SteelStacks Arts and Cultural Campus in Bethlehem and the Amanda E. Stoudt Elementary School & Benners Court in Reading were both named as winners in the Urban Land Institute Philadelphia’s Inaugural Willard G. “Bill” Rouse Awards for Excellence.
Originally 57 projects in Eastern and Central Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware were nominated. Those were narrowed down to 28 finalists, and nine winners were announced at the Excellence Awards in Philadelphia June 18.
According to ULI Philadelphia, SteelStacks, which is a collaborative effort by ArtsQuest, the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Bethlehem, and PBS 39 was a “truly remarkable and creative adaptive reuse”
ArtsQuest transformed the old Bethlehem Steel plant into a state-of-the-art cultural center that “preserves the history of steelmaking while providing open space for events and setting a new course for the city.”
Masterplanning was conducted by Kostow GreenWood Architects; site planning by Wallace Roberts & Todd; architecture and landscape architecture by Artefact, Spillman Farmer Architects, URS Corp., USA Architects, and Wallace Roberts & Todd; lighting by L’Observatoire International and Speirs Major.
Jeff Parks, president of ArtsQuest accepted the award.
“SteelStacks is a shining example of the incredible results that can happen when the community comes together for a common good, in this case revitalizing an old, abandoned steel mill,” said Bethlehem Mayor Robert Donchez. “Less than a decade ago, this site was a former industrial plant in major disrepair. Today, it’s a popular arts and entertainment district and tourist destination that is receiving national attention and has attracted people from more than 40 states.
The Reading School District was cited by the jurors for having a “sophisticated community project that pioneered educational concepts and involved students in the construction process — an unusual public project that was completed on time and under budget without the school needing to close during reconstruction.“
The project involved Kautter & Kelly Architects; MEP by Barton Associates; structural engineering by Multani Associates; civil and environmental engineering by SSM Group; general contractor Lobar; site contractor Empire Services.
Architect Michael Kautter accepted the award.
The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit education and research institute whose mission is to provide responsible leadership in the use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.
The awards are named for the late-business and civic leader Bill Rouse, one of the founders of ULI Philadelphia and a past trustee of the Urban Land Institute. Rouse created and led Liberty Property Trust and its predecessor Rouse & Associates.