Architect Picked for
New College House


More than 30 years after Penn built its last College House, the University has selected an architecture firm to design a new one to be situated on Hill Field.  Patkau Architects, a Vancouver-based firm whose portfolio includes libraries, residences, and a variety of academic buildings, is expected to draw up plans by as early as this fall.

The University envisions a “Quad-like” format that will retain the open character of what is currently public space by means of publicly accessible openings at three corners of the large block as well as a porous entrance aligned with Sansom Street.  The Women’s Walkway, which cuts a diagonal path across Hill Field, would be preserved as a key gateway the campus core.

“Essentially you’d have three buildings—one on 33rd, one on 34th, and one on Chestnut,” says University spokesman Tony Sorrentino. “They’d all be very thin buildings, and then you would try to preserve as much green space as possible.  But there would be no buildings that would front onto the Walk—to keep it kind of open and green on either side.”

Patkau is already familiar with the site, having undertaken a development study for the proposed construction in 2004.  In accordance with the University’s commitment to environmental sustainability, Penn hopes to secure a LEED rating of Gold or higher from the U.S. Green Building Council for the project. 

“Our new Hill Square College House will not only help to meet the great demand for more on-campus living choices,” Penn President Amy Gutmann said, “but, with a design that will fulfill our College House vision of a 24/7 learning community, the building also will enrich Penn’s undergraduate experience while bringing a vibrant, neighborhood feel to the vicinity around Hill Square.” —T.P.

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