Theresa Hyuna Hwang to be Honored at the Edmund N. Bacon Urban Design Awards

The Center for Architecture and Design (Center) will host a talk by architect and founder of Department of Beloved Places, Theresa Hyuna Hwang, the 2023 recipient of the Edmund N. Bacon Urban Design Award. Ms. Hwang was selected based on her unwavering ability to create a space for fair and community-driven design services. Her dedication to equitable cultural and community development was the primary reason for her selection and is especially timely as that ties in with the topic of the 2023 Edmund N. Bacon Student Design Competition — an international urban design challenge for university students — to redesign a more equitable Chinatown while preserving its cultural importance and buildings within the neighborhood and surrounding areas. Ms. Hwang and the student competition winners will present and be recognized at a ceremony at 1218 Arch Street on March 14, 2023. Reception is from 5:30-6:30 pm, and the ceremony will begin at 6:45 pm. Registration is required.

Theresa Hyuna Hwang (she/her) is a community-engaged architect, educator, and facilitator. She has spent over 15 years focused on equitable cultural and community development across the United States. Ms. Hwang holds spaces of mindful dialogue to address collective neighborhood-based trauma and co-design radical solutions based on first-hand experiences, centering folx who are most impacted.

Ms. Hwang was the former Director of Community Design and Planning at the Skid Row Housing Trust, a non-profit supportive housing organization where she was the Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow from 2009-2012. She received her Master of Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design (2007) and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and Art History from Johns Hopkins University (2001). She is a licensed architect in California, and her firm, Department of Beloved Places, is a participatory architecture practice based on occupied Tongva Land in Los Angeles, CA.

As mentioned previously, the 2023 Edmund N. Bacon Student Competition focuses on unifying Chinatown with an eye on preserving its cultural fabric. Each student team was asked to prepare a submission that highlights the perceived issues and proposes solutions to address the potential roadblocks while taking into account two important questions:

  1. How can low-income and limited English proficiency (LEP) communities’ voices and needs be centered and prioritized in the development of Chinatown and Chinatown North?
  2. How can the open space (parking lots, sidewalks, streets, and existing parks) be leveraged to facilitate equitable development, new development, and neighborhood preservation (both appropriate cultural and building preservation)?

The jury for the competition — John Chin, executive director of Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, Bob McConnell, AIA, President of EwingCole, and Beige Berryman, AICP, of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission — selected three teams as finalists in the competition.

Equitable Paradise

School: University of Pennsylvania, Stuart Weitzman School of Design

Team Members: Qianyun Wei, Sihang Xu, Marcus Owens 

A series of meandering gardens, pedestrian walkways, community spaces, and mixed-use development with permanent affordable housing creates a Chinatown that harkens to the fabled peach garden colonies and symbolizes futility, growth, and long life.

Chinatown Inquirer

School: Leeds Beckett University

Team Members: Paige Jones, Adrew Stanway, Grace Ajibola, Vrutika Gohill 

Six Philadelphia Inquirer stories highlighting negative impact on Chinatown residents are used as the catalyst for change including a community skills workshop that would allow Chinatown residents to design and build new architecture in the neighborhood.

Asian Cultural Corridor

School: University of Pennsylvania, Stuart Weitzman School of Design

Team Members: Shuting Li, Hongyi Li, Jingyi Cai 

Taking cues from Asian culture where streets are the cornerstone for community activity, 8th Street becomes the main commercial corridor through Chinatown and lunar festivals are the catalyst for placemaking throughout the neighborhood.

The Urban Design Awards honor the legacy of Edmund N. Bacon [1910-2005], Philadelphia's ambitious and outspoken City Planner and one of the most significant city planners of the 20th century. As the first Executive Director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission from 1949-1970, his design concepts shaped the post-World War II city's physical landscape. Bacon's work had such national significance that he was featured on Time magazine's cover in 1964 and brought Philadelphia into the national spotlight as a city that was ambitiously planning for its future. Past awardees include:

  • Toni L. Griffin, urban designer and Professor of Urban Planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design
  • Dr. Mindy Fullilove, Psychologist and Professor at the New School
  • Denise Scott Brown, Founder + Principal of Venturi Scott Brown Associates
  • Ed Rendell, former Mayor of Philadelphia and Governor of Pennsylvania
  • Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation
  • Paul Goldberger, former Architecture Critic for the New Yorker Magazine
  • Janette Sadik-Kahn, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation
  • Enrique Peñalosa, Mayor of Bogotá, Columbia
  • John Hickenlooper, Governor of Colorado


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