JPDA-designed Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center wins 2017 Honor Award from American Institute of Architects in New York

NEW YORK, NY – 14 Mar, 2017 – Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture (JPDA), an award-winning multidisciplinary practice combining sustainable architecture, interiors, branding and experience design, announces the selection of the Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center (DSPAC) as a recipient of the 2017 Honor Award in the Interiors category from the American Institute of Architects New York chapter (AIANY).

The Design Awards is an annual selection of work by New York City-based architecture practices who achieve design excellence in their projects. The Honor award recognizes outstanding design work executed at the highest level of professional achievement. 

JPDA’s Honor Award stood out from a field mainly dominated by corporate work from large, established practices. This year’s winners – representing projects for large corporations – differentiates JPDA’s win for a small cultural non-profit as a distinctive commentary on the exemplary design for the smaller venue. DSPAC exemplifies the methodology employed to develop a flexible theatre, performance and community space for a non-profit in an under-served community.

Jury member Hagy Belzberg noted that “The architecture is conceived not just as a playful representation of the action that is taking place… the architect was skillful in reminding constantly of the movements represented throughout the space. I found it to be a really poetic and beautiful project.”

Located in a former industrial building, DSPAC was created as a community resource that celebrates dance education in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. JPDA developed a series of dramatic architectural interventions that transform the exterior and create bright, airy and playful dance studios, offices, a library, and dressing rooms for the bustling families that arrive each day.

Formerly Principal Dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dwana Smallwood later served as Director of Student Affairs at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in South Africa. After deciding to come back to her home neighborhood to teach dance, the project benefited from Oprah’s direct support to spur the growth of the organization in developing a school and cultural asset for the community.

“My intention was to use my professional dancing experiences to come back to where I grew up and not only teach dance, but the confidence, love, creativity, and self-esteem that comes with learning dance,” recounts Dwana. The renovation project was wholly funded by the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, a reflection of Oprah’s support for her former colleague.

The AIANY chapter is the oldest and largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The Chapter’s members include more than 5,000 practicing architects, allied professionals, students, and public members interested in architecture and design.

Project Team

Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center, Inc (client)

EP Engineering (MEP sub-consultant)

A Degree of Freedom (Structural sub-consultant)

Supreme General Contracting (General Contractor)

About JPDA

Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture is an interdisciplinary practice incorporating architecture, interiors, digital media, branding, and experience design. JPDA creates people-centric experiences that touch users with authentic, innovative and memorable interactions.

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