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A team united by a culture of diversity, innovation, and community involvement.

Our Firm

PZS is an award-winning architecture firm, known for creating elegant, sustainable, and transformative spaces. We strive to cultivate relationships with our clients and the communities in which we work that are long-lasting and mutually beneficial. Our philosophy and culture include dedicating ourselves to the community; serving the populations in the neighborhoods where we build our projects, reaching out to civic leaders and residents, understanding the social and economic impacts of what we do, and always seeking to improve the lives of those who will use and experience our work.


Our practice incorporates the principles of the design initiatives of USGBC’s LEED Certification Program and USDOE’s High Performance Building Program. These standards, which are present in our design of buildings, meet the high standards for energy efficiency, sustainability, indoor air quality, and technology utilization. We also are guided by the latest manual from the Collaborative for High Performance Schools, as well as the Greenworks guidelines for LEED certification, set by the Philadelphia Office of Sustainability.

We incorporate a building science approach– utilizing sustainability as a design philosophy from the ground up, not just treating it as an afterthought with features and add-ons to a design that is already significantly developed. Sustainability starts on the inside, with materials, wall assemblies, and an overall design approach that takes into account budget, building mass, fenestration, finishes, and furniture. We collaborate with our MEP partners to design sensible and cost effective energy-conscious building systems that result in buildings that fulfill the sustainability goals defined by each project team at the outset.

In addition to the above standards of operation in our practice, we are a signatory to the AIA 2030 Commitment and are in the process of integrating the AIA Framework for Design Excellence methodology into our work.

Our Team

Our History

1993: Polatnick Zacharjasz Architects Founded

Polatnick Zacharjasz Architects was founded as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) 30 years ago by Mario Zacharjasz and David Polatnick.

1993: Our First Office

In 1993 PZS leased our fist office space, partially occupying two floors in the Elkins Park train station.

1998: PZA Becomes PZS

Michael Skolnick joins the firm in 1998 and Polatnick Zacharjasz Architects becomes PZS Architects.

2000: PZS Architects Begins Work with Esperanza

23 years ago, PZS Architects began work with Esperanza, a faith-based nonprofit organization founded by Reverend Luis Cortés, Jr.

2003: A Major Milestone! 10 Years in Business

2003 was PZS Architects' 10th Anniversary- a celebration of hard work and steady growth that would would continue for many more years.

2010: Mario is Elected President of AIA Philadelphia

As part of his service as President, in the Spring of 2010, Mario organized a Humanitarian Mission to Cuba with a group of members of the board of AIA Philadelphia.

2011: PZS Moves!

In 2011, PZS purchased a property on the edge of Manayunk and Roxborogh, packed up our things, and moved over to our new home in Philadelphia.

2015: Michael is elected Board President of AIA Pennsylvania

2021: PZS Projects Win Two Preservation Alliance Awards

2022: Our New Home

In 2022 we relocated to 4141 Station Street in Manayunk, It's a beautiful new space just off Main Street and Shurs Lane.

Our Clients and Testimonials


Camp Tel Yehudah

Campus Apartments

Cheltenham School District

Cheyney University

Colonial School District


Congreso de Latinos Unidos

Cross Properties

Cuba Libre

Eastern University


Fineman, Krekstein & Harris, PC

Grasso Holdings


Harcum College

Hightop Real Estate and Development

Kimmel Cultural Campus

Lincoln University

Montgomery County Community College

Philadelphia College of Podiatric Medicine

Philadelphia School District

Philadelphia University

Post Brothers

Princeton University

Rowan University

Rutgers University

St. Joseph’s University

St. Luke’s University Hospital

Stern & Eisenberg, PC

Temple University

The Pathway School

The Salvation Army

The University of Delaware

The University of Pennsylvania

Upper Darby School District

US Realty

WES Health System

West Chester University

Wheeler Development Corporation

Widener University


“Our students have opportunities and our community is stronger due in large part to our new Trujillo Center, which was designed by PZS Architects. Today we are able to provide our community with playgrounds and outdoor space, classrooms, computer and science labs, a library, and an art studio and music room that was once unavailable to them.

PZS has grown with our Congreso family, and we are so grateful for all of the support your entire team has provided our organization over the past 10 years.

Dominique Bernardo, CFO / Interim CEO: Congreso de Latinos Unidos

"This project puts Temple on the map, like no other experience when it comes to living on campus.”

Kevin Williams, Director of Residence Life: Temple University

“This is what happens when parents, the community, the school district, and everyone gets involved. The result is a beautiful new school.”

Former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter

Awards and Recognitions

  • 2021 Grand Jury Award – Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia; The Goddard School
  • 2021 Economic Impact Award – Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia; The Atlantic
  • Best Restoration/Renovation over $10 million, 2019 Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc East Chapter; The Atlantic Building
  • Preservation Alliance of Philadelphia 2016 Award; Palmer Seminary
  • American Institute of Architects 2014 Merit Award; Temple University’s Mitchell and Hillary Morgan Hall (In association with MGA Partners)
  • Preservation Alliance 2008 Grand Jury Award; The Ayer
  • AIA Pennsylvania 2012 Citation of Merit; The Salvation Army Ray and Joan KRGC Corp Community Center (In association with MGA Partners)
  • American Institute of Architects Merit Award 2011; The Salvation Army Ray and Joan KRGC Corp Community Center (In association with MGA Partners)
  • Associated Builders and Contractors 2011 Merit Award of Excellence; Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center