New Laurels for an Ivy
UNIV. OF PENN. DEPT. OF FACILITIES & REAL ESTATE SERVICES
Client Univ. of Pennsylvania
Architect MGA Partners, Philadelphia
Building Type Offices for university's department of facilities and real estate
A bold makeover created a suite of open-plan offices at the University of Pennsylvania
Last year, the University of Pennsylvania won an award for deftly turning a chilled-water plant into a sculptural entry point to the campus. This year, it wins for transforming another mundane building, the Facilities & Real Estate Services Dept. The $6 million project--18 months in design and construction--converted a 1929 railroad warehouse into a magnet for the university community in a remote section of the sprawling Philadelphia campus. The track level of the building was converted into a cluster of open-plan offices flooded with natural light, opening up to a new campus green intended as a focus of future development. Entry is through a concrete-and-glass building that frames the original loading dock and hoist assembly. The second floor is linked to elevated Walnut Street, while upper floors were converted to apartments. At $100 per square foot, cost was half the university standard.