School of Architecture for Penn Design

Author(s)

Project Description

Critic

Martin Finio

The University of Pennsylvania’s design school holds a prominent site on the main quad and acts as the gateway between the city and the university. In contrast to this siting, the design program is characterized by insularity. Contact with the larger university, other disciplines, and the town rarely occurs. To compound this, PennDesign’s multiple degree programs have remained relatively disconnected.

This building threads together PennDesign’s programs with the university and the city. Urbanistically, this linear building buckles at the center to address the opposing grids of the city and the university. On the interior, the studios inhabit two main floors, which serve as the field in which classrooms and offices hang. This creates sectional diversity and allows for visual connections between programs. The exterior of the building echoes the heaviness of Frank Furness’ neighboring Fischer Fine Arts Library with deep apertures and contrasts it with large openings that expose review, exhibit, and studio spaces.