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Drexel's URBN Center Recognized for Design Excellence

Exterior of URBN Center

September 18, 2013

Drexel University’s URBN Center that opened its doors less than a year ago and houses programs for the University’s Westphal College of Media Arts & Design was recognized for its design excellence at the Maryland State Component of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Design Awards ceremony on Sept. 12.

The AIA Maryland Design Awards program recognizes excellence in architectural design by AIA Maryland architects worldwide and for AIA member work in Maryland. The firm Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. (MSR) was honored as the architects for the URBN Center.  Hailed as “one of Philadelphia's most thrilling new designs” by The Philadelphia Inquirer’s architecture critic Inga Saffron, the iconic 3501 Market Street building created by Robert Venturi was transformed into a state-of-the-art center for design and the arts by the noted design firm.

URBN interiorMore than 1200 students use the URBN Center each day. The 140,000 square-foot facility includes a state-of-the art motion capture studio, a museum-quality facility for Drexel’s Historic Costume Collection containing more than 12,000 historic garments and fashion accessories, music recording studios, video game design labs for Westphal College’s nationally ranked gaming programs, a hybrid making lab with 3-D printers and laser cutters, a fabric dying and printing studio, and much more. The URBN Center Annex, located just outside the URBN Center is home to Westphal College’s public venues including a greatly expanded Leonard Pearlstein Gallery, a black box theater and a 125-seat screening room intended to have the best sound and projection in Philadelphia.

Woven throughout the entire URBN Center are studios, classrooms, faculty offices, conference and seminar rooms, student lounges and flexible “opportunity spaces” for the Westphal College’s programs in Animation & Visual Effects, Architecture, Arts Administration, Design & Merchandising, Digital Media, Entertainment & Arts Management, Fashion Design, Game Art & Production, Graphic Design, Interior Design, Museum Leadership, Music Industry and Product Design.

Drexel purchased the Venturi building in 2009 after a $25 million anonymous donation to fund a design center for Westphal College.

About the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design

Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design offers 16 undergraduate and six graduate programs in media, design and the performing arts. Programs are taught in small studio settings, featuring hands-on learning and an award-winning faculty of industry practitioners who emphasize the use of the latest technologies. Westphal College is home to Mandell Theater, the Pearlstein Gallery, Drexel’s television (DUTV) and radio (WKDU 91.7 FM) stations, the Rudman Institute for Entertainment Industry Studies, MAD Dragon Records and Drexel’s Historic Costume Collection. For more information about the College, visit: 

Media Contact

Niki Gianakaris