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HOK Competition Won by Drexel Interiors Student for 6th Straight Year  

HOK Futures Pooja Kalavagunta

February 22, 2022

A Drexel Interiors student took first place for the sixth consecutive year, while another Drexel team placed third in the annual HOK Futures Design Competition. Contestants were given two weeks to design an urban winery on Venice Island in the Manayunk neighborhood of Philadelphia. As a 21st century update to the area’s industrial past, the focus of the project was to support winery operations and provide event space for local art shows and creative events.  

The first-place winner, graduate Interior Architecture & Design student Pooja Kalavagunta, used a “warm industrial” aesthetic to embrace and bridge the contradictions of the site and program, such as the rigidity of mechanization versus the fluidity of art. In her project, metal dividers at the entrance are engulfed by creeper vines, and the loftiness of the atrium is juxtaposed with pockets of cozy and intimate tasting rooms. Outdoor spaces and indoor spaces are intended to dissolve.  

Third place went to graduate Interior Architecture & Design students Ala’a Alharbi and Abrar Alahmadi who used a rustic approach with rich textures for the winery. 

HOK is a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm with offices on three continents. The HOK Philadelphia office is home to a number of previous competition winners and Drexel alums, including Julia Keohane, Henry Whalen, and Rachel Ayella-Silver.