JFS Engineering
Land Development and Water Resources Engineering
Unplug and Flow
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Unplug & Flow Competition Board

In January 2013, we finished a design competition with an amazing group of professionals from Philadelphia and Berlin. The design competition was a part of Infill Philadelphia’s SoakItUp Competition for 2013. Our submission was a finalist in the “Neighborhood: Greening the Grid” category.

The Concept

Our design concept was called Unplug and Flow. It is about the capture, detention, clarification and use of water in Philadelphia. By coowning the precipitation and celebrating it as a public amenity, the FLOW will galvanize stronger bonds between neighbors and across communities, transforming a mindset of water rejection to one of preservation and stewardship. This is how it happens: first, UNPLUG stormwater from the combined sewer system and introduce a suite of new technologies in a PLUG & PLAY strategy. These alternative stormwater management practices are described as ELEMENTS, STREETSCAPE, and PLACES that may be inserted individually, as systems, and aggregations. They are scalable and adaptable to each specific neighborhood context. The components create a kit-of-parts to be applied within the private INNER BLOCK, formed by the dense row-house configuration; to improve the private/public OUTER BLOCK, including facades, stoops, sidewalks and streets; and to develop a public OPEN SPACE network, bringing new life to the vacant lots, corners, bus stops and park grounds of Queen Village. The application of this strategy may be staged over time and tailored to the varied stormwater needs and distinct civic identities that compose Philadelphia. Un/Plug&Flow proposes a new city of community/living/infrastructure, using the water resource to connect people through common stewardship and transformed neighborhoods. Over time, broad implementation will result in a powerful system of water independence.

From a stormwater engineering standpoint we took a rather novel view to deployment of practices. Rather than impose locations for most practices, we assumed that deployment would occur over time in a randomized decay model. However unflattering, corrosion is the best model for this scenario. Each practice is intentionally over-designed to accept additional load from adjacent untreated surfaces, have its own discharge, and act as a conduit for upstream flow.


The Team

Joseph Horan is a project architect with Kimmel Bogrette Architecture + Site,  which is now celebrating its 18th year of business in the Tri-State Region.  Joe received a Bachelor of Architecture degree, with honors, from Drexel University, and studied architecture and urban planning abroad in Rome, Italy.  A registered architect, NCARB certified, and LEED-AP,  Joe began his career with Kimmel Bogrette, increasing his roles and responsibilities over his 10 plus years with the firm.  He is currently designing the new renovation and expansion of the Daskalakis Athletic Center at Drexel University as well as a new headquarters for the Chester County Council of the Boy Scouts of America.  In addition to these projects, Joe is actively involved in the firm’s sustainable design initiatives which they strive to incorporate in all of their projects. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Joe currently resides in the city’s Fishtown neighborhood along with his wife Kate, also an architect, and their dog Zeus.  Aside from being an avid outdoorsman, Joe is never far from design.  He enjoys other creative avenues, such as woodworking, cooking, photography, travel, and serving as a guest architecture critic at Drexel University.

Lukas Kronawitter

Karena Thurston Valentine has over ten years of experience in architecture and design. She holds a BArch from Drexel University. Her portfolio includes complex renovations and adaptive reuse for corporate, institutional, educational, and residential clients. She has volunteered for the Community Design Collaborative since 2001, and is passionate about projects that improve communities, promote sustainability, and create beauty. Outside the office, she can be found gardening, practicing yoga, making soap, designing jewelry and flower arrangements, and volunteering at Mariposa Food Co-op. For more on her current projects and what inspires her design, visit Karena’s blog at https://karenacreates.wordpress.com

Joseph Schaffer is a licensed and LEED-accredited professional civil engineer, specializing in land development and water resources in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Rhode Island; and is a New Jersey Professional Planner. Joe has nearly 15 years of experience in residential/commercial development sites, municipal engineering, due diligence studies, cross-discipline coordination, and construction oversight, working with major box retailers and residential developers from New Hampshire to Florida. He  has produced effective and efficient permitting, utility, and storm water management solutions for complex scenarios –  ranging from undeveloped to highly urbanized sites and small (<1 acre) to large (>100 acres) projects. Using scientific and business principles to produce results and add value for his clients, Joe minimizes construction costs, waste, and energy and water consumption.  He also creatively incorporates sustainable engineering techniques such as rainwater harvesting and low impact development to ensure the future upkeep of a development site while keeping costs down.

Marty Strenczewilk completed his M.S. in Environmental, Health & Safety management at the Rochester Institute of Technology.  Since then, he has worked in industry as an EHS and Sustainability professional for multi-national corporations.  Currently, he is the Corporate Environmental Manager for PaperWorks industries, where he is creating and implementing an overarching environmental management system from the ground up.  Marty lives with his wife and daughter in Philadelphia and is available for sustainability and environmental consulting.

Sylvia Palms is Principal of Locus Partners, a women-owned design collaborative concerned with generating positive social impact through urban place making. With expertise in Architecture, Urban Design, Public Engagement, and Landscape Architecture, the practice addresses the imperatives of community, ecology, sustainability and craft. Co-founder of Locus Partners, Sylvia brings over ten years of experience designing institutional, civic, and residential landscapes. Her work is concerned with designing the landscape to heal and reveal ecosystems, and as a resource for education, restoration and community-building. She received her MLA from the University of Pennsylvania and holds a BA in Social Psychology from William & Mary. She has taught at the University of Pennsylvania and Moore College of Art and Design.

Alysse Einbender holds a BS in Landscape Architecture from Temple University and has over fifteen years of experience as a landscape architectural designer. Projects include environmental restoration and path development, urban revitalization, university campus planning, city parks, and residential and streetscape design. Practicing landscape architecture from a wheelchair for the past eight years, she has a unique commitment to designing spaces that are not just inspired, innovative and sustainable, but that are inclusive and physically accessible, too. She volunteers for the Community Design Collaborative, and is a Trustee on the Board of the Inglis House Foundation and the MossRehab Advisory Board.

Bing Han is a landscape designer and recent graduate of Temple University’s Masters program. Building on her Bachelors in Environmental Design, she harmonizes urban needs with the surrounding pristine environment.  Before coming to Philadelphia she resided in Beijing. See Bing’s portfolio on Issuu.

John Sloan


Further Reading

Want more? Download PDFs of the Board (18.9 MB) and Report (13 MB).