By: Rebecca Johnson, Executive Director, AIA Philadelphia
Philadelphia, a city rich in history and culture, now serves as a platform for architectural innovation. The inaugural AIA Philadelphia Home Tours features a curated selection of homes that highlight the impact of architectural expertise and the transformative potential of sustainable design.
The value of hiring an architect
Today, architecture is more than just construction. It’s a blend of artistry, functionality, and sustainability, evident in the diverse yet unified designs featured on the Home Tours. As homeowners from the tour attested, architects are professionals who take your abstract dreams and transform them into concrete reality. They navigate complex challenges, integrate lifestyle needs, and provide innovative solutions. From implementing energy-efficient systems to perfecting aesthetic details, architects play a pivotal role in creating homes that are not just buildings, but personalized habitats.
A glance at the featured homes
Moto Designshop’s Filigree House — Featured in the NY Times and Architect Magazine, among others, the interwoven brick façade is a focal piece for the design and a functional screen. The brick beautifully frames the Marvin windows, creating unique shapes and views into the residence. The house aims to be more than just a living space, serving as a meaningful, sustainable contribution to the city’s urban fabric.
Bright Common’s Outlet House — An energy-saving rowhome designed using Passive House principles and adapted to serve first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Its white brick façade pays homage to traditional rowhouses, while a three-story black metal box and statement window, also by Marvin Windows, adds a modern twist. This property sets a precedent for what sustainable, multi-purpose urban living can look like.
BluPath Design’s Rittenhouse Renovation — Situated in the Rittenhouse-Fitler Historic District, this four-unit apartment building is a marriage of history and modern sustainability. The design follows the Passive House EnerPHit Standard, resulting in a home that combats noise pollution, saves on energy bills, and protects against environmental contaminants. It proves that historic preservation and modern sustainability are not mutually exclusive but can coexist harmoniously.
Lauren Thomsen Design’s Penn Valley Mid-Century Classic — Located in Penn Valley just outside the city, this mid-century modern home underwent a complete renovation. Architect Lauren Thomsen exceeded homeowners’ expectations, doubling the usable living space while staying true to the original aesthetic. The home stands as a testament to the architect’s ability to creatively solve problems, all the while adhering to a budget.
Lauren Thomsen Design’s Northern Liberties Passive House — Solar panels in the city? This newly constructed home is pre-certified for Passive House (PHIUS+ 2018) and will ultimately be net zero capable. The design has garnered support from the local community, showcasing the power of thoughtful architecture to integrate seamlessly into existing urban settings.
Please join us October 14th and 15th
The AIA Philadelphia Home Tours are a unique opportunity to tour gorgeous private homes with the architects who designed the homes. Hear how and why they made certain design decisions; learn about the problems that they had to solve (every construction project has problems to solve); and become inspired how you can incorporate some of their tips and tricks into your home. Tickets are sold in advance for $40 for all five houses or $10 a house at the door.
For tickets and more information, please visit AIA Philadelphia Home Tours.