The University of Pennsylvania’s $127 million New College House opened for the 2016-17 academic year as the first new student residence on campus since 1972. Designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ) in collaboration with the University, the first purpose-built College House brings together undergraduates, faculty, staff and graduate students in a shared suite-style community. The 198,000-square-foot, 350-bed building promotes sustainable, 21st century living and learning, and is pursuing LEED Silver certification.
Supporting the project’s energy-efficient and environmentally responsible operations, Wausau Window and Wall Systems’ curtainwall, windows and sun shades balance natural light and comfortable interiors. New College House’s large, vertical transparent towers feature Wausau’s products and frame the views of Penn’s surrounding campus community and Center City Philadelphia. Bounded by Woodland Walk and 34th and Chestnut streets, the seven-story building with a publicly accessible, lifted lawn serves as a pedestrian gateway to campus.
“In this city of neighborhoods, we sought to embrace the many scales of community that define the collegiate experience unique to Penn,” says Frank Grauman, design principal from BCJ. “The New College House is, therefore, both inviting and secure, open and private, embodying the comfort of home, and the power to form a campus gateway worthy of this place.”
BCJ’s Sam McNutt agrees and elaborates, “Penn is a well-established campus with many older buildings. New College House is its newest residential hall that represents a step in a new direction, while honoring the fabric of campus. Taking cues from its surroundings, such as Hill House’s brick and the law school’s limestone, it’s heavy on the masonry.”
McNutt continues, “Unlike many of the older buildings, New College House also incorporates much more glass bringing in natural light and transparency. Used mainly in the common and circulation areas, the glass helps break up the masonry portions and provides connections between the student community within the building and out to the campus and the public.”
Bringing this vision to reality, INTECH Construction began work on the college housing complex in December 2013. “The building’s skin was incredibly complex, so the window systems were one of the last things to go in,” explains Zach Baron, senior project manager at INTECH. “National Glass & Metal had a six- to eight-person team working on site for almost a year. It was substantially completed in February 2016. Overall, it went very well working with them and with Wausau. Now that it’s done, I’m happy, the owner’s happy and it looks great.”