The University of Pennsylvania is welcoming students to its newest campus building—the LEED Silver-seeking New College House. Designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and Michael Vergason Landscape Architects, the energy-efficient building is the school’s first purpose-built college house that will bring together undergraduates, graduates, faculty, and staff in a shared community. The sustainable structure and site is topped with a series of green roofs as part of the University’s new environmentally friendly standards that require new Penn buildings meet LEED Silver standards or higher.
Located at a major campus gateway, the 198,000-square-foot New College House (NCH) facade combines the University’s iconic red brick and limestone materials with large vertical glass towers that let in natural light, frame views, and give the building a modern appearance. The seven-story NCH includes suite-style residences to house 350 students, along with living spaces for faculty, graduate students, fellows, house deans, and residential advisers. Community is at the heart of the design and as such, the building has many shared common areas, including a movie-screening room, music practice spaces, and study and lounge areas on every floor. A large dining area with a kitchen is located on the top level.
“In this city of neighborhoods, we sought to embrace the many scales of community that define the collegiate experience unique to Penn,” says Frank Grauman, design principal from Bohlin Cywinski Jackson’s Philadelphia office. “The New College House is, therefore, both inviting and secure, open and private, embodying the comfort of home, and the power to form a campus gateway worthy of this place.”
Built to meet LEED Silver standards, the NCH is topped with green eco-roofs with 95 percent water retention. The dining facility is covered with a sloping green roof that doubles as an open lawn. Stormwater will be further managed with a below-grade cistern, while a soil management system aims to reduce erosion. Low-flow and low-consumption plumbing fixtures installed throughout the building will help reduce water usage. Energy recovery units, high-efficiency lighting, and access to natural light will keep energy use to a minimum.
Images © Jeffrey Totaro and Greg Benson