KVA won the invited competition for the new Law School building at the University of Pennsylvania. KVA’s design makes a clear urban transition between historic Silverman Hall, one of the finest buildings on the University of Pennsylvania Campus, and the smaller three story row houses on Sansom Street. KVA was charged by the Law School’s Dean Michael Fitts and the Building Committee leadership to create a new public entry that would be able to represent the stature and dignity of the Law School, welcome the public, and connect Sansom Street with the Law School Courtyard, an important green space that unifies the Law School Building quadrangle. KVA’s design uses an undulating brick cavity wall system with brickwork scripting (3D modeling software) to create depth and texture with the traditional Flemish bond brickwork that is used on the Law School Campus. Marble panels shade the large windows, and the building’s marble cornice is designed to catch reflected sunlight, creating a play of light where the building meets the sky.

The new building reflects the collaborative pedagogy of the U Penn Law School, by creating a horizontal circulation band that links the new building with the existing buildings on the entry and second levels and strengthens visual connections to the spatial centre of the Courtyard. A north south stair system creates fluid visual links between Courtyard and Street and connects a versatile set of flexible collaboration spaces. KVA worked very closely with the Law School Faculty and administrators in the architectural development of the Law School’s program, establishing a flow of space between the 350 seat auditorium, Moot Court and Student Center on the ground floor, the public entry and Administration on the first floor, Faculty offices on the second floor, and conference room facilities on the third floor with a roof top garden overlooking the Law School Courtyard.

Date: 2012
Status: Completed
Client: University of Pennsylvania
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Design Team:
Frano Violich, FAIA; Managing Principal
Sheila Kennedy, FAIA; Principal Consulting on Design
Veit Kugel Dipling; Senior Associate; Project Designer
Gregory Burchard AIA LEED AP; Senior Associate
Susan Morgan AIA LEED AP, Chris Ryan, Charles Garcia, Shaun Morris, Ben Gramann
Architect: Kennedy & Violich Architecture, Ltd
AV & Acoustic Consultant: Cavanaugh Tocci Associates, Inc
Civil Engineer: Stantec Consulting
Code Consultant: Hughes Associates, Inc
Landscape Architect: Richard Burke Associates, Inc
Lighting Consultant: Tillotson Design Associates
MEPFP Engineer & Sustainability Consultant: AHA Consulting Engineers, Inc
Structural Engineer: Richmond So Engineers, Inc
Photographer: Halkin/Mason Photography

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UPenn Law School