University of Pennsylvania – Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics

  • area / size 100,000 sqft
  • Completed 2018
  • KPMB Architects has fused together heritage and contemporary design for the University of Pennsylvania’s Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics located Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    This 110,000 square-foot project includes the adaptive reuse and renovation of the 1920s, Art Deco West Philadelphia Title and Trust Company building, as well as a new modern addition to the north. On the façade, the Art Deco exterior of the vertical-style, limestone bank has been restored, and is now complemented by the abstract, geometric glass and aluminum of the new addition – all while maintaining a clear contrast between the heritage and contemporary architecture. The transparency of the addition’s first floor connects the academic sphere with public life, while upper levels offer sweeping views of the Philadelphia skyline. Inside, the spaces are seamlessly integrated and completely contemporary. A steel and terrazzo stair in the space between old and new connects the first three levels, and the central core of levels two and three is clad in oak to add warmth and texture.

    The Perelman Center includes various spaces for student collaboration. The western portion of the Art Deco double-height banking hall is repurposed as a two-story lounge, with seating organized to the rhythm of the eight large vertical windows framed by cast iron. On the second level, the Forum, a multi-purpose space with capacity for 72 people, overlooks the lounge.

    Natural lighting is used throughout the Perelman Center with strategic applications of translucent and transparent glass windows and walls achieve a light-filled, connected environment to inspire team work and the sharing of ideas and insights.

    Indigo blue, an accent color woven throughout the scheme, is inspired by UPenn’s signature blue, and occurs in a range of intensities, from soft blue-grey tones in the terrazzo floors, denim tones in the auditorium’s stained wood walls, and vivid indigo along upper level corridors.

    The building features water efficient landscaping including the use of native or adapted vegetation, a 20% reduction in overall water use, and optimal energy performance for heating and cooling of the building.

    ArchitectKPMB Architects
    Civil Engineer: Stantec, Trefz Engineering
    Landscape Architect: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.
    Mechanical and Electrical Engineers: AHA Consulting Engineers
    Structural Engineers: Keast & Hood Co.
    Sustainability Consultant: Atelier Ten
    PhotographyAdrien Williams