The Pennovation Center, Philadelphia University of Pennsylvania Building, Architect, Design
The Pennovation Center
University of Pennsylvania Building, Philadelphia – design by HWKN, architects
2 Mar 2015
The Pennovation Center in Philadelphia
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
“The Pennovation Center design creates a truly iconic landmark for Penn and will be a dynamic hub for Penn’s culture of innovation and interdisciplinary collaboration,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “The Center is designed to bring together the University’s eminent researchers, scientists and students, along with the private sector, to foster creative exploration, entrepreneurship, new alliances, and generate economic development for the region.”
The design is the result of a successful collaborative and creative process between Penn, HWKN (Design Architect), KSS Architects (Architect of Record), Land Collective (Landscape Architect), Bruce Mau Design (Design
Consultants), Ballinger (Structural and MEP Engineering), Focus (Lighting) and Atelier Ten (Sustainability). Through workshops and charrettes, each party contributed to the vision of the broader site as well as the architecture, landscape, identity, signage and program.
“Having personally navigated through the startup experience ourselves when we launched HWKN and Architizer, we understand the needs and challenges of emerging companies,” said HWKN Principal Matthias Hollwich. “To create a dream space for innovators and entrepreneurs, we wanted to celebrate the rawness of the former factory and place emphasis on creating a diverse mix of environments suitable for privacy, collaboration, socializing and the business side of growing a company. The building encapsulates the energy and productivity of Penn and Philadelphia, and in the near future will be directly contributing to both,” added Marc Kushner of HWKN.
The plan calls for the transformation of an existing industrial building into a focal point with a faceted northern facade that bursts from the existing building. Reaching toward the University’s main campus to the north, the illuminated facade is both a beacon for the Center and the interface where invention meets business.
Inside, the Pennovation Center incorporates an array of areas calibrated for both private and collaborative activity including co-work desk space, meeting rooms, wet and dry labs, social spaces and a central bleacher dedicated to the various presentations that infant startups make to woo investors and supporters. A series of garage doors on the eastern facade open directly to ground-floor studio spaces, a nod to the many groundbreaking companies that began out of a home garage.
The third floor will house a unique environment designed to promote fundamental research and accelerate the lab-to-market technology transfer pipeline in robotics, the internet of things and embedded systems. Surrounding the Pennovation Center, a generous plaza and landscape will incorporate green infrastructure, the naturalization of lawn to wildflower meadows and native planting which unifies the site while reducing the need for irrigation and preparing for future expansions. Within the landscape is an instrumented, outdoor laboratory that enables the validation of highperformance outdoor aerial and ground robots. The netted enclosure provides passers by with an intriguing look into the developments occurring within the upper portion of the Pennovation Center.
The Pennovation Center is a cutting edge home for the next generation of entrepreneurship in the region and its design is both an inspiration and a facilitator of the University’s innovation. The Pennovation Center is scheduled to open in the summer of 2016 with the Penn Engineering lab opening in the fall of 2015.
The Pennovation Center – Building Information
Title: The Pennovation Center
Location: Pennovation Works, University of Pennsylvania
Completion: SUMMER 2016
Design Architect: HWKN (Hollwich Kushner)
Architect of Record: KSS Architects
Landscape Architect: Land Collective
Design Consultant: Bruce Mau Design
Structural & MEP Engineering: Ballinger
Lighting: Focus Lighting
Sustainability: Atelier Ten
The Pennovation Center in Philadelphia images / information from HWKN
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Website: The Pennovation Center