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Dranoff challenges Drexel students to design eco-conscious living space in 777 South Broad Street

A press release from Dranoff Properties:

Drexel Students to LEED the Way in Greening 777 South Broad

Carl Dranoff challenges interior design students at Drexel to turn 777’s hospitality suite into a luxurious, eco-conscious living space

PHILADELPHIA—October 2, 2009—This fall, undergraduate interior design students at Drexel University will embark on a term-long challenge to design the ultimate green living space for the hospitality suite at Dranoff Properties’ LEED-registered 777 South Broad. It’s a fitting partnership, since developer Carl Dranoff is a 1970 Drexel alumnus and has been described by the university as “a nationally recognized civic leader and entrepreneur … whose work has brought a renewed sense of history to Philadelphia and urban Americans throughout the country.” With seven residential and mixed-used projects under his belt, Dranoff is now passing the baton to Drexel’s students, calling on them to write the next chapter in Philadelphia’s urban renewal chronicle.

During the challenge, groups of students in Professor Debra Ruben’s Competition Studio class will compete against one another to design a space that meets standards in sustainability, function, and budget. Ruben is a LEED AP and head of Drexel’s Interiors Program sustainability curriculum. Design plans will be judged by a jury comprising Dranoff; Katherine Gajewski, Director of

Sustainability for the City of Philadelphia; and Kerri-Lee Halkett, anchor of Philadelphia’s Fox-29 News, design junkie, and lover of all things green, and Daniel Garofalo,  University of Pennsylvania’s Environmental Sustainability Coordinator and Senior Facilities Planner.

Dranoff Properties will install and assemble the winning design in the hospitality suite, ready for the opening of 777 South Broad in Spring 2010.

“As we finish construction on 777 South Broad, we wanted to make sure we didn’t miss a single detail in our goal to blend urban luxury with sustainability,” says Carl Dranoff, Founder and President of Dranoff Properties. “Who better to partner with in that effort than Drexel, an institution close to my heart, but more importantly, a school boasting some of the nation’s brightest students, best design and engineering programs and a unique, campus-wide green initiative. It’s my pleasure to share my vision for livable, walkable, sustainable communities with the minds of the future, and incorporate their fresh perspectives and creative ingenuity into Philadelphia’s residential landscape.”

Students will be divided into five groups of three. They will be required to apply their knowledge of sustainability, light, space, and human needs to design the two-bedroom, 1,100 square-foot suite on a $15,000 budget. Students will source green products, including furniture, accessories, household appliances, bedding, linens, lighting, electronics, and so on. They will incorporate these products into their designs, research their environmental impact, and contact manufacturers for availability.

Throughout the class, professionals in the field of green building, construction, interior design and project management will serve as a panel of advisors. Advisors will guide site tours, provide site plans and renderings, offer professional design consultation, and provide vendor contacts. At the end of the semester, students will present their plans to the jury. Submissions will be judged for suitability of design to the project challenge, originality of design solution, and successful integration of interior finishes and furnishings. Winners will be announced in December. Students will receive class credit and a grade for their participation.

“This is a new opportunity for students to showcase their knowledge, creativity, and resourcefulness in a real-world setting,” says Ruben, LEED AP and Professor of the Interior Design Program at Drexel University. “Sustainable living is the modern era of interior design, and thanks to our partnership with Dranoff Properties, this project lets students put their boots to the ground for a highly valuable learning experience.”

About the author

Andrew Goodman, Community Engagement Director, New Kensington Community Development Corporation

Goodman is currently the Community Engagement Director at the New Kensington Community Development Corporation.

Previously, Goodman worked as a city planner and project manager for PennPraxis. His focus was on projects that combined community engagement and public space design, including the Central Delaware Waterfront Planning Process, the Green2015 initiative for Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, and the Bartram’s Mile project in Southwest Philadelphia.  Goodman was an early contributor to PlanPhilly and helped shape the site in its first iteration.  As PlanPhilly grew, Goodman represented the publisher and provided professional planning input and project management support as the site expanded its beat coverage, went through multiple redesigns, conducted an internal strategic plan, and researched revenue generation opportunities.



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