists Tod Williams and Billie Tsien (2018); A. Eugene Kohn (2019); Regional Plan Association for the Fourth Regional Plan (2019); Peter Eisenman (2020); the City of Philadelphia forGreenPlan Philadelphia (2020); MASS Design Group (2021); the City of Minneapolis for Minneapolis 2040 (2021); Diller Scofidio + Renfro (2022); Suisman Urban Design and iQuilt Partnership for Hartford400 (2022).

In conjunction with the professional medals, the Weitzman School selected two outstanding students entering their final year of study to receive a $50,000 scholarship each for the 2023 - 2024 Academic Year. The recipient of the 2023 Kanter Tritsch Prize in Energy and Architectural Innovation is Khang Truong (MArch’24) and the recipient of the 2023 Witte-Sakamoto Family Prize in City and Regional Planning is Nissim Lebovits (MCP’24). In addition, based on the outstanding submissions received, Danny Thomas Jarabek, (MArch’24) has received the Kanter Tritsch Second Prize in Architecture and a $10,000 scholarship for the 2022 - 2023 Academic Year. Jonathan Zisk (MCP’24) has received the Witte-Sakamoto Second Place Prize in City and Regional Planning and a $10,000 scholarship for the 2023 - 2024 Academic Year.

The juries for the Kanter Tritsch Prize and Medal were chaired by Winka Dubbeldam, professor and past chair of architecture at Weitzman and founding partner at Archi-Tectonics. The juries for the Witte-Sakamoto Family Medal and Prize were chaired by Lisa Servon, the Kevin and Erica Penn Presidential Professor and chair of city and regional planning.

The annual Weitzman School Awards event will take place on Penn’s campus at the Kleinman Energy Forum, Fisher Fine Arts Library, 220 South 34th Street, Philadelphia. Learn more about the winners, past and present, on the Weitzman Awards website. Registration will open in late August.

About KoningEizenberg

“Our domain is Neighborhood,” is how the principals of Santa Monica based KoningEizenberg describe their long-held interest in what they see as the power of social interaction to elevate quality of life for buildings of daily use. Established in 1981, the firm is led by Hank Koning, Julie Eizenberg, Brian Lane, and Nathan Bishop. The practice began by embracing then-overlooked affordable housing and community projects, raising expectations within the public and the profession. They continue to impact neighborhoods through sustainable, innovative approaches to museums, libraries, schools, and housing at all income levels. Among their best-known projects are the 28th Street Apartments (2012), a distressed former YMCA in south Los Angeles transformed into supportive housing with on-site youth training and employment, and Pico Branch Library (2014), a “community living room” conceived through a series of public design workshops that combines daylight harvesting, passive shading, and grey water recycling. KoningEizenberg’s work for governmental, commercial, non-profit and private clients has been published worldwide and recognized with over 200 awards for design, preservation, and sustainability.

 About the Reimagine Middle Branch Plan

The Reimagine Middle Branch Plan is a community-driven initiative to reconnect South Baltimore with a system of world-class parks, trails, programs, and economic development plans along 11 miles of the Patapsco River’s shoreline. According to its authors, “While the Plan outlines the physical transformation of the Middle Branch, it is also meant to catalyze the intangible transformation of place—to one that is just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive.” It recommends a series of capital improvements along with public programs, partnerships, policies, job opportunities and equitable economic development initiatives. Adopted by the Baltimore City Planning Commission on February 9, 2023, the Plan was led by the City of Baltimore, South Baltimore Gateway Partnership, and Parks & People Foundation, working alongside a team of expert consultants, stakeholders, and Baltimoreans.

Founded by professor emeritus and past chair of landscape architecture James Corner (MLA’86), James Corner Field Operations is the Plan’s design lead and responsible for landscape architecture, urban design, master planning, and public engagement. The planning team also includes Mahan Rykiel Associates, Design Jones, Moffatt & Nichol, Toole Design, Biohabitats, Waldon Studio, Assedo Consulting, The Urban Studio, Kofi Boone, KG&A, Public Mechanics, Urbane Development, and Dharam Consulting.

Founded in 1999, James Corner Field Operations is a leading-edge landscape architecture and urban design practice based in New York City, with offices in San Francisco, Philadelphia, Shenzhen, and London, that is renowned for strong contemporary design across a variety of project types and scales, from large urban districts, master plans, and complex planning sites, to small well-crafted, detailed design projects. Regardless of scale, the practice claims a special commitment to the design of a vibrant and dynamic public realm, informed by the ecology of both people and nature, rooted in place and context.

 About the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design 

The mission of the Weitzman School of Design is to prepare students to address complex sociocultural and environmental issues through thoughtful inquiry, creative expression, and innovation. As a diverse community of scholars and practitioners, we are committed to advancing the public good–locally and globally–through art, design, planning, and preservation.

The University of Pennsylvania, founded in 1740, is an Ivy League institution with a distinctive past. Its twelve undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools are located in Philadelphia on an attractive urban campus that serves a diverse community of more than 20,000 students from throughout the nation and around the world. Ranked consistently among the top universities in the nation, Penn has a longstanding reputation for excellence in graduate and professional education.

For images or interviews, please contact: Michael Grant, [email protected], 215.898.2539. For information about giving at Weitzman, contact Jeff Snyder, assistant dean for development and alumni relations, at [email protected].

Images: 28th St Apartments: Restoration and expansion re-establish a community landmark to provide supportive housing and ground floor community programs. Koning Eizenberg Architects. Photo Eric Staudenmaier. 

The Reimagine Middle Branch Plan: Parks, projects, and programs to connect communities in South Baltimore. James Corner Field Operations and the Reimagine Middle Branch Planning Team.

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