President Dan McCoubrey — FAIA!

February 6th, 2015

CONGRATULATIONS to president and principal Dan McCoubrey — a 2015 Fellow of the AIA!



Community Health & Literacy Center: Construction Update (1/7/15)

January 7th, 2015

Throughout construction of the Community Health and Literacy Center, we’ll be posting construction photos and updates.  Here’s where we’re headed:  And here’s where we are so far:

Earthwork is underway

Earthwork is underway


Augercast pile installation is ongoing

Augercast pile installation is ongoing


Stormwater detention basin is being installed

Stormwater detention basin is being installed

Happy Holidays from VSBA!

December 19th, 2014

Happy Holidays from VSBA!

Vote Lenfest Hall for Philly’s Phinest!

December 18th, 2014

Locust 05 (modified)


The AIA Philadelphia is asking you to vote for your favorite buildings in the city.  We’d be very grateful if you would consider voting for VSBA’s Lenfest Hall at the Curtis Institute of Music!

Before January 9, please email Elizabeth Paul, Director of Communications, at to say:

Dear Ms. Paul,
I’d like to vote for the Curtis Institute of Music’s Lenfest Hall as my favorite Philly building!

Projects that receive enough votes will be featured in a promo video for the 2016 AIA National Convention in Philadelphia. For more information on voting, see:

And for information on the building, check out’s project page:

Thank you so much for your help and support!

Community Health and Literacy Center: Construction Update, 11/25/14

November 25th, 2014

Throughout construction of the Community Health and Literacy Center, we’ll be posting construction photos and updates.

Here’s where we’re headed:

And here’s where we are so far. This is demolition of the existing health center on the site.

FCC Construction 01

Community Health and Literacy Center Groundbreaking

September 19th, 2014

Comm Health & Literacy Center GroundBreaking_Ceremonial dig

We’ve broken ground on Philadelphia’s new Health and Literacy Center!

Here’s a photo from yesterday’s event. From left to right: En Jung Kim, Chase Community Equity; CHOP board member Lynne Garbose; Brian Hudson, Commonwealth Cornerstone Group; John Grady, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC); CHOP president Madeline Bell; Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter; CHOP patient Courtney Simmons; CHOP chief executive officer Steven M. Altschuler, M.D.; Councilman Kenyatta Johnson; Senator Larry Farnese; Representative Jordan Harris; CHOP associate medical director of primary care, Lisa Biggs, M.D and Siobhan A. Reardon, president, Free Library of Philadelphia.

Here’s a link to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s press release:

Here’s an article about the groundbreaking from

And for more information on the project, check out VSBA’s project page,

Groundbreaking Family Care Center!

September 12th, 2014

South Philadelphia Family Care Center Groundbreaking Ceremony
You’re invited to a groundbreaking of an exciting new VSBA project!

For more information on the project, see VSBA’s website:

Note: the RSVP for the groundbreaking ceremony is today, Friday, September 12th.

VSBA Mixes It Up @ SCUP-49

July 3rd, 2014


Lenfest Hall @ Curtis Honored By Urban Land Institute Philadelphia

June 23rd, 2014

Curtis Institute of Music, Lenfest Hall

Lenfest Hall at the Curtis Institute of Music has been honored by the Urban Land Institute Philadelphia! It has won an inaugural Willard G. “Bill” Rouse Award for Excellence.

The music education and student residence hall was named a “truly exemplary” project. “A unique combination of both public and private uses, it incorporates the first dedicated housing for students at what is probably the top music school in the country,” concluded the award jurors.

ULI Philadelphia is “a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities.”

Thank you so much, ULI Philadelphia — and congratulations to Curtis and our design team!

For more information, see ULI Philadelphia’s press release:

VSBA Has Plans for Wellesley

May 6th, 2014

Wellesley College, Consolidated Program Planning 03

VSBA recent completed an exciting planning project for Wellesley College. We worked closely with the College to develop a program plan that consolidated a number of ongoing studies.

For campus photos, drawings, and a full description, check out our project page:

VSBA In Context

February 6th, 2014

2014 02.06.14 - AAM in Context 01


VSBA’s renovations and additions to the Allentown Art Museum have been featured as a Design Profile in the AIA’s Context magazine.

Check it out:

Viva Nancy!

November 12th, 2013

2013 11.10.13 - Goodbye Nancy 01

For all our friends and colleagues, we have an important announcement:

After 26 years at 4236 Main Street, Nancy Rogo Trainer has left VSBA to become Drexel University’s Associate Vice President of Design and Planning!

Nancy writes:

“The opportunity to work for a rapidly changing institution in the city I love most is a once-in-a-career opportunity, and I’m looking forward to my new role. Still, I’ll miss the people and projects of VSBA, and will always be grateful to Bob Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, the late Steven Izenour, and colleagues and clients too numerous to mention. Dan McCoubrey, president and principal of VSBA, LLC, has my eternal admiration for his talent and integrity, and my thanks for his collegiality and friendship. There isn’t another architecture firm in the world I’d rather work for.”

While we’ll miss her very much, please join us in wishing her all the best in her new career!

Dan McCoubrey
President and Principal

Fay House Featured at

October 28th, 2013

Meeting Room (Fay 100) 01 features VSBA’s renovation of Fay House at the Radcliffe Institute:

Click here for a full description and photos of VSBA’s work at Fay House.

Fay House is US’s Oldest LEED

July 2nd, 2013

2013 07.02.13 - Fay House is Oldest US LEEDFay House of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard is the country’s oldest LEED certified building!

VSBA completed a major renovation of the building in June 2012, and it was LEED Gold certified in April 2013.  According to the US Green Building Council, in addition to being the oldest LEED certified building in the United States, Fay House is the second oldest in the world.

For more information, check out Fay House’s listing at Harvard University’s Office of Sustainability and

Lenfest Hall Honored By 10,000 Friends

July 1st, 2013

2013 06.20.13 - 10,000 Friends Award (small)

We’re happy to announce that 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania has given the Curtis Institute of Music’s Lenfest Hall a 2013 Commonwealth Award, one of thirteen granted statewide!

10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania is an alliance promoting smart growth throughout the state.  Lenfest Hall was honored as a Community Institution Project for contributing to its neighborhood and the City of Philadelphia.

For more information on 10,000 Friends, see their website.

And you can learn all about Lenfest Hall via its project page at

VSBA Time Travels!

June 13th, 2013

West Jersey Time Traveler Signage

VSBA has designed a signage system for the West Jersey Time Traveler Initiative — an exciting blend of technology and graphics highlighting a number of historical sites around Cumberland County, New Jersey.

Each sign provides a QR code linking to an interpretive podcast for that particular site.  Just scan with a smartphone or other device.  Our signs have been installed at fifteen historical locations– including residence, a bank, a church, and a shul.  And the signage template was design to be applied easily to other sites in the future.

Recently completed, the project has been won an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History and was presented as a case study at the New Jersey History and Historical Preservation Conference.  For more information, see VSBA’s project page.  And also check out Cumberland County’s website for background and podcasts on the featured locations.

VSBA Projects Part of New Publication

June 3rd, 2013


Several VSBA projects are included in the new edition of Building Type Basics for College and University Facilities by David Neuman, University Architect at the University of Virginia.

Featured projects include campus master planning for Haverford College, the Life Sciences Institute complex at the University of Michigan, and Princeton’s Frist Campus Center.

The publisher says:

Building Type Basics for College and University Facilities, Second Edition is your one-stop reference for the essential information you need to confidently begin the planning process and successfully complete the design of college and university buildings, large or small, on time and within budget.”

The book is published June 2013. Get your own copy!:
(And read the first chapter at the link.)

Woodmere Wins Award

May 16th, 2013

Woodmere Wins Award 01

The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia’s 20th Annual Preservation Achievement Awards Luncheon was held on May 15, 2013.  An award was given to Woodmere Art Museum for its renovation of Founder’s Gallery — a project to which president and principal Dan McCoubrey contributed.  Congratulations!

LEED Gold for Fay House!

April 22nd, 2013

Fay House

What could be more appropriate for Earth Day 2013 than to announce that VSBA’s renovation of Fay House at the Radcliffe Institute has been awarded LEED Gold!!

Fay House is the original home of Radcliffe College, built in 1807, and it’s now the administrative building for the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard.  VSBA renovated and updated the entire building while helping to preserve its beautiful historic qualities.

Fay House was awarded a LEED for Green Building Design and Construction v3.0 Gold Certification — only the second LEED v3.0 Gold Certification for new construction at Harvard!

The building now incorporates methods to manage lighting and energy efficiency.  Occupancy and daylight sensors, as well personal lighting controls, allow adjustment of light per room and usage.  Fay House is also one of the only buildings on campus to power down appliances as well as lights when the building’s not in use, reducing power use and waste.  Our renovations also brought fresh daylight and views into working areas.

For more information, see the USGBC’s statistics on the project.

Help Save the Camden Children’s Garden

February 7th, 2013

2013 02.07.13 - Save The Camden Children's Garden
The Camden Children’s Garden is an important and beautiful civic place designed by Steven Izenour and others with Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates. It’s one of the last and greatest examples of Steve’s love for bold graphics, playful architecture, and engagement with the arts.

The State of New Jersey has announced that it’s taking the Garden’s land to redevelop it. But you can help preserve the Garden — as a vital community resource and as a part of Steve’s legacy.

Start by reading up on the issue:   read Inga Saffron’s article and Virginia A. Smith’s article.

Then participate!:  Join the Save the Camden Children’s Garden Facebook group and
sign the Save the Camden Children’s Garden petition!

Thank you!