We Won! by Brian Szymanik


Albany, NY. Studio 6mm is proud to announce that our project for a new grocery store for the Kensington Community Food Co-op was awarded a 2019 AIA Tristates Design Award. The award was presented to Principals David Quadrini and Brian Szymanik by Sharon Johnston of Johnston Marklee & Associates, the Awards Jury Chair, at the AIA Tri-State Design Conference in Albany, NY on October 18th, 2019.

Representing the best in design from AIA Pennsylvania, AIA New York, and AIA New Jersey, these awards recognize significant achievements by AIA members in the region to contribute to a better and more sustainable built environment. Our heartfelt congratulations and thanks go out to the board and members of the Kensington Community Food Co-op.

Studio 6mm Celebrates the Grand Opening of KCFC! by Brian Szymanik

It is with great joy that we announce the Grand Opening of the new grocery for the Kensington Community Food Co-Op (KCFC). A project that began (for us) in 2013 as a feasibility study, the opening of this store represents a major milestone in the effort to bring healthy, local food options to one of Philadelphia’s most deserving communities.

The building in which the project is housed was acquired after years of abandonment. Despite a checkered past, the design team and ownership team both saw great opportunity in its close proximity to burgeoning neighborhoods and areas in need of healthy, local food options. The desire to bridge both lead to a colorful exterior cladding solution that seeks to use the vibrancy, color, and cultural significance of bodegas along Kensington Avenue as inspiration. To help minimize cost impact for this visually complex solution, the design team relied on the DIY attitude of the Co-Op’s members to engage the community to participate in the execution of the building’s skin. Community members were invited to literally have a hand in the building of the new facility by painting the cladding together before the contractor installed it.

Additionally, this site had unique features and challenging constraints that were seen as opportunities to help define the project and reinforce the program. For instance, the property comes with a liquor license that will necessitate the inclusion of a cafe or bar. This is unique to Philadelphia and Pennsylvania which, by law, requires the Bar to be in a separate space. Instead of creating two separate tenant spaces for the Coop, we see the Café and Market as equally important components that generate revenue but also serve as the connection or threshold that helps to reinforce the bond with its members as well as the community at large. The Market and Café become a place to shop, gather, talk, and simply reconnect. This location and program offer the opportunity for this Market to become a center for the neighborhood, not simply just another business within it.

A heartfelt ‘congratulations’ to the many, many people involved in making this project a reality!

Studio 6mm Selected to Present at 2019 AIA Tri-State Design Conference in New York by Brian Szymanik

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Studio 6mm Principals, Brian Szymanik and David Quadrini, will present a seminar titled, “Adapting Sacred Spaces for Today’s Civic Needs” at the 2019 AIA Tri-State Design Conference in October 2019. The seminar will highlight the Firm’s role in the 2018 Sacred Places Civic Spaces Initiative undertaken with Philadelphia’s Community Design Collaborative, Partners for Sacred Places, and Zion Baptist Church. Sacred Places/Civic Spaces brought congregations, communities, and design professionals together to pursue a new preservation strategy—re-envisioning underutilized religious spaces as community hubs. The architects will share their community engagement process, the resulting design proposals, the next steps identified to turn these proposals into built reality, and the various solutions that are needed to preserve and protect historic sacred places.

The 2019 Tri-State Design Conference is hosted by AIA New Jersey, AIA Pennsylvania, and AIA New York State. With a theme of “Breaking Ground,” the conference will be held October 17-19 in Albany, NY. Educational sessions will highlight ways that architects are breaking ground across a variety of program tracks. This session will be highlighted in the design track.

Studio 6mm Selected to Present at AIA Philadelphia's Forum on Architecture + Design by Brian Szymanik

Studio 6mm Principal David Quadrini will present the firm’s recent work with Zion Baptist Church on the Sacred Places, Civic Spaces Initiative with the Community Design Collaborative.

The Forum on Architecture + Design is the newly re-branded educational and expo event that is replacing the previous Design on the Delaware conference. The Forum is focused on curating multidisciplinary educational content for designers, civic leaders, product manufacturers, technology providers, and real estate developers - all the industries that contribute to shaping our built environment. 

The Forum on Architecture + Design will take place at Bok in South Philadelphia October 3 - 5, 2018.

The Forum will offer: 

  • over 30 accredited continuing education programs and tours,

  • compelling keynote sessions featuring nationally/internationally recognized industry leaders,

  • a three-day expo, and

  • several opportunities to network and socialize with leaders in the building and design professions.

We hope to see you there!

Our work is featured in 'On The Rise' Exhibition at the Philadelphia Center for Architecture by Brian Szymanik

MARCH 26 | 5:30-9:00PM

Please join us tomorrow evening as AIA Philadelphia and The Center for Architecture present ON THE RISE 2014, an exhibition featuring the winners of the Philadelphia Emerging Architecture Prize (PEAPrize) and the AIA Philadelphia Young Architect Award. Complimentary beverages provided by Victory Brewing Company.

At 6:30pm, Petra Stanev and Stephan Potts will discuss projects showing the range of their firm's work and interests; from a focus on form, surface and light to incorporating emerging technologies such as 3-D printing, rapid prototyping and off-site fabrication with traditional production methods. Brian Szymanik will also talk about his design philosophy and showcase work from his portfolio. Denise Thompson will also present her designs and working style from her time as an associate at Francis Cauffman Architects.

More about ON THE RISE 2014
on view now through April 22nd


2013 PEAPrize winners, Stanev Potts Architects, have mounted an exhibition of their impressive, multidisciplinary projects; from residences and historical renovations, to lighting details. This is accompanied by the work of Denise Thompson, AIA and Brian Szymanik, AIA - both winners of the 2013 Young Architect Prize.  


NKCDC Model Block Project Featured on CBS Philly! by Brian Szymanik

More than Just a Fence, It's a Neighborhood Gathering Place for Fishtown...

By Cherri Gregg 

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Community investment along East Girard Avenue in Fishtown is shining a ray of hope on small businesses in the area.

And it’s sure to stop traffic — in a good way.

A new “interactive” fence has been installed near East Girard and Marlborough Streets, part of a low-cost, high impact Model Block Program.

With light-colored wooden slats, the fence has built-in shelves that can be used to sit on or hold merchandise.

“We’re going to use it for sidewalk sales, inpromptu farmer’s market-type things, hopefully having some food truck events on first Fridays,” says Angie Williamson of the New Kensington Community Development Corporation.

Catherine Jennings (top photo) owns Keys to the Attic, a vintage furniture store.  “A year ago, I was really the only business on the block,” she recalls.

She says the storefront improvements, also included in the investment, are helping to attract traffic to the corridor.

“It’s driven more business to my store and it’s also enticed other businesses to open on our block,” she said today.

The improvements are the result of a $98,000 grant from PNC Bank.  The monies have sparked investment in both Fishtown and in West Philadelphia.

“Small business is the engine for our economy,” says Terri Copeland, PNC vice presdient of community investment. “We feel that if we find the right infrastructure even in one block, we can provide stimulus for business.”

Copeland says other businesses, including a spa, are expected to open in the area.  She says the goal of the community investment is to encourage more businesses to open and drive more commercial traffic.

LISC features recent work on East Girard Avenue by Brian Szymanik

Click the title above for the full article...

In Philadelphia's Fishtown neighborhood, East Girard Avenue is becoming a destination for unique shops, good eats, and cool street design. It received a boost when LISC and its local partners unveiled a strategy to improve the retail strip as part of the Corridors of Retail Excellence (CORE) program, which includes a new marketing identity, eye-popping storefront designs, and new street art. The program, run by LISC MetroEdge and funded by PNC Bank, helps commercial corridors across the country attract new retail shops and create a unique local identity that increases foot traffic and sales for local businesses...

Partners to Present Recent Work During Design Philadelphia Festival by Brian Szymanik


Brian Szymanik and David Quadrini will present the Firm's recent work with NKCDC in a Design Philadelphia Event titled, "Corridor Realities."  The sold out event, sponsored by the Community Design Collaborative and the City of Philadelphia Commerce Department, presents hand's on tales of commercial corridor revitalization.

When: Thursday, October 10 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon

Where: Center For Architecture, 1218 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA

What:   Commercial corridors are an essential ingredient of vibrant neighborhoods.  Corridor Realities presents strategies improving the building blocks of neighborhood commercial corridors: storefronts, landmark buildings in need of new roles, streets, sidewalks, and other public spaces. All the speakers have hands-on experience in revitalizing commercial corridors.


Session #1:  Great façade improvements that won’t break the bank

Alex Balloon, Corridor Manager, Tacony CDC, Moderator
Robin Kohles, AIA, Project Associate, Community Design Collaborative
Jonathan Snyder, Storefront Improvement Program Manager, City of Philadelphia Commerce Department
Brian Szymanik, AIA and David Quadrini, AIA

Session #2:  White Elephants: the bumpy road to getting buildings back in use

Story Bellows, Co-Director, Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, Moderator
Kira Strong, VP of Community and Economic Development, People’s Emergency Center

Session #3  :Getting your corridor on the map: tactical urbanism, place making, and other strategies

Prema Gupta, Director of Planning and Economic Development, University City District, Moderator
Alex Gilliam, Director, Public Workshop
Tya Winn, Real Estate Development Associate, Logan CDC
Pam Zimmerman, AIA, Principal, Zimmerman Studio

Corridor Realities is being presented as part of the 2013 DesignPhiladelphia Festival, a program of the Center for Architecture. The 9th annual city-wide celebration of all things design will run for nine days from October 10 - 18 in unique venues and spaces throughout the city. Visit events.designphiladelphia.org to learn more.  


Program Partners:           Community Design Collaborative cdesignc.org
City of Philadelphia Department of Commercephila.gov/commerce

Media Partner:                 Next City nextcity.org @nextcityorg #corridorrealities


Project Unveiling This Friday in Fishtown! by Brian Szymanik


Kickoff your First Friday on Frankford Ave. at the 300 block of E. Girard at the Model Block Unveiling - showcasing facade improvements facilitated with business owners and LISC with funding from PNC. See the block's transformation both in and outside as well as a new interactive fence.  Our studio designed and fabricated this modular fencing that can function as a bench, an art easel, a table for an impromptu farmer's market,  or meet-up point for First Friday all at the same time. 

For more information, contact Angie at awilliamson@nkcdc.org or 215-427-0350 x 111. 

We Won! Brian Szymanik wins AIA Philadelphia's Young Architect Award by Brian Szymanik

AIA Philadelphia announced today that it has awarded the 2013 Young Architect Award to Brian Szymanik, Principal.   


From the AIA's Press Release:

Brian Szymanik, AIA, and Denise Thompson, AIA, have been selected to receive the 2013 Young Architect Award. The award is presented annually to a registered architect member between the ages of 25 and 39, wnho displays excellence and promise of future merit in design excellence, practice, education, or service. Szymanik and Thompson will receive their awards the evening of Oct. 14 at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel during AIA Philadelphia’s annual Design Awards Banquet.

“The Jury was, again this year, taken by the high caliber of the candidates, says Mary Werner DeNadai, FAIA, chair of AIA Philadelphia’s Fellows Committee, which presents the award. “We eventually came to select two very diverse sets of credentials in the pair of young architects for this year. Philadelphia has a very promising future for new architecture and planning if these candidates are just a small representation of all young architects out there.”

Szymanik is a graduate of the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania (post-professional master of architecture) and the Tyler School of Art at Temple University (bachelor of architecture). He co-founded Studio 6mm with David Quadrini in 2013. Studio 6mm is a full-service architecture, design, and planning firm based in Philadelphia. Supported by a fabrication shop, the studio is prepared to equally engage the practical, theoretical, material, and experiential qualities of the field of architecture. Szymanik is also currently the visiting assistant professor of practice at Marywood University's School of Architecture, where he coordinates the fourth-year design studio sequence and teaches courses in building technology and environmental systems. He has served on the faculties at Temple University's Tyler School of Art and at Philadelphia University's College of Architecture and the Built Environment.

Thompson is a Massachusetts native and a 2002 graduate of Temple University (bachelor of architecture). Thompson is an associate at FrancisCauffman, where she has been a project manager focusing on healthcare design since 2003. Since 2005, she has been an active volunteer in the AIA, starting as the state associate director to the AIAPA board of directors and continuing on to be the Pennsylvania representative on the AIA National Associates Committee and Young Architects Forum. In addition to the various juries, knowledge communities, and committees she has participated in, Thompson reinstated the local Philadelphia Young Architects Forum and has been a member of the AIA Philadelphia board of directors since 2010.

Previous winners of the Young Architect Award include: James Oleg Kruhly, Alan Greenberger, Wesley Wei, James Wentling, Patricia Kucker, Daniela Holt Voith, Douglas Seiler, David Whatley Hinson, Harris Steinberg, Rachel Simmons Schade, Joseph Powell, Sam Olshin, Robert Shamble, RobertHotes, Andrew Phillips, Todd Woodward, Shawn Evans, Todd Drake, Anthony Bracali, Scott Kelly, John Cluver, Daryn Edwards, Patrick StewartMcdonough, Karen Blanchard, Michael Kelly, Jules Dingle, and DanielleDiLeo Kim.