Category: Community
Outdoor Learning Spaces Competition Aides Local Schools During the Pandemic

Ballinger is proud to continue our support of Philadelphia’s Community Design Collaborative and their recently-launched Design Assistance In Demand (AID) program, created to tackle the urgent needs brought on by the COVID-19 crisis. Design AID’s current focus is finding ways to safety return Philadelphia students to equitable, in-person learning.

To act on this focus, the Collaborative hosted a design competition seeking innovative and creative solutions for outdoor learning in a time of global crisis. Solutions are being compiled in a design guide that will serve as a resource for schools in Philadelphia and beyond.

Join the Design Competition Showcase October 1 via Zoom to learn more about the Collaborative’s exploration of outdoor learning spaces and to see Ballinger’s competition submission.

Fon Wang on “What Minerva Built”

The podcast “What Minerva Built” explores the work of Philadelphia architect Minerva Parker Nichols, the first female in the country to practice architecture independently. Penn researcher and podcast host Molly Lester interviewed Ballinger’s Director of Historic Preservation, Fon S. Wang, AIA, LEED AP, about Minerva’s career and legacy.

Listen to the 9-episode limited series here.

H_151221_N8_ppt

Our Ballinger Community

Recent events have brought heightened focus on eliminating social injustice and providing dignity and respect for human life. Many Americans are protesting for positive change and improving our collective quality of life. We must commit ourselves to being a source of sensitivity and care at this time of uncertainty, as well as advocates for human rights always.

We dedicate ourselves to Ethical and Professional Conduct that binds us professionally to upholding human rights for all and using our knowledge and skill for the enhancement of human welfare. By our own code, it is unethical to adjoin ourselves to the service of those who would ask us to violate those principles.

As Architects, Engineers, and Designers we uphold the safety and well-being of people inhabiting our built environments. We pride ourselves on our expertise and apply our knowledge to solve difficult design and technical challenges. We can extend the same commitment to our craft by bringing innovative ideas and determination to the complex challenges facing our broader society. We can strive to build a more honest, safe, and equitable world.

Since 1878, Ballinger has been an active Philadelphia community leader with broad national reach. Let’s remain focused on a better and more just future… for every member of our local community and across the nation.

The Ballinger Leadership

Ballinger supports the Community Design Collaborative’s Leverage virtual event

The Community Design Collaborative held their annual fundraiser virtually on Thursday, raising over $105,000 to provide preliminary design services to local non-profit organizations.

The program included remarks from Ballinger Senior Principal Terry D. Steelman, FAIA and the Collaborative’s Interim Executive Director, Jenn Richard. This year’s Leverage Award honoree was Judee M. Bavaria, President Emeritus of Presby’s Inspired Life, who has been key to expanding and enrich­ing affordable senior housing in our region.

Over 200 attendees participated via Zoom, connecting Philadelphia’s architecture, engineering and construction community at a time when in-person events are prohibited, and the city is wrestling with economic unrest and disparity.

Ballinger is a corporate champion sponsor of the Collaborative and over 30 staff members have volunteered time on Collaborative projects. Past Leverage Award recipients include Ballinger’s Terry D. Steelman, FAIA; president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, Stephen K. Klasko, MD; and Connor Barwin, NFL player and founder of Make the World Better Foundation (MTWB).

Fon Wang on What Inspires Her

To celebrate National Historic Preservation Month, Philadelphia’s Preservation Alliance asked 31 historic preservation leaders to describe a building that inspires them. Ballinger’s Director of Historic Preservation, Fon S. Wang, AIA, LEED AP, wrote about her enduring affection for the Fleisher Art Memorial.

Link to article

Ballinger on the Structural Engineering Channel Podcast

Ballinger Principal and Chief Structural Engineer Angela M. Fante, PE, SECB, LEED AP was a guest on the Structural Engineering Channel, a podcast from the Engineering Management Institute. Co-hosts Mathew Picardal, PE and Alexis Clark, PE interviewed Angie about the structural engineering walking tour of St. Louis she recently developed with support from the Structural Engineering Institute (SEI). Angie researched and recorded the tour as a way to highlight and explain notable engineering achievements.

Listen to the podcast https://engineeringmanagementinstitute.org/tsec-22-structural-engineering-city-walking-tour-app/

Celebrating Women’s History

March is Women’s History Month and this year’s theme is “Valiant Women of the Vote.” Ballinger is proud to join in acknowledging the “the brave women who fought to win suffrage rights for women, and for the women who continue to fight for the voting rights of others.”

Ballinger is committed to supporting the continued advancement of women in the industry. In 2016 we implemented B::Flex, a formal program allowing employees to customize their work schedules. According to the Pew Research Center, among parents, women are much more likely than men to experience family-related career interruptions, and 51% of women report that being a working parent has made career advancement more difficult. A flexible schedule with the ability to work remotely helps women balance family responsibilities while excelling at work.

Highlighting our success in attracting, retaining and supporting women, Ballinger was recently recognized by Architect Magazine as among the “Biggest Movers in % of Women Designers.”

Listed among prominent peers, Ballinger was highlighted for a 22% increase in female designer employment from 2017 to 2018, representative of our firm’s effort to support the continued advancement of women in the industry.

Spark Mentorship Match Day

On February 27th, Ballinger volunteers will be paired with 7th grade students participating in Spark in Philadelphia, a non-profit program dedicated to helping middle schoolers achieve successful futures. Through one-on-one mentorships that include 9 weekly sessions at Ballinger, students will develop a project related to their career aspirations. By introducing students to our workplace environment and supporting them in completing a deadline-driven project, Ballinger volunteers are helping equip students with the skills for future success.

The mentorship culminates in Share Your Spark, an event where students and mentors present their projects – anything from working electrical circuits to marketing plans – to their colleagues, friends, families and the community.

Ballinger has supported Spark through donations and volunteerism since 2015, providing individual mentorships for over 25 students as well as hosting Spark Lab workshops for 20+ students each fall and participating in peer-to-peer fundraising. In 2018 Ballinger Associate Principal Sara Ridenour joined Spark’s Advisory Board and Ballinger designer Fränc Luu was recognized with Spark’s Veteran Mentor Award for his commitment to the program. In 2019 the Philadelphia Business Journal recognized Ballinger’s partnership with Spark in their annual Faces of Philanthropy round-up.

Ballinger Supports Future Innovators in STEM

Ballinger was a sponsor of the annual Philadelphia Region Future City Competition, an educational engineering program for middle-school students to imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future. Using the engineering design process as a framework, students develop a virtual city with SimCity, write an essay, build a scale model, and deliver a presentation. This year’s theme, which students had to incorporate into their cities, was providing a reliable water source for all citizens.

Part of a national initiative to engage students in STEM, the Philadelphia program culminates in a live event judged by professional engineers. Numerous volunteers gathered at Archbishop Carroll High School in Radnor for the competition on January 18, including a group from Ballinger. Throughout the day, budding engineers in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades presented their cities to judges.

East Norriton Middle School was the proud recipient of the “Walter Ballinger Hope for the Future Award,” made possible by Ballinger’s financial contribution to the event. Their creative methods of sourcing water through desalination and fog capture, sustainable modes of transit via magnet trains, and care for their citizens’ health through music therapy won the award. The innovative and environmentally-friendly design of the team’s city connected to the firm-sponsored award’s goal of “hope for the future”.

Celebrating National Mentoring Month

January is National Mentoring Month and we’re proud to continue our relationship with Spark in Philadelphia, a non-profit dedicated to helping middle school students achieve successful futures. Spark views the transition from young teens to young adults as an important time to show students what’s possible, especially since middle school is a time in which students risk academic disengagement. Spark in Philadelphia has created over 800 transformative mentorships since launching in 2013. The organization currently partners with 6 schools in Philadelphia and 18 corporate partners, including Ballinger.

Ballinger has supported Spark through donations and volunteerism since 2015, providing individual mentorships for over 25 students as well as hosting Spark Lab workshops for 20+ students each fall and participating in peer-to-peer fundraising. In 2018 Ballinger Associate Principal Sara Ridenour joined Spark’s Advisory Board and Ballinger designer Fränc Luu was recognized with Spark’s Veteran Mentor Award for his commitment to the program. In 2019 the Philadelphia Business Journal recognized Ballinger’s partnership with Spark in their annual Faces of Philanthropy round-up.

Ballinger’s employee-run community engagement group, B::Engaged, leads the mentorship efforts, in addition to organizing short and long term service projects.

Reflecting on a Year of B:ENGAGED

As 2019 comes to a close, we reflect on another successful year of B::Engaged. B::Engaged is a community engagement group at Ballinger that connects with and impacts Greater Philadelphia through long-term commitments and short-term volunteer work. Thank you to our staff members for their dedication and willingness to serve our community, our firm leaders for their support of B::Engaged, and our community partners for welcoming us and providing opportunities to give back. We look forward to a great 2020!

Ballinger Celebrates Giving Tuesday

Since 2012, Ballinger has been a Corporate Champion of the Community Design Collaborative, a local organization that provides pro bono preliminary design services to nonprofit organizations in greater Philadelphia, creates engaging volunteer opportunities for design professionals, and raises awareness about the importance of design in revitalizing communities.

“We feel a community responsibility to Philadelphia,” says Ballinger Senior Principal Terry D. Steelman, FAIA, LEED AP. In addition to financial support of the Collaborative, Terry has been a strong advocate for the organization, in part for the opportunities it affords volunteers to try out new roles and hone their leadership skills. “In practice, when designers are driven by deadlines and budgets, it’s quite easy to get lost in the daily process. Working with the Community Design Collaborative gives people an opportunity to take leadership roles and grow – and both the Collaborative and community benefit.”

Over 30 Ballinger staff members have volunteered with the Collaborative, on projects ranging from reinvigorating dark intersections beneath a rail viaduct, to expanding a jazz venue, to re-imagining a 1960’s Airstream trailer for community health outreach. Each project was funded by a Community Design Collaborative grant and engaged community stakeholders in the conceptual design process.

This Giving Tuesday Ballinger is proud to continue our support of the Community Design Collaborative and the many organizations that benefit from its work.

Historic Preservation in Philadelphia Just Got a Bit Easier
Linode

Linode Headquarters

This past Wednesday Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed into law three bills that would add incentives to protect the city’s historic buildings, as part of his effort to improve and expand preservation efforts across the city. Ballinger’s Director of Historic Preservation and Adaptive Reuse, Fon S. Wang, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is a part of the Mayor’s Task Force on Historic Preservation, the group responsible for developing and executing this legislation.

Historic preservation and adaptive reuse are not only financially and environmentally friendly practices to Philadelphia communities, but they help to maintain the historic culture of the city. Legislation like this encourages reuse for historically designated structures ensuring that their                                                                                                         beauty, history, culture, and stories can be carried on as part of the city for                                                                                                         years to come.

As a Philadelphia-based firm that does a variety of historic preservation and adaptive reuse work, as well as advocating for effective and proper preservation of historic properties in the region, we are proud to see Philadelphia’s mayor prioritize these processes in law.

Link to article in the Philadelphia Inquirer

 

Good Food for a Good Cause

Members of B::Engaged, Ballinger’s employee community outreach group, volunteered time last evening to guest-chef at the Chestnut Street Ronald McDonald House in Center City Philadelphia. The organization is dedicated to supporting the families of children experiencing illness by fostering communities of comfort and hope.

At the event, our employee volunteers worked hands-on preparing dinner for families of the Ronald McDonald house by making tacos, hoping to bring joy and a sense of community to the evenings of these families.

Link to the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House resource page

Trauma-Informed Design Solutions for Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services

Serving over twenty thousand Philadelphia residents each year, Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services (OHS) is a robust resource to the community. Ballinger was selected to develop conceptual design guidelines to create a more empathetic, trauma-informed OHS intake experience. Intake centers are the first point of contact for families and individuals seeking assistance. From there they can access a variety of  homelessness prevention, diversion, and intake services based on their immediate needs.

The primary goals of the project are to foster a trauma-informed service experience and to promote consistency and efficiency in future renovations of OHS facilities.  Ballinger’s design process included participating in user-group meetings and analyzing data from the Philadelphia Office of Open Data and Digital Transformation (ODDT), activities that align with the City’s “person-centered service framework.”

In collaboration with OHS, the Ballinger team developed guidelines for creating a cohesive environment for the City’s homeless prevention, diversion, and intake services, designed to improve visitor wellbeing, encourage engagement with the OHS system, and prevent re-traumatization. The design effort focused on the Appletree Family Center in downtown Philadelphia, which will serve as a prototype for future intake center renovations.

Built on the tenets of transparency, collaboration and empowerment, the conceptual design guidelines promote a safe and calming environment that also addresses wellness and respite for staff. A palette inspired by the hospitality industry features durable materials, natural textures and muted colors. Ballinger Associate Principal Sara Ridenour, AIA, LEED AP emphasized the impact of the physical environment on our behaviors, “As architects and designers, we recognize that the spaces we occupy influence our attitude and mood. By prioritizing openness, clear wayfinding, and transparency, the design reduces stress and helps participants prepare for each step of the intake process.”

The project was initiated by the PHL Participatory Design Lab, a multidisciplinary and cross-agency team of service designers, policy-makers, and a social scientist. The Lab uses participatory design and evidence-based methods, like service design and social science, to improve City service delivery for and with residents, service partners, City staff, and leadership. The Lab was funded by a Knight Cities Challenge (KCC) award from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and is administered by The Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia.

Read more about how Philadelphia is creating trauma-informed service experiences 

Mentoring Matters

Since 2014 Ballinger has mentored local middle school students in partnership with Spark, a national organization dedicated to helping young people understand, experience, and pursue what’s possible for their futures.

Each April, Spark holds a fundraising campaign dubbed “Mentoring Matters.” The goal is for mentors to spread the word about why mentoring matters and why all young people deserve access to the people and places that inspire a successful future.

This year Ballinger volunteer mentors designed creative fundraisers that not only support Spark, but also promote creativity and spur new connections throughout the practice. Staff members and Spark students were invited to submit 5in x 5in “napkin sketches” for a mini-exhibition and silent auction in the studio. Staff gathered for a lunchtime “Chili Showdown” where chefs battled for the first annual Ballinger Chili Showdown trophy, with proceeds going to Spark.

As a practice, we’re proud to provide opportunities for staff members to lend their skills to enriching the built and social fabric of our community.

Ballinger Principal to Mentor Women in Engineering and Architecture

Ballinger’s Angela M. Fante, PE, SECB, LEED AP will participate in a speed mentoring event organized by AIA Philadelphia’s Women in Architecture (WIA) and the Delaware Valley Association of Structural Engineers Women In Structural Engineering (DVASE WiSE).  The annual event is an opportunity for quick information exchange in small group settings, focused on goals and professional challenges. Participants rapidly build professional networks and share successful ways to excel in the design profession. This year’s event will be held at Philadelphia’s Center for Architecture and Design on Wednesday, April 10.

As a Principal and Ballinger’s Chief Structural Engineer, Angie has been an integral team member on several significant building projects, while also leading Ballinger’s structural engineering department and consistently raising standards for Ballinger’s construction documents. “I was very fortunate to have had strong mentors during my early years in the profession.  Had it not been for their patience and guidance, I may not still be a practicing engineer!  It’s important for the next generation of architects and engineers to engage with those who have successfully emerged on the other side of those challenging first few years,” Angie said.

Ballinger Associate Principal and Director of Project Management, Erin Nunes Cooper, AIA, LEED AP, was a mentor at the 2018 event. She described the experience as “a wonderful opportunity to connect with many exceptional women in the profession, all learning from each other.”

Link to register

Ballinger supports the Community Design Collaborative’s annual Leverage fundraiser

The Community Design Collaborative hosted their annual fundraiser, Leverage, at the University of the Arts’ Hamilton Hall in Center City, Philadelphia. The program included remarks by Ballinger Principal Terry D. Steelman, FAIA and the Collaborative’s Executive Director, Elizabeth Miller.

Collaborative Board of Director Co-Chairs Richard Winston and Daryn Edwards presented the Leverage award to Connor Barwin, NFL player and founder of Make the World Better Foundation (MTWB).  The Leverage Award recognizes local leaders for their commitment to strengthening neighborhoods through design.

Barwin described how the Collaborative’s work helped MTWB reclaim Waterloo Playground in West Kensington, Philadelphia. “One of the reasons we are at Waterloo is the Community Design Collaborative. The Collaborative’s initial drawings and renderings are so important to inspiring people in our neighborhoods to see what’s possible and to believe that they can do it… and to inspiring organizations like Make The World Better to get involved.”

Proceeds from Leverage 2019 will help the Collaborative provide preliminary design services to local nonprofits, which use design to engage their communities and strengthen their neighborhoods.

Ballinger is a corporate champion sponsor of the Collaborative and over 30 staff members have volunteered time on Collaborative projects. Past Leverage Award recipients include Ballinger’s Terry Steelman, FAIA; president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, Stephen K. Klasko, MD; and president and CEO of the Center City District, Paul Levy.

Ballinger’s Partnership with Spark Recognized by Philadelphia Business Journal

In recognition of our sustained investment in the work of Spark Philadelphia, Ballinger was selected as one of Philadelphia’s Faces of Philanthropy by the Philadelphia Business Journal. Ballinger Associate Principal Sara Ridenour, AIA, LEED BD+C and Spark Executive Director Deirdre Hake will accept the award at an event on April 11 at the Crystal Tea Room.

Spark is a national non-profit dedicated to helping middle school students achieve successful futures. Spark views the transition from young teens to young adults as an important time to show students what’s possible, especially since middle school is the time in which students risk academic disengagement. Spark Philadelphia has created over 400 transformative mentorships since launching in 2013 as Spark’s first east coast site. Spark Philadelphia currently partners with 4 underserved schools in Philadelphia and 18 company partners, including Ballinger.

Ballinger has supported Spark through donations and volunteerism since 2015, mentoring over 25 students and participating in peer-to-peer fundraising. In 2018 Sara Ridenour joined Spark’s Advisory Board and Ballinger’s Fränc Luu was recognized with Spark’s Veteran Mentor Award for his commitment to the program.

The Faces of Philanthropy award is an endorsement of B::Engaged, Ballinger’s employee-run community service initiative founded in 2015. With a focus on design, B::Engaged is an opportunity for staff members to lend their skills to the surrounding community and gain a broader perspective. The group brings together various volunteer efforts throughout the office, and provides a home for staff members interested in enriching the built and social fabric of our community.

Ballinger supports engineers of the future

Ballinger was a sponsor of the annual Philadelphia Region Future City Competition, an educational engineering program for middle-school students to imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future. Using the engineering design process as a framework, students develop a virtual city with SimCity, write an essay, build a scale model, and deliver a presentation.

Part of a national initiative to engage students in STEM, the Philadelphia program culminates in a live event judged by professional engineers. Over 100 volunteers gathered at Archbishop Carroll High School in Radnor for the competition on January 19, including a group from Ballinger. Throughout the day, budding engineers in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades presented their cities to judges. Radnor Middle School was the proud recipient of the “Walter Ballinger Hope for the Future Award,” made possible by Ballinger’s financial contribution to the event.

The Philadelphia competition is one of 39 regional programs around the country, and draws students from Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley, Southern New Jersey and Delaware. Future City is an educational outreach program of DiscoveryE, whose mission is to sustain and grow a dynamic engineering profession through outreach, education, celebration, and volunteerism.

Ballinger’s Michael Radio leads formation of scholarship fund

As current president of the Philadelphia chapter of ASHRAE, Ballinger senior associate Michael Radio, PE, CEM, BEMP, LEED AP led the formation of a scholarship fund intended to encourage female college students to pursue studies in engineering. The ASHRAE Philadelphia Debra H. Kennoy Scholarship Fund will be awarded to a full time student in the Philadelphia area interested in a profession in the heating, refrigerating and air conditioning industry. “Debra’s work in the refrigeration market was transformational in fighting global warming.  We are honored that ASHRAE Philadelphia can help fulfill her desire to promote engineering careers among women,” said Michael.

ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, is a global society advancing human well-being through sustainable technology for the built environment. Members focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability within the industry. Several Ballinger staff members serve on the board of governors and ASHRAE Philadelphia committees.

Ballinger leads ASHRAE Government Outreach Day

Ballinger design engineer Anthony Scaccia organized and led a “Day on the Hill” in New Jersey to raise awareness about sustainability. Members of ASHRAE New Jersey, Philadelphia and Long Island spoke to senators, assembly-persons, and their staff about ASHRAE building codes, services and the group’s core mission of promoting a sustainable world. Anthony is Government Affairs Committee Chair of ASHRAE Philadelphia. ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is a global society with the aim of advancing human well-being through sustainable technology for the built environment.

Ballinger Supports the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

As a member of Team Hope, Ballinger raised over $20,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) during our 2018 Spring Fling fundraiser. The mission of the LLS is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. The organization has invested more than $1.2 billion in research to advance cures.

Ballinger’s Spring Fling included a presentation by medical oncologist, Dr. Margaret Kasner; a silent auction comprised of items donated by employees, vendors and neighborhood businesses, an evening gathering for staff, friends and family at nearby Independence Mall Café, and a fundraising competition that encouraged interdisciplinary collaboration. The firm’s principals generously volunteered to participate in an “ice bucket challenge” to raise money for the cause.

In total, the 2018 LLS Philadelphia Man and Woman of the Year campaign raised $652,516. We’re proud to be part of Team Hope and honored to create buildings that foster discoveries. Our contributions to the LLS continue our commitment to life-saving research.

Ballinger supports the Community Design Collaborative’s annual Leverage fundraiser

The Community Design Collaborative hosted their annual fundraiser, Leverage, at the University of the Arts’ Hamilton Hall in Center City, Philadelphia. The program included remarks by Ballinger principal Eric Swanson, AIA; the Collaborative’s executive director, Elizabeth Miller; and president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, Stephen K. Klasko, MD.

Dr. Klasko was presented with the 2018 Leverage Award, which recognizes local leaders for their commitment to strengthening neighborhoods through design. During his remarks he described the importance of design thinking in improving healthcare, and announced CoLab Philadelphia, an initiative to convert an Airstream trailer into a mobile community health outreach platform. Ballinger is proud to be among the firms volunteering professional services to this unique collaboration.

Ballinger is a corporate champion sponsor of the Collaborative and over 30 staff members have volunteered time on Collaborative projects. Past Leverage Award recipients include Ballinger’s Terry Steelman, FAIA and Paul Levy, president and CEO of the Center City District.

Celebrating Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month and this year’s theme is “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business.” To close out the month, we asked Ballinger staff members to share advice and their perspectives as women in architecture, engineering and interior design. We’ll be sharing more thoughts from the remarkable women of Ballinger throughout the year.

Ballinger volunteers join the Philadelphia Future City Competition to sponsor creativity and engineering among local middle-school students

Ballinger participated in the annual Philadelphia Future City Competition, an educational engineering program for middle-school students to imagine, research, design, and build the cities of the future.

Over 100 volunteers from various institutions — Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Penn Medicine, and the University of Pennsylvania among them — gathered at Archbishop Carroll High School in Radnor for the final competition on February 20th. Throughout the day, budding engineers in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades presented their detailed dioramas of future cities to judges — including Christopher Bratz, Christine Larsen, and Aaron Harrington of Ballinger.

The Future City Competition is part of a countrywide network of programs created to introduce young students to the engineering profession. An all-girl team from Great Valley Middle School’s 10th grade class was the proud recipient of the “Walter Ballinger Hope for the Future Award,” made possible by Ballinger’s financial contribution to the event.

DesignPhiladelphia Tour of CHOP Roberts Center

Ballinger and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia hosted a guided public tour of CHOP’s recently opened Roberts Center for Pediatric Research. The tour was part of the 2017 DesignPhiladelphia Festival, the signature event of the Philadelphia Center for Architecture, and the oldest design event of its kind in the country. The annual festival showcases the work of practicing architects, designers, and creative professionals.

The tour was led by Ballinger architects: Principal Terry D. Steelman, FAIA, Associate Principal Dean R. Johnson, AIA, and Senior Associate Bill Andes, AIA. The program included a lecture by Terry, who presented the project team and design intent, followed by a tour of the site, showcasing the public elements of the design, and then a visit to two upper floors. Guests visited an empty shelled floor followed by a completed floor, a sequence that provided insight into the planning of the flexible workspaces.

DesignPhiladelphia

The 30 guests who attended were invited to a reception in the cafe following the tour.

Ballinger is proud to participate in DesignPhiladelphia and contribute to Philadelphia’s identity as a hub for creative activity.

 

B::Engaged Build Day with Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia

Last weekend, 20 Ballinger volunteers took part in a build day with Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia, an organization whose mission is to transform the city and the lives of its people by building and repairing homes for families in need.

Ballinger Principal, Eric Swanson, celebrated a successful day saying, “It was an honor to work with Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia and be a part of their long history of good work for affordable housing.  I was proud to see the energy and enthusiasm that the Ballinger team brought to this day.”

The event was organized by Ballinger’s B::Engaged community engagement group. With a focus on design, B::Engaged is an opportunity for staff members to volunteer their skills to the surrounding community and gain a broader perspective while enriching the built and social fabric of Philadelphia.

Jake Shoemaker, Ballinger architect and B::Engaged volunteer said, “Working with Habitat for Humanity was a rewarding event that allowed us to give back directly to the Philadelphia community. This was a very positive experience, and the hard work turned out to be a great team building activity for my Ballinger colleagues. I’m hopeful that this will lead to more community outreach in the future, building upon everything that B::Engaged has already done.”

 

CREW Tours CHOP Roberts Center for Pediatric Research

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Ballinger presented a tour of the new Roberts Center for Pediatric Research for the Philadelphia chapter of CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women). Ballinger Principal Terry S. Steelman, FAIA addressed the group, providing context on the tower’s site and design. He then took attendees on a tour of the site, highlighting the landscaped public space around the building and the location of future building phases.

The tour included a shelled floor and a completed floor, equipped with flexible workstations and collaborative space.

CREW

CHOP’s Douglas Carney, AIA, MBA, LEED AP, Senior Vice President for Facilities, Design, Construction and Real Estate, described how Ballinger helped CHOP develop new space standards and how users are reacting to them.

CREW member and Vice President of Clemens Construction Company, Carol Horne Penn, remarked “The opportunity to understand the design intent and goals for the building, the site and its integration into the community, was very informative.  It’s these types of opportunities that allow our membership to grow in their understanding of the work of various contributors to the built environment.”

 

Ballinger Sparks Inspiration at Discovery Night

Ballinger designers Margaret Nersten and Fränc Luu participated in Spark Philadelphia’s Discovery Night, an annual event celebrating the results of Spark mentorships.

Spark is a national mentorship program with the mission of inspiring 7th, 8th and 9th graders in underserved communities to succeed in high school and beyond. Each Spark student is paired with a mentor in a career field of interest. Together, the student and mentor develop a project. Discovery Night is a chance for Spark students to present their final projects to their parents, mentors, teachers, and community.

This year’s program, held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, included a keynote address by Philadelphia Councilman Allan Domb and a presentation by Ballinger’s Margaret Nersten, who shared her positive experience with the program.

“Exposing students to a context they’re not familiar with shows them that new opportunities are exciting. I love teaching students what happens when you work hard and focus on the things you love to do,” Margaret said.

Ballinger has partnered with Spark since 2014, inviting students to experience our workplace and work side-by-side with architecture and engineering professionals.

Pennovation Center Achieves LEED Gold

Pennovation Center, a groundbreaking incubator space developed by the University of Pennsylvania, was certified LEED Gold by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Ballinger served as structural and MEP engineer of record for the project.  Working hand-in-hand with design architect HWKN and architect-of-record KSS, Ballinger engineers helped transform a former DuPoint paint testing facility into the centerpiece of Pennovation Works, Penn’s innovation district.

View of room at PennovationThe design of the energy systems is high performance, but with a start-up developer’s sensibility.  A rooftop Dedicated Outdoor Air System (DOAS) unit with dual energy recovery wheels delivers dehumidified neutral air (63 degrees Fahrenheit) for ventilation of wet lab, dry lab and office work space without requiring any reheat.  Cooling is provided via Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) units in each space, and heating is via perimeter radiation powered by a prefabricated condensing boiler plant on the roof. According to Ballinger Principal Jonathan Friedan, PE, LEED AP, “The system minimizes pre-investment – VRF units can be added as needed.  It is also extremely flexible and able to accommodate a wide range of space uses without costly system modification or additions.” Sustainability and flexibility align with the project goal: to create an atmosphere for collaboration and creativity, with a “cool factor” to attract innovators from diverse disciplines.

Evaluating the Benefits of Decentralized Stations Beyond Patient Visibility

Ballinger recently conducted a post-occupancy evaluation to assess how effective the inclusion of decentralized caregiver stations are toward improving staff and patient experience in the medical/surgical inpatient environment.

The research team focused on the Ballinger-designed Lasko Tower at Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital that was completed in 2015 and utilized data and survey results to compare the new floors, each featuring decentralized caregiver stations to existing units which previously accommodated the same patient populations and were built with a single caregiver station and no decentralized stations.  By controlling for patient populations and consistent staff, the study focused on the physical environment. Its results support a strong case for the use of decentralized stations with benefits extending beyond patient visibility.

This research was published by the AIA AAH Academy Journal in an article written by Ballinger principal Louis A. Meilink, Jr. AIA, ACHA, ACHE and senior associate Christina Grimes, AIA, LEED BD+C, EDAC entitled “The decentralized station: More than just patient visibility”.

Link to Article

Philadelphia’s Community Design Collaborative Recognizes B::Engaged

“People need to look at philanthropic energies in two ways. Often they see how they are giving back, but firm leaders in particular need to appreciate that they get something in return. Their staff gets enlightenment and fulfillment that breeds esprit de corps. Leadership through philanthropic engagement strengthens interpersonal skills, decision-making, and growth. And the community as a whole benefits.” Terry D. Steelman, FAIA, LEED AP, Principal, outlined the far-reaching benefits of Ballinger’s volunteer efforts, in an interview with the Community Design Collaborative. The Collaborative profiled B::Engaged, Ballinger’s community engagement group, in a recent post.

B::Engaged connects with and impacts the Philadelphia community through long-term commitments and short-term volunteer work. With a focus on design, B::Engaged is an opportunity for staff members to lend their skills to the surrounding community and gain a broader perspective while enriching the built and social fabric of our surroundings.

B::Engaged members participated in the recent Community Design Collaborative project, Making Connections: Conceptual Design for Under the Viaduct. Residents of a North Central Philadelphia neighborhood were reluctant to walk through dark, underutilized underpasses of a rail viaduct. The purpose of the project was to reimagine the underpasses as connectors, linking neighbors and amenities. The volunteer design team met with community groups and conducted research to develop design solutions to improve three underpasses.  The resulting report was used to generate funding to implement the improvements.

The Community Design Collaborative’s model is to provide pro bono preliminary design services to nonprofit organizations in greater Philadelphia, creating engaging volunteer opportunities for design professionals, and raising awareness about the importance of design in revitalizing communities. Since 1991 they’ve matched communities with volunteer design professionals, to put their visions down on paper and advance to the next stage: gaining support, raising funds, and building projects.

To read the Community Design Collaborative’s profile, click here.

Ballinger Volunteers with Community Design Collaborative to Make Connections Across North Central

How do you transform a barrier into a connector? That was the challenge presented by the Community Design Collaborative’s Viaduct Project. Ballinger volunteers, along with a variety of design professionals, accepted the challenge and developed “Making Connections: Conceptual Design for Under the Viaduct.”

The effort included community meetings, over 300 surveys, and an ongoing dialog with the neighborhood. The resulting report included three distinct design solutions for three underpasses. The designs—inspired by the themes of “stream”, “beacon”, and “porch”—draw upon neighborhood history and landscape.

The report, which includes a site analysis and preliminary budget estimate, is being used to generate funding to implement the improvements.

The Community Design Collaborative’s model is to provide pro bono preliminary design services to nonprofit organizations in greater Philadelphia, creating engaging volunteer opportunities for design professionals, and raising awareness about the importance of design in revitalizing communities. Since 1991 they’ve matched communities with volunteer design professionals, to put their visions down on paper and advance to the next stage: gaining support, raising funds, and building projects.

Read more here.

B::Engaged Mentorship Programs

Ballinger’s community engagement group, B::Engaged, is kicking off another year of mentorship programs. Thank you to the Ballinger volunteers who have contributed their time and to our community partner, Spark Philadelphia.

Spark, a national nonprofit, offers a unique program that re-engages middle school students in their education through hands-on apprenticeships and a Leadership Curriculum.

Ballinger also participates in Drexel University’s Co-op Program, in which sophomore and junior students from the College of Engineering work side-by-side with Ballinger engineers.

Learn more about Ballinger’s commitment to engaging and contributing to our community through mentorship here.

Ballinger Supports the 2016 Philadelphia Heart Walk

Ballinger is taking part in the 2016 Philadelphia Heart Walk. The walk is organized by the American Heart Association, the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. Ballinger’s community engagement group, B::Engaged, has organized seven teams of walkers to join the15,000 participants expected November 5th. The walk kicks off at Citizens Bank Park and includes a three-mile route followed by a wellness festival.

Ballinger’s B::Engaged is a community engagement group that connects with and impacts the Philadelphia community through long-term commitments and short-term volunteer work. With a focus on design, B::Engaged is an opportunity for staff members to lend their skills to the surrounding community and gain a broader perspective while enriching the built and social fabric of their surroundings.

Philadelphia World Heritage Day

Today Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced Philadelphia’s First Annual World Heritage Day and raised the flag of the Organization of World Heritage Cities. Following a two-year campaign by the Global Philadelphia Association (GPA), Philadelphia was designated the nation’s first and only UNESCO World Heritage City. Ballinger is a sponsoring member of the Global Philadelphia Association. The group’s mission is to promote the Philadelphia region internationally and develop international consciousness within the region.

http://worldheritagephl.org

Ballinger Builds Canstruction Sculpture to Benefit Philabundance

Ballinger participated in Canstruction, a charity competition that unites the design, engineering and construction industries to feed the hungry. Since its founding in 1992, Canstruction has become one of the largest and most consistent canned food contributors to food banks in the world.

Canstruction Philadelphia, now in its 10th year, took place in conjunction with the 2016 National AIA Convention. Participating firms created sculptures from canned food which were displayed in the Shops at Liberty Place during the Convention.  Ballinger’s entry was an infographic about this year’s theme: “DECADES: CANstruction Philadelphia’s 10th CANniversary.”

Ballinger’s employee-run community engagement group, B::Engaged, led the effort. With a focus on design, B::Engaged is an opportunity for staff members to lend their skills to the community and gain a broader perspective while enriching the built and social fabric of their surroundings.

Ballinger Celebrates National Mentoring Month

This January marks the 15th annual National Mentoring Month, and Ballinger is continuing its support of mentorship programs including Spark and Philadelphia’s Charter High School of Architecture and Design (CHAD).

Spark, a national nonprofit, was conceived to re-engage middle school students in their education through workplace-based apprenticeships. Underserved 7th and 8th graders interested in architecture are invited to Ballinger to work with professional architects, designers and engineers. Spark’s parallel in-school curriculum reinforces the link between classrooms and careers while helping students build skills necessary for success in high school and beyond.

Ballinger also partners with CHAD, which was founded in 1999 by the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA and is the first charter high school for architecture and design in the US. The school’s innovative program integrates the design process with a strong liberal arts education.

This month Ballinger recognizes the employees who dedicate their time to mentorship programs, including:

Gurveer Bhuta
Ryan Debski
Charlotte DiGiorgio
Kamille Ditcher
Rayma Garcia
Jeff Harper
Helen Joo
Cory Klawunn
David Lee
Stacey Lindbloom
Kate Lyons
Franc Luu
Margaret Nersten
Emily Perotta
Anthony Prousi
Sara Ridenour
Katie Seftas
Jake Shoemaker
Terry Steelman
Lindsey Walker

Ballinger’s employee-run community engagement group, B::Engaged, leads the mentorship efforts, in addition to organizing short and long term service projects.

High School Students Visit Ballinger for National Mentoring Month

Continuing its support of National Mentoring Month, Ballinger invited high school students for a presentation and tour of our office. Students from the Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square visited Ballinger January 12, as part of JTerm, a two-week interdisciplinary program during which upper school students focus on one subject through intensive, experiential on- and off-campus study. Principal Eric Swanson gave a talk about A/E careers and staff members met with small groups of students to explain their roles.