Designed by 1100 Architect, Perry World House serves as the University of Pennsylvania’s new hub for global engagement. The space allows affiliates from each of the university’s 12 schools to address international affairs in a cross-disciplinary way. To accommodate the organization’s diverse programs, the 17,400-square-foot building includes a range of spaces, including classrooms, meeting rooms, 14 offices, a 50-person conference room, and common areas, all designed to encourage interaction. At its core is the World Forum, a glass-enclosed atrium with a capacity of up to 150 seats that serves as a dynamic multi-use event space capable of hosting seminars, lectures, and special events.
Located at the heart of the University of Pennsylvania campus, the limestone-clad building sits at the intersection of the main pedestrian route, Locust Walk, and the busy urban thoroughfare of 38th Street. Perry World House mediates these different conditions by modulating its scale accordingly, responding to both the domestic scale to its south and west and to the busy urban scale to its north and east. The design also orchestrates circulation on campus, creating pathways between the building and the surrounding university landmarks and adding a pedestrian ramp between Locust Walk and 38th Street that better connects the campus with the city.
1100 Architect elected to salvage and reconstruct, per historic documentation, a portion of an existing house built in 1851. Doing this allows the new building to relate to the domestic scale of the adjacent campus buildings to its west, such as the Kelly Writers House. The extant structure also helps to reference Philadelphia’s westward expansion during the 19th century. The original stucco house most recently served as a fraternity house.
On track for LEED Silver certification, the project incorporates several sustainable design features, including abundant natural light (direct views out from 98% of occupied spaces), stormwater capture (90% of the average annual rainfall), energy-efficient fixtures, and materials with high recycled content.
“With its open and flexible spaces, Perry World House reflects and supports the aims of the institution it houses," says 1100 Architect founding principal David Piscuskas, FAIA. "We have created an environment, filled with natural light, where different points of view can be discussed in different types of settings. Transparency between spaces reinforces an emphasis on cooperation between academic disciplines and different world views, while the dialogue of a 19th-century cottage and a 21st-century building gives form to the timelessness of these pursuits.”
“Perry World House is designed to serve a very serious purpose while being welcoming and comfortable. This dual intent is expressed on its primary facade, with the blunt and provocative adjacency of its new institutional scale and preexisting residential scale components. The turn clearly expresses the university's desire to look to its past and its future, all at once and in one place,” says University of Pennsylvania campus architect David Hollenberg, AIA.
At the University of Pennsylvania, the limestone-clad Perry World House is a hub for global entertainment that sensitively addresses its context.
The hub mediates different conditions surrounding it by modulating its scale and responding to the domestic scale to its south and west, as well as the busy urban scale to the north and east. A portion of an existing house built in 1851 was salvaged and further helps to address the domestic scale of adjacent campus buildings to the western side in particular.
Both new and old are unified by a limestone cladding. This particular stone was chosen by the architects for its directional veining and consistent colour. Durability was also a factor in selecting this material. The technical properties of limestone mean that it will hold up in freeze-thaw conditions, which are the most demanding on stone. The project also features several sustainable design features, including abundant natural light, energy-efficient fixtures and materials with a high recycled content.
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The stone that was selected for this project was vein cut and was selected for it directional veining and consistent character. The specific bench of Jura that was used has been consistent in color for years and has been able to provide stone for various large projects consistently. Furthermore the height of the bench allows for large piece sizes to be obtained which was important for the design. The technical properties of the stone allow it to hold up in freeze-thaw conditions which are most demanding on the stone. It also allows for large sizes to be delivered in minimal thicknesses.