Articles Tagged with: Philadelphia

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 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


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 

From Light-Filled Factories to Light-Filled Offices

Ballinger is one of the oldest continuously practicing architecture and engineering firms in the United States. Founded in Philadelphia in 1878, the history of the practice is intertwined with the history of the city. Ballinger first gained a reputation as an innovator in the 1920s with its design of a superspan, sawtooth roof. By allowing natural light to penetrate, the roof led to increased production and interior mobility at many industrial plants built during that era.

One of the firm’s significant clients at that time was the Budd Company. Ballinger was the architect of the Budd Red Lion manufacturing plant in North Philadelphia. A Philadelphia icon, the plant was the birthplace of the stainless steel train and steel-framed automobile body.

Decades later, Ballinger returned to the site to design corporate offices for the Temple University Health System. The space evokes the stability of the industrial revolution-era architecture but re-focuses attention to the future through the overlay of bold interior design. The adaptive reuse project includes a 4-story office building connected to a one-story employee gathering and collaboration space with conference center and cafeteria. A focus of the space planning effort was to create an open office environment with direct access to natural light by placing enclosed offices to one side of the building. The boardroom space takes advantage of additional rooftop clerestory monitors to maximize natural light.

Read more about the riveting history of the Budd Company here.

Ballinger featured in Philadelphia Magazine article on businesses committed to Philadelphia

Ballinger’s roots are securely planted in Philadelphia, having been established here in 1878. We started out designing the factories and maker spaces of the industrial revolution, and now Ballinger is at the forefront of design for the knowledge revolution. Today, our firm focuses on designing next-generation academic science and healthcare facilities as well as corporate workspaces.

Ballinger Principal Terry D. Steelman along with top executives of Comcast, Aramark, The Vanguard Group and others were interviewed for the Philadelphia Magazine article “11 CEOs on Why They Keep Their Businesses Headquartered in Philly.”

Click for article

All of Ballinger’s 200+ employees work out of one location in Philadelphia – the beautifully converted top floor of 833 Chestnut Street that once was the original Gimbel’s department store. It’s a large open space conducive to our collaborative work style with good light, high ceilings, and sweeping views of Old City and crane-filled Center City. It allows Ballinger to fulfill our mission of being a truly integrated architecture/engineering firm.

3737 Science Center Wins ULI Award

3737 Science Center was one of seven winners of the Second Annual Willard G. “Bill” Rouse III Awards for Excellence, organized by Philadelphia’s Urban Land Institute. The Awards for Excellence recognize the best real estate projects completed within the last five years in Eastern and Central Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, and Delaware.

Ballinger provided MEP services for 3737 Science Center, located in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia. This $119 million, 13-story, 334,000 SF facility accommodates clinical, laboratory, research and office programs. Tenants include Penn Medicine and gene therapy startup Spark Therapeutics, as well as support for STEM/STEAM educational initiatives for low-income secondary school students.

ULI Philadelphia Blog