The University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees today approved the design for a new 250,000 sq. ft. residential building, New College House West. The building will become the second to be built specifically designed as a college house, Penn’s residential system that brings together undergraduates, faculty, staff and graduate students to form shared communities within the larger context of Penn's vibrant campus.
The new undergraduate college house will occupy a site bounded by Locust Walk, Walnut Street and 40th Street, adjacent to the West Philadelphia branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, which will remain open.
“This exciting project will serve as a new western gateway to campus,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “Since the College House system was introduced in 1998, it has become enormously successful, forming intellectually dynamic and supportive, shared communities within the larger Penn community. Life in a college house has come to define the undergraduate experience at Penn, providing learning and co-curricular opportunities outside of the conventional classroom.
“New College House West will enable more Penn students to participate in the College House system, and it will also give us the capacity and flexibility to continue renovating existing student housing.”
Designed by Philadelphia-based, internationally-renowned Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects, the firm that recently completed the New College House at Hill Field, the three-year 450-bed residence will house sophomores, juniors and seniors. With a mix of 6- and 5-bedroom two-bath suites and 4-, 3- and 2-bedroom one-bath suites, New College House West will also provide many programmatic common areas including study, living, seminar and music practice rooms.
Penn will continue its commitment to sustainable design, targeting LEED Silver certification for this project. The design introduces both a private courtyard for residents and green roofs and maintains public green spaces adjacent to Locust Walk, north of Harrison College House and east of Rodin College House, as well as the space near Gregory College House. These common green spaces are openly accessible to public pedestrian access and available as gathering spaces and for University and community events. During construction alternative spaces will be identified on Penn’s campus for hosting such events.
The $163-million project will begin construction in spring of 2018 and is expected to open for occupancy in fall of 2021.
Additional information on Penn’s College House system is at https://www.collegehouses.upenn.edu.