New Architects for the Campus Expansion


Wasting no time in its push to expand the campus to the east, the University recently selected architecture firms for two projects that are integral to the “Penn Connects” 30-year master plan [“New Campus Dawning,” Sept|Oct, 2006]. 

Crawford Architects, which specializes in adaptive reuse and restoration, will transform part of Franklin Field into a new athletic training center.  The plan calls for converting the northern arcade and interior concourse of the stadium into a two-story, 22,500-square-foot fitness facility.  The tall brick arches will be glassed in, preserving the historic facade.  A coordinated landscape design strategy aims to strengthen the stadium’s connection to the planned 14-acre park that will be built on the old postal lands near the Schuylkill River.  

A few blocks to the north, Penn architecture faculty member Marion Weiss will tackle a quite different challenge: the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology.  Her firm, Weiss/Manfredi, has a respected track record designing multi-use buildings in academic settings.  That expertise will come in especially handy for the Singh Center. 

“I believe this is the first cross-disciplinary building that will link the sciences and engineering together,” said Weiss.  “That’s a unique goal of the University, and it’s a unique building that is a legible acknowledgement of that commitment.”

The nature of nanotechnology research entails a variety of specific technical demands, like bio-clean rooms and vibration-free areas, but Weiss hopes to create a building that will also engage people who don’t come to work in white laboratory coats.  The building’s location on the 3200 block of Walnut Street is “tremendously important” to Penn’s connection with Center City and to the University’s identity, she said.

“Being able to calibrate its ability to function incredibly well but also have a kind of presence,” she added, “is personally extremely important.” —T.P

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