Metal and Glass, Grass and Trees Shape State-of-the-Art Facility

December 20, 2012

When the Singh Center for Nanotechnology opens in the Spring, Penn will add to its campus a premier facility that integrates state-of-the-art nanocharacterization, nanofabrication, and property measurement facilities. A sloping grassy quad in front of the Singh Center will bring a new campus green to the eastern edge of campus. Atop the building, a park-like green roof will treat building occupants to trees and benches in shady spots for breaks and lunches. While a quad and small park may seem like basic additions to such a high-tech building, there’s nothing simple about the trees, plants and grassy surfaces integrated in this $88 million facility.

Like all new buildings at Penn, the Singh Center has been designed with an eye to achieving a minimum LEED Silver certification. The high-performance research equipment inside the building will not overshadow the complex design of the building and the landscape, which together create another exemplary addition of sustainable design to the campus. According to project architects Weiss/Manfredi, the green roof, garden terrace and landscaped surfaces of the quad work together to collect rainwater for irrigation and mitigate storm surge impacts as required by the Philadelphia Water Department.

On the outside, pleated metal panels provide a highly efficient insulated exterior wall, while the glass façade lining the courtyard (treated with reflective class coatings and enamel frit patterns) brings light into the core of the building and minimizes heat gain. Read more about this new facility on the Penn Connects website


Penn’s urban campus has over 2 miles of dedicated bike lanes, 5,050 bike parking spots, and 2 free bike repair stations.

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