Work in Progress, continued
Inn at Penn
to 38th Street, North SideReclaiming
Walnut Street, a Wharton building that looks both ways, restoration at
the Law School and a possible new neighbor on Chestnut Street
University City. The September 1 official opening of the 238-room
Inn at Penn marked the completion of Sansom Common, which has become emblematic
of Penns push to revitalize University City. Besides the guest rooms,
which boast an array of high-tech features (including Internet and PennNet
access), the hotel includes a restaurant, the Ivy Grille, with an entrance
on Walnut Street. Space in the hotel will also be occupied by the
Faculty Club, which vacated its former location in Skinner Hall in
Constructed on the site of a former surface
parking lot, the $120 million project also includes the Penn Bookstore
and an assortment of retail operations. Those opened last summer and fall.
The bookstore has become a new landmark on campus, and the plaza along
36th Street a popular gathering place for students, staff and visitors.
More outdoor seating has been added on the other side of 36th Street,
and a trellis constructed to conceal the loading dock for the Franklin
Sansom Common is also a big step toward "reclaiming"
Walnut Street, which Penn effectively "turned its back on" in
the 1960s. At the time, Hewryk says, officials were intent on creating
a traditional campus core from what had been city streets. Projects like
Van Pelt-Dietrich Library and the Annenberg School and Center look inward,
with entrances that face Locust Walk.
The Annenberg School, though, is currently completing
a $15 million renovation. While the main purpose is to carve out space
in what was the schools auditorium to house the Annenberg Public
Policy Center, the project will also create a new entrance and courtyard
on Walnut Street. The Center itself will overlook Walnut, from windows
cut into the buildings previously blank façade.
At 37th Street, some new construction as well
as renovations to Gimbel Gymnasium will create the Pottruck Health &
Fitness Center, named for David S. Pottruck C70 WG72, who
designated $10 million of a $12 million gift to fund the project. An architect
is to be selected for the project this month, with construction scheduled
to begin early next summer and finish by September 2001.
"We want to have Sansom as a destination
placethe Penn campuss downtown, where, instead of jumping
in a taxi, and going [to Center City], they would stay here," says
Hewryk. "With the bookstore and plaza and the hotel and now the Pottruck
Center, we have this opportunity. There is a fantastic relationship between
the recreational center and the hotel and the surrounding academic space."
Once Whartons new building is complete,
"well have 4,000 kids over there on a daily basis," says
Hewryk. Also bringing new vitality to the corridor will be the conversion
of Skinner Hallwhich will be renamed Addams Hallto studio
space for the Graduate School of Fine Arts. Combine that with the presence
of the Institute for Contemporary Art at 36th Street, and "We have
a very interesting arrangement, almost like a little SoHo over here,"
Hewryk says, with a not-entirely joking laugh.
Site-sensitive, State-of-the-art. By
2002, on the block formerly occupied by the one-story structure
that housed Penns bookstore and an assortment of restaurants and
stores, will rise the $120 million, 320,000-square-foot Huntsman Hall,
which will become the main educational space for Whartons graduate
and undergraduate programs. The design, by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates,
uses materials that include red brick and stone to reflect neighboring
campus buildings. In terms of mass and height, the building is designed
to fit into its "two-sided" site. The side facing Locust Walk
matches the more intimate scale of the traditional campus, while the tower
on Walnut Street is in scale with a parking garage on the other side of
Walnut at 38th and with the Inn at Penn and Bookstore at Sansom Common.
The facility has 48 classrooms and 57 group-study
rooms equipped for multimedia, audio/videoconferencing, video production
and editing, the ability to connect between group workstations and Internet
access. There are also four teaching labs, two study lounges andfor
those occasional non-studying momentsseparate undergraduate and
MBA cafes. Other spaces include a forum able to accommodate 500 people
for special events, a 300-seat auditorium on the ground floor, and, on
the top of the builing, a colloquium area able to accommodate 200 people
and equipped to host meals. The top floor also includes a sky-lit hall
with views of Penns campus and Center City. Funding is from donations,
including $40 million from Jon M. Huntsman W59 Hon96.
Birthday Makeover. An $11 million renovation
of the Law Schools Silverman Hall is under way, with completion
timed to coincide with the historic buildings centennial in November
2000. (Formerly Lewis Hall, the building was renamed for Henry R. Silverman
L64, who gave $15 million to the school for the renovation and other
purposes.) Along with extensive interior work on offices, classrooms and
other spaces, the project will restore the buildings Great Hall
and Grand Stair, including rehabilitation of the marble terrazzo and
mosaic tile floors (covered by linoleum in a 1960s renovation); clean
and repair the building façade and fencing and landscape the perimeter;
and reopen the entrance on 34th Street, closed for more than a decade.
Another Parking Lot Lost? In June, the
University proposed constructing a building combining restaurant and retail
space, classrooms and housing for faculty and students making extended
visits to campus at 34th and Chestnut, next to the Penn-owned Sheraton
Hotel and across the street from the Law School. The University bid $8.2
million to purchase the site, currently a surface parking lot, from the
Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority. Penns bid was the only one,
but still must be approved by the city before a purchase can go through.
The Universitys preliminary proposal envisioned a 250-room residential
facility; a parking garage for 786 cars; 28,000 square feet of retail
and restaurant space, and 120,000 square feet of classroom and research
spacewith a reported pricetag of $111 million