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Pulitzer Prize-Winner Inga Saffron Writes About Pennovation

The University of Pennsylvania’s Board of Trustees and the University President, Dr. Amy Gutmann, have unveiled the bold design for the Pennovation Center – the University’s new home for entrepreneurs, researchers and innovators on a site along the Schuylkill River adjacent to Penn’s campus. The 58,000 sq. ft. Center will be the first major development within the University’s 23-acre site known as Pennovation Works. LAND COLLECTIVE has been working collaboratively with design architect HWKN and architect-of-record, KSS, and with the graphic design firm Bruce Mau Design. Read more about the collaboration in Pulitzer Prize-winning Architectural Critic Inga Saffron’s Philadelphia Inquirer article, “Changing Skyline: Cheaper, More Dramatic, and Funkier Space for Start-ups.

LAND COLLECTIVE energized the original master plan vision by focusing attention on the Central Plaza, emphasizing the energy of collaboration as radiating through the revitalized Pennovation Works site and the Pennovation Center building. HWKN’s interpretation of this goal is unique and dramatic. As additional buildings come on-line, it is hoped that future designs will express this vitality in a similarly dynamic manner on outward-facing, city-focused façades.

The design of the site focuses key visual corridors to the core of the site with uninterrupted views from the 34th Street Bridge and from the intersection of Gray’s Ferry and 34th Street. A central plaza with custom seating and bold paving patterns encourages outdoor gathering, fostering idea generation through serendipitous encounters. The social spaces are designed to encourage opportunities for chance meetings and scheduled events, large and small. Set at an angle that complements the new radiating pattern of the site, the Penn Engineering lab – an outdoor arena for aviator robotics testing – informs one side of the new plaza and is the first structure to suggest angles for future build-out. An expansive wildflower meadow acts as a short-term land-bank planting strategy that instantly enhances the ecology of the site and is part of a site-wide stormwater management strategy.

Please visit the new Pennovation Works website, designed by Bruce Mau Design, for additional information on the project.