Articles Tagged with: Community Design Collaborative
Ballinger Recognized for Service to Community Design Collaborative

Ballinger’s Sarah Blitzer, RA and Christine Larsen were recently honored for their contributions to Philadelphia’s Community Design Collaborative, a local organization that provides pro bono preliminary design services to nonprofit organizations in greater Philadelphia.

The annual Community Design Collaborative Volunteer Awards highlight volunteers who showcase design excellence, ingenuity, and continued service and dedication to the organization. Sarah Blitzer, a Collaborative volunteer since 2017, contributed to a conceptual design for the Church of the Holy Trinity Rittenhouse Square Welcome and Resource Center. The project team was honored with the Outstanding Effort Award for making excellent design accessible, fostering volunteer-client collaboration, and generating community impact.  Christine Larsen, who has served on the Community Design Collaborative’s Board of Directors since 2019, was recognized with the Committee Leadership Award for extraordinary committee service.

Ballinger views social responsibility as crucial to the success of our firm and our city. We are proud to be a Corporate Champion of the Collaborative and have donated over 650 pro bono hours to improve equitable access to design.

Read more about the Volunteer Awards

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.

Pro Bono Work Featured in Context

The spring 2020 issue of Context, AIA Philadelphia’s quarterly publication, includes a profile of CoLab Philadelphia. Ballinger was part of a volunteer team organized by the Community Design Collaborative that converted an airstream trailer into a mobile healthcare outreach tool. Recently the trailer was used as a mobile COVID-19 testing site.

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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.

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 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.

Ballinger’s Partnership with the Community Design Collaborative Recognized by Philadelphia Business Journal

In recognition of our sustained investment in the work of the Community Design Collaborative, Ballinger was selected as one of Philadelphia’s Faces of Philanthropy by the Philadelphia Business Journal. Principal Eric Swanson, AIA accepted the award on behalf of Ballinger at an event on April 6 at the Ballroom at the Ben.

The Community Design Collaborative provides pro bono preliminary design services to nonprofit organizations in greater Philadelphia. Over 80 Ballinger employees have volunteered with the Collaborative over the years, and 14 employees are currently working on three projects. Ballinger Designer Bonnie Netel, who leads one of the projects said, “It’s been great to watch Ballinger’s participation gain momentum. Our work with the Collaborative is supported internally, and it’s horizontal; employees at every level contribute. Now that we have three ongoing Collaborative projects, we have the opportunity to exchange ideas between groups and create buzz around the office.”

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 to Receive Community Design Collaborative Leverage Award

The Community Design Collaborative will honor Ballinger with its 2017 Leverage Award on April 4th at Pennovation Center.

Beth Miller, executive director for the Collaborative, says, “We’re recognizing Ballinger for their enduring partnership with us and the great work they’re doing in Philadelphia. They’ve volunteered through us to help local nonprofits… and encouraged their staff to do everything from digging flower beds on Love Your Park Day to giving high school students hands-on experience with design.”

The Leverage Award recognizes local leaders for their commitment to strengthening neighborhoods through design. As the name suggests, it celebrates the leveraging of sought-after skills of architects and other design professionals to help Philadelphia nonprofits launch life-changing projects in their communities.

The Collaborative has matched Ballinger employees with six nonprofit-led community development ventures. They have already donated over 500 hours of pro bono architectural and engineering assistance that would have otherwise cost $45,000—with more projects in the works. The Collaborative/Ballinger partnership has been significant enough to gain recognition in the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Faces of Philanthropy, which honors strong for-profit/nonprofit partnerships throughout the region.

For example, Ballinger recently worked alongside residents to re-imagine several SEPTA viaduct underpasses as colorful, bright, art-filled spaces that reconnect residents in North Central Philadelphia. Using photos and sketches, they polled over 300 residents about their favorite ideas for the massive viaducts. The imagery behind their designs—porches, beacons, and streams—were drawn from conversations with the North Central community.

“The Collaborative creates a hub where neighborhoods and the design community can work together. It provides a connection to Philadelphia, to see what my community looks like, how people live, and how I participate in that. It’s a great opportunity,” says Ballinger Architectural Designer Bonnie Netel.

Ballinger Principal Terry Steelman will accept the Leverage Award on behalf of the firm at Leverage 2017. The event will be held at the LEED Gold Pennovation Center, for which Ballinger provided MEP and structural engineering. Leverage 2017 will bring over 300 supporters of community design to Pennovation Center, a blend of offices, labs, and production space housed in a former paint manufacturing plant. Like the Collaborative, Pennovation Center is preserving Philadelphia’s authentic, sometimes rough-around-the-edges buildings and spaces and giving them new roles that create jobs and strengthen communities.

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.

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