When the Penn community left for winter break in December, the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology on the 3200 block of Walnut Street appeared to be little more than a foundation at street level. But now passers-by are greeted by a towering steel frame at the eastern edge of campus, bringing the project a tangible step closer to its projected spring 2013 completion.
The Gilbane Building Company, based in Rhode Island, is managing the construction of the $91 million facility, designed by Weiss/Manfredi architects of New York. The building will feature steel and glass exterior walls encompassing 78,000 square feet of microscopy laboratories, optics labs, and a 10,000-square-foot, environmentally controlled clean room. Labs in the L-shaped building will sit around an open quad, and it will also feature conference rooms, a public galleria, and a forum with views of campus and the city. Penn alumnus and University Trustee Krishna Singh provided a $20 million naming gift for the building.
The ground-breaking for the Singh Center occurred about a year ago. Now, with the steel frame in place, it is becoming easier to envision the building that will combine the resources of the School of Engineering and Applied Science with those of the School of Arts & Sciences.
“It is gratifying to watch the rapid progress of the Singh Center’s construction,” says Eduardo Glandt, dean of Penn Engineering. “Each step forward brings our researchers and students that much closer to accessing state-of-the-art facilities and the deep potential of nanotechnology.”
The building is expected to be not only a regional leader in nanotech, but also an exemplar of environmentally aware construction. Builders are targeting LEED Silver certification with eco-conscious practices such as diverting construction waste from landfills, installing a green roof, and optimizing energy efficiency in the finished structure.
Originally published on January 26, 2012