Penn State Behrend, Federal House Wins Honor Award at AIA Pennsylvania

During its annual Architectural Excellence Design Awards, the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) celebrated GBBN’s work at Penn State Behrend, Federal House. 

The project, which involved a renovation of and addition to one of the oldest brick buildings in Erie County, Pennsylvania won an Honor Award.

The jury celebrated the way the contemporary addition interacts with the historic structure as well as its site. “So many times, when you add to an existing or historic building the presence of that building gets lost or muddled,” one juror said, “(but) in this case it was kept as pure—as pristine as possible—from (one) elevation; and then the building was allowed to change as you turned the corner and went up the hill.”

Another juror noted, “the quality of the light in the building also was quite wonderful and helped to situate the difference between the historic building and the new one,” which is much more open to its context.

The building, which is the home of the Penn State Behrend’s Susan Hirt Hagen Center for Community Outreach, Research, & Evaluation (CORE)—an initiative that promotes positive youth development in Erie County—has already won several recognitions. These include Honor Awards from AIA Pittsburgh and AIA Ohio. It was also a finalist for the Architizer A+ Awards.

To learn more about the project, visit our case study.

To view the AIA Pennsylvania awards show, click here.