About the Center for Architecture

Photo © Bob Graham, Jr.
About the Center for Architecture

About the Center for Architecture

Founded in 2003 by the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Center's mission is to educate the public about architecture, urban planning, and design and to explore how these disciplines affect us in our everyday lives. Using Philadelphia's unique breadth of world-class architecture, revolutionary urban design, and manufacturing heritage as the foundation for discussion, we engage the public through walking tours, exhibitions, talks, workshops, competitions, festivals, and children’s programming.

The Center's signature annual event, DesignPhiladelphia, is the oldest design festival of its kind in the country. DesignPhiladelphia showcases the work of thousands of practicing architects, designers, and creative professionals and demonstrates Philadelphia’s reemergence as a 21st century city shaped by design, technology, and collaborative business practices.

In 2008, the Center purchased a new home on the ground floor of the historic Young Smyth Field building at 1218 Arch Street, across from the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The contemporary industrial loft space features public assembly space, meeting rooms, offices, and a gallery with a rotating schedule of exhibitions relevant to design professionals and accessible to the public. The facilities are available to rent for meetings and celebrations.

The Center brings together architects, designers, and the public under one roof and also serves as the physical home of AIA Philadelphia, the Community Design Collaborative, and the AIA Bookstore. It is open to visitors seven days a week.

Our Vision

The Center for Architecture promotes, supports, and demonstrates the ability that architecture and design have to generate innovation, solve problems, enhance daily life, and influence both the perception and the economics of the greater Philadelphia region. Through public engagement, education, and professional/public/private collaboration, the Center consolidates the city's design culture bringing together architects, educators, established manufacturers, civic leaders, creative entrepreneurs, and retailers to build a 21st century city shaped by design, technology, and business.


Capital Contributers

These visionary organizations generously supported the Center's original Capital Campaign - without them the Center would have remained a blueprint of an idea: