Announcing the 2018 AIA Film Challenge winners

We are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s AIA Film Challenge. With 15 outstanding finalists, selecting the Grand Prize, Runner-Up, and Third Place winners was a difficult choice for our judges. We are extremely proud to announce the winning films. 

Grand Prize: “Past/Presence: Saving the Spring Garden School”

Filmmaker: Cheryl Hess

Architect/Firm: Kramer + Marks Architects

The Spring Garden School in North Philadelphia sat vacant and abandoned for nearly 30 years before the Philadelphia Housing Authority teamed up with non-profit, Help USA, to convert the property into affordable housing for low-income senior citizens and homeless veterans. Past/Presence shows how the preservation and adaptive reuse of a historic building is meaningful to both the new residents and those who knew the building in its original iteration.

 “Very few people get to say, ‘I designed that building,’ but maybe we become part of history in our own fashion by participating in the life of that building, whether it be as a student, a graffiti artist, or a new resident,” said Cheryl Hess, filmmaker and 2018 Grand Prize Winner.

Runner-Up: “A Joyful Gathering Place”

Filmmaker: Chris Langer

Architect/Firm: Robert P. Madison International

The architects at Robert P. Madison International made it their mission to renovate and restore the historic Karamu House, the oldest operating African American Theatre in the United States. Joining forces with the Karamu House organization, Sandra Madison and her team were driven by a shared vision to foster community and revitalize the surrounding neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio.

Third Place “ChildSafe: Designed to Heal” 


Filmmaker: Isaiah Rendon 

Architect/firm: Overland Partners

In 2016, ChildSafe, a nonprofit organization that helps restore dignity, hope, and trust to children who have been traumatized by abuse and neglect, found themselves in a building that was too small to sustain their growing support programs. With the help of San Antonio architecture firm Overland Partners, they are designing a new, state-of-the-art campus.

Our sincere thanks to all the architects and filmmakers who participated, and congratulations to this year’s winners.