University of Pennsylvania The Pennovation Center

Philadelphia, PA
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The three-story Pennovation Center is the centerpiece of a new, 23-acre campus at the University of Pennsylvania dedicated to entrepreneurship and innovation. The site sits along the southern bank of the Schuylkill River and adjacent to the University’s Main Campus. The Pennovation Center houses two floors of co-working space while the third floor is occupied by the Penn Engineering Field Research Center, which integrates computer science and electrical, mechanical, and systems engineering.

The project scope included the complete renovation of an existing industrial building, used by DuPont for materials-science research from 1917 to 2009, into a center for research, innovation, and entrepreneurship. The building’s northern façade features angular windowpanes allowing for natural light and unique views of the river, Penn’s campus, and the Center City skyline. The interior space includes state-of-the-art wet and dry labs, a bar, a board room, and bleacher seating that organizes an open environment for events and a place for inventors to network, share ideas, and pitch to investors.

Hunter Roberts performed sitework and infrastructure improvements for Pennovation Plaza and the surrounding landscape to establish a connection from the site’s perimeter inward and form a central, active, outdoor hub for tenants, as well as an instrumented, outdoor lab where the design and testing of robots within a netted enclosure provides passersby with a look into the developments occurring within the Center. BIM was utilized for trade coordination, utility locations, and for the north angular steel facade addition. LEED Gold Certified.

University of Pennsylvania
HWKN (Hollwich Kushner)
KSS Architects
69,310 SF
Completion Date
July 2016
2017 Preservation Achievement Grand Jury Award: Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia
2016 Community Impact Award: CREW Philadelphia
2016 Best of Design, Adaptive Reuse Honorable Mention: The Architect’s Newspaper
Photo Credits
Michael Moran/OTTO
AC Photo