Penn to build dynamic New College House

Hill Field College House

Facilities and Real Estate Services

A view to the lifted lawn along Woodland Walk.

Next year, Penn will begin construction on the campus’ first-ever residential building specifically designed as a college house.

The New College House at Hill Field will be located on Hill Field, a site bounded by 33rd, 34th, Walnut, and Chestnut streets.

Penn Emeritus Trustee Leonard Lauder W’54, and family members Ronald Lauder W’65, William Lauder W’83, Gary Lauder C’84 W’84, and Aerin Lauder C’92, and Penn Emeritus Trustee Stephen Heyman W’59 and his wife Barbara Heyman have provided funds for the project. The building, designed by the Philadelphia-based firm of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, is expected to be completed by 2016.

“Their contributions go to the very heart of the Penn experience—enriching students’ campus homes so that they are even more satisfying and supportive of academic life,” says Penn President Amy Gutmann.

Penn’s College House system, started 15 years ago, currently has 11 residences that form the dynamic shared communities of undergraduates, faculty, staff, and graduate students within the larger campus context. The houses serve as microcosms of the University’s intellectual variety and strengths, and provide learning opportunities outside of the conventional classroom.

“In 15 years, the College Houses have become enormously successful, and life in a College House has become a touchstone for generations of student experiences at Penn,” Gutmann says.

In 2010, students were surveyed about their preferences for residential and dining options; approximately 25 percent of undergraduates participated, and much of their input was incorporated into the plans for the New College House.

The 198,000-square-foot building, a $127 million project, will house approximately 350 undergraduate students in three-, four, five- and six-bedroom suites, and contain a dining venue, seminar rooms, a media center, and a large multipurpose space for social and cultural activities.

A central courtyard will serve the population of the building and will be able to accommodate a variety of events, including small concerts, barbecues, and other leisure activities.

Currently, 52 percent of Penn’s undergraduates reside within the College House system: 99 percent of the first-year class (2,451 students) and 50 percent (1,263 students) of the second-year class. Third- and fourth-year students comprise the remaining 30 percent of College House residents with equal representation from both classes (approximately 700 per class).

Originally published on November 14, 2013