Three new projects have been awarded to design teams with congratulations.  In each case, the use of Porphyry paving surfaces would enhance them. This stone of memories would serve all of them well.

Kennedy Center-Plaza Project

Kennedy Center, Steve Holl Architects

Steven Holl Architects have been selected to design a new, 60,000 square foot addition to the prestigious John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. The $100 million project, which will be lead by Steven Holl and senior partner Chris McVoy, is envisioned as three connected pavilions clad in translucent Okalux, glass, and Carrara marble, the material used on the original 1970s building designed by famed American architect Edward Durrell Stone.

Located mostly below grade on the south side of the existing facility, the protruding structures will be embedded within a lush landscape of public gardens. To the west, one pavilion will extend over the Potomac River, offering an outdoor stage at the water’s edge. The expansion will compliment the existing performance center with new classrooms, rehearsal and multipurpose rooms, along with lecture and office space. Both the new and the old will be directly connected underground and through the main plaza. A formal design will be refined and announced in the coming months. Mr. Holl and Chris McVoy, a senior partner at Steven Holl Architects, were unanimously selected by the Kennedy Center board after a search that started with 21 architects.

Steven Holl Architects is a 40-person innovative architecture and urban design office working globally as one office from two locations; New York City and Beijing. Steven Holl leads the office with senior partner Chris McVoy and junior partner Noah Yaffe. Steven Holl Architects is internationally-honored with architecture’s most prestigious awards, publications and exhibitions for excellence in design,seas, with extensive experience in the arts (including museum, gallery, and exhibition design), campus and educational facilities, and residential work. The firm specializes in seamlessly integrating new projects into contexts with particular cultural and historic importance.


Town Branch Commons


Kate Orff, whose New York landscape architecture firm was chosen last week to design Town Branch Commons, has made a name for herself by looking below the surface and beyond the conventional. A jury selected the New York-based landscape architecture firm, SCAPE, led by Kate Orff, an emerging voice in design and architecture, to design the Town Commons in downtown Lexington. The project, led by the Downtown Development Authority, recognizes the importance of 1) a vibrant corridor along the arterial defined by the Town Branch, of 2) the power of water as a an urban amenity, and 3) a visionary plan capable of attracting investment in downtown and the region. SCAPE won out of a pool of five teams including: COEN+PARTNERS, Minneapolis; CIVITAS, Denver; INSIDE OUTSIDE: Petra Blaisse, Amsterdam; and JDS, Copenhagen.

In addition to being a partner in the firm Scape/Landscape Architecture, Orff is an assistant professor of architecture and urban design at Columbia University. As founder and co-director of the university’s Urban Landscape Lab, she leads seminars on integrating earth sciences into urban design and planning.


Ben Franklin Parkway

Benjamin Franklin Parkway
B. Krist for Greater Philadelphia Tourism &  Marketing

For drivers cutting through the city of Philadelphia, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, fashioned after the Champs-Élysées, is a grand and convenient artery, but on foot it can be an unwelcoming and inaccessible expanse. PennPraxis, along with government officials, presented a new plan, “More Park, Less Way,” this week at the Academy of Natural Science that seeks to revitalize the Parkway, stretching from City Hall to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, by increasing activity through the development of green space, improved pedestrian and bike access, and enticing programming and amenities.

Philadelphia’s scenic Benjamin Franklin Parkway contains a sprawling park that is mostly unknown and inaccessible to the public because of high-speed traffic coursing down the multi-lane throughway. 

PennPraxis, the applied research arm of the School of Design at the  University of Pennsylvania, has proposed a plan to give the road a long-overdue makeover, creating four parks that will offer enticing green spaces for picnicking, concerts, and other activities. The plan also calls for additional benches, cafes, and recreational facilities.

Harris M.  Steinberg, Executive Director of  PennPraxis said the proposal, designed for the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation, is building on the successes of other like projects such as Bryant Park in New York City and The Porch at the 30th Street Station.

PennPraxis zeroes in on four specific sites along the boulevard to upgrade and redevelop into parkland, including Eakins Oval, Iroquois site, Von Colln Memorial Field, and Park Towne Place. The vision goes beyond just adding green space. It is centered on bringing events, art installations, and food kiosks to the parks. The report states that 70,000 people live blocks away from the Parkway, and the hope is that this new mix of activities, amenities, and improvements will engage the nearby community on a daily basis.


Porphyry’s composition determines its h igh compression strength, resistance to stains, slip resistance, and high freeze/thaw ratings.  The stone is the most popular paver in Europe, and is favored for its flexibility in design, beauty, durability and low maintenance requirements. ADA Compliant Porphyry pavers are also adaptable to a permeable paving set. The stone is by far one of the most durable pavers in the world.  These beautiful materials are available from Milestone Imports.   Milestone supports the creativity of architects, planners and designers. Porphyry offers surfaces of various finishes and mixed colorings, tending towards tones of grey, gold, violet and red, depending on where it is extracted.  The products are available in North America from Milestone Imports.  –