The University of Pennsylvania’s Board of Trustees has approved the design development for converting a former DuPont laboratory and research warehouse into a seminal component of a new campus hub for entrepreneurs, researchers, and innovators, according to ArchDaily.
The three-story, 58,000-sf Pennovation Center, as it’s being called, will be at the heart of Pennovation Works, a blend of offices, labs, and production spaces situated within 23 acres along the Schuykill River and adjacent to the university’s main campus in Philadelphia.
The $37.5 million first phase includes investment for the Pennovation Center, site landscaping, infrastructure improvements, signage and branding. The center is scheduled to open in the summer of 2016.
“The Pennovation Center design creates a truly iconic landmark for Penn’s innovation ecosystem and a dynamic hub for Penn’s culture of innovation and interdisciplinary collaboration,” says Amy Gutmann, Penn’s President.
She adds that the center would bring the University’s eminent researchers, scientists, and extraordinary students together with the private sector to “foster creative exploration, entrepreneurship and new alliances and to generate economic development for the region.”
The Building Team on this project includes HWKN as its design architect, KSS Architects (architect of record), Land Collective (landscape architect), Bruce Mau Design (design consultant), Ballinger (structural and MEP engineer), Focus (lighting consultant), and Atelier Ten (sustainability consultant).
Pennovation Center “creates a diverse mix of environments suitable for privacy, collaboration, socialization and the business side of growing a company,” says HWKN Principal Matthias Hollwich.
Two floors of the Pennovation Center are designed to support individual entrepreneurs and startups from the university and the private sector seeking affordable and flexible office space. The center will host workshops, programs, and professional-development resources for the community. These floors will include wet and dry labs with shared lab-support equipment, meeting rooms and social areas.
The Penn Engineering Field Research Center will occupy the third floor, integrating computer science and electrical, mechanical and systems engineering. (Penn Engineering is expected to open its lab in this building in the fall of 2015.)
The design plans show a northern façade of the center that bursts from the grid of the repurposed former industrial warehouse with illuminated angular panes of glass. A series of garage doors on the eastern façade opens directly to studio spaces for some of the teams that will work in the building. The interior design includes a central bleacher space, which organizes an open environment for events and a place for people to network and share ideas.