PHS and PHL Launch Airport Landscape Design Competition

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) are hosting a design competition to create an “Image Maker” landscape at the Airport. The competition is an opportunity to demonstrate Philadelphia’s position as America’s Garden Capital and create a welcoming image for the Greater Philadelphia region.

The goals of the project are to create an iconic PHL landscape, enhance the environmental sustainability of the Airport landscape, and provide a customer-friendly arrival and departure experience. The focus areas are all landscapes visible to the traveler going to or from the Airport – a scope of approximately 130 acres visible from motor vehicles or from an airplane. The new design will replace the current landscape that features large areas that are both planted and naturalized.

The competition opens June 8 with an international Request For Qualifications (RFQ), which will result in the selection of four finalist teams to be invited to the juried Design Competition. The competition phase will immediately follow the RFQ phase. Applicants are encouraged to assemble interdisciplinary, integrated teams, including a landscape architect, civil engineer, traffic engineer, stormwater specialist, and environmental or ecology expert.


Each finalist team will receive a stipend of $20,000 to develop a thoughtful, creative, environmentally appropriate concept plan and associated budget for the Airport. The winning concept will be used in efforts to identify funds for design development and project implementation.


Beginning June 8, participants can register using the form found here.  After registering, they will be able to download the RFQ. A web-based information session will be held June 28; registered participants will be contacted with additional details. All responses to the RFQ must be received by 4 p.m. EST on July 21. Send questions by July 7 to ImageMaker@pennhort.org. In the final stage of the competition, all four teams will have their concepts displayed and have the opportunity to present during the 2018 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, an annual event that welcomes 250,000 visitors.



The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is a not-for-profit organization, founded in 1827, whose programs connect people to horticulture and collaboratively creates beautiful, healthy and sustainable communities. PHS’s best known activities include the Philadelphia Flower Show, street tree planting and maintenance, community gardening, public beautification, and the PHS Pop Up Gardens. PHS is supported by individual members and supporters, foundations, partners and government grants. PHS programs bring together people from diverse backgrounds to engage in horticultural projects that advance social equity, environmental sustainability, and urban livability. For information or to support our work, visit PHSonline.org.



PHL, the only major airport serving the nation’s 7th largest metropolitan area, is a large hub airport serving more than 30 million passengers annually. Twenty-five airlines, including all major domestic carriers, offer nearly 500 daily departures to 131 destinations worldwide. Located 7 miles from downtown Philadelphia, the Airport is easily accessible and convenient to many tourist sites, business centers, and cultural hubs. The Airport is self-sustained and uses no local tax dollars. PHL is one of the largest economic engines in the region, generating $15.4 billion for the economy and accounting for 96,300 full-time jobs annually.

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