Ask Benny: Tell me, is this public art or something else?

Dear Benny,
What are the two structures outside of the Facilities building (at 3160 Chestnut St.) near the field? One looks like some sort of a tennis referee stand and the other is a recent concrete addition that looks like an inverted “L.”
— Not Sure What I’m Looking At

Dear Observant Onlooker,
According to Tony Sorrentino in the office of Facilities and Real Estate Services, the two structures in the area outside the Facilities building (known as Highline Park) that look like outdoor sculpture or public art actually represent “mock up” versions of buildings on campus. One of those structures is complete, and the other is a work in progress.

The structure on stilts that looks like a tennis referee stand is constructed from the exterior building material of the Pottruck Fitness Center. Sorrentino says that Facilities constructed this mock up prior to Pottruck being built to observe how the materials looked and held up under different conditions.

The other structure, which is made from cement, is a mock up of the building surface of the new Skirkanich Hall, located in the engineering quad at 210 S. 33rd St. The construction method for that building required a working model to be built for experiments with concrete pouring techniques. Sorrentino adds that, “not every building requires a mock up, but those that utilize innovative architecture and building techniques are best served by using this technique.”

For more information on construction projects around campus, go to www.facilities.upenn.edu and click on “Current Construction.”


Originally published on July 7, 2005