Philadelphia University Student Wins First Annual BLT Architects Student Interior Design Competition

Competitors built upon the winning architectural concept from the 2013 Design Sketch Competition

Philip Rivera

BLT Architects (BLTa), a Philadelphia-based architectural and interior design firm, announced today that Phillip Rivera from Philadelphia University is the winner of its 2014 Student Interior Design Competition.

The runner-up is Raymond Liu from City College of New York, and third place is Kaitlin Shenk from Philadelphia University.

The competition was open to students from the Mid-Atlantic region, which includes Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington D.C. For his efforts, Rivera was offered a paid summer 2014 internship at BLTa and a cash prize of $500.  Liu and Shenk received $300 and $200, respectively.

“Our hope with the Student Interior Design Competition was to give aspiring interior designers an opportunity to showcase their creativity on a challenging project,” said Michael Ytterberg, Ph.D., a principal at BLTa and one of the competition judges.  “Choosing one winner proved to be difficult, as all of the students demonstrated inventive designs worthy of recognition.”

The mission of the competition was to challenge students to propose imaginative and sustainable interior design ideas for a space that has great potential to have a transformative effect in a critical Philadelphia neighborhood.

In describing his design, Rivera wrote, “Peace, acceptance, and community.  These are the words that embody the design of this interior. Creating a welcoming environment is a delicate process. Sanctum is an intimate space, providing privacy and a sense of refuge for those who enter.  The inspirational character of the space is a combination of extending help and self-improvement.”

“The architectural parti is split into two distinct levels, carved out by a sun-bathed atrium and bio-wall.  Once a visitor is on their feet they can ascend to the upper level with a gym, yoga and job training facilities, symbols of self-improvement.  The center atrium is meant to act as a canvas, painted with the stories of individuals and families who have bettered their lives.  Screen printed photos with biographies float over the center creating an aura of inspiration and hope for those who look up to the sky.  It is important for those who enter to know they are not alone in their journey and to feel welcomed in a community.  Stories of success and overcoming adversity are celebrated in the architecture, and are meant to be an inspiration for all,” Rivera continued.