The newest building at the University of Pennsylvania also happens to be the oldest. This curious marriage of new and old is the Perry World House, the university’s new hub for international affairs. Designed by 1100 Architect, the academic building merges a historic 19th century structure with a modern new-build into a LEED Silver-seeking research center with open and flexible spaces.
Completed in 2016, the Perry World House is a 17,400-square-foot academic center that combines a historic house built in 1851 with a new limestone-clad structure. As a center for global and multidisciplinary engagement, the building offers a wide range of spaces including classrooms, meeting rooms, 14 offices, a 50-person conference room, and common rooms open to affiliates from the university’s 12 schools. A glass-enclosed atrium called the World Forum occupies the building’s heart and is used as a multipurpose events space.
The historic house was salvaged and its fake limestone stucco referenced in the new addition clad in real limestone. Merging old and new architectural styles has the added benefit of matching both the pedestrian scale of Locust Walk on one side and the busy, urban scale of 38th Street on the other. In addition the project’s adaptive reuse, the Perry World House is on track to achieve LEED Silver certification with its many sustainable design features, such as the maximization of daylighting, stormwater management with a 90% capture rate of the average annual rainfall, energy-efficient fixtures, and use of recycled materials.
“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.”
Images © Greg Benson