University of Pennsylvania, HWKN, Pennovation Center, Philadelphia, Penn, UPENN, Hollwich Kushner, HWKN architects, DuPont laboratory, adaptive reuse, Pennovation Works, startups

Located south of the University near Center City and University City, the Pennovation Center will provide a space for entrepreneurs, researchers, and industry partners to collaborate and transform innovative ideas into viable business ventures. The program’s dynamic, entrepreneurial spirit is symbolized by the building’s illuminated and multifaceted facade that extrudes out of the building’s north side like a large glass crystal shard. The glazed façade spans all three floors and will serve as a glowing beacon for the Center, bring in generous amounts of natural light, and provide views towards the University’s main campus to the north.

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The interior pays homage to the structure’s industrial past by retaining the garage doors on the eastern façade; the garage doors open up to the ground-floor studio spaces, a design decision that alludes to major companies that had beginnings as startups in home garages. The center also includes meeting rooms, wet and dry labs, social spaces, a central bleacher for presentations, and a variety of private and co-working spaces. The third floor is designed for the research and development phase and, according to HWKN, “will house a unique environment designed to promote fundamental research and accelerate the lab-to-market technology transfer pipeline in robotics, the Internet of things, and embedded systems.”

+ Hollwich Kushner