American Institute of Architects Honors Penn’s Skirkanich Hall With Design Award


PHILADELPHIA –- Skirkanich Hall, home to the Bioengineering Department in the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, has received the 2010 Institute Honor Award for Architecture from the American Institute of Architects.

Designed by the firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects and dedicated in 2006, Skirkanich Hall is located along 33rd Street, between Locust Walk and Walnut Street, between two existing SEAS buildings. It features a five-story open atrium with laboratories on either side and functions as a new entry and connector for the buildings.

The AIA jury, when making the award, said of Skirkanich Hall: "a thoughtful use of materials, genius in vertical circulation, solid programmatic
resolution … both delicate and dramatic, all in all a beautiful project."

Covered with mossy green-colored brick that changes with the light of the day, the building contrasts with its traditional red-brick neighbors. The new brick was developed to balance texture, color, durability and stability.

It is cantilevered over the street, and giant glass shingles contrast with the density of the surrounding masonry bringing filtered light into the laboratories. Its interior spaces are enhanced with yellow tile with a changing pattern.

"Skirkanich Hall reflects Penn’s tradition of excellence in contemporary design that addresses the physical and historical context of its surrounding buildings," University Architect David Hollenberg said. "It is a distinguished addition to the Penn campus and will now be nationally recognized with this honor from the AIA."

Credit was also given to project consultants GPR Planners Collaborative and Fisher Marantz Stone, engineers Ambrosino DePinto & Schmeider Severud Associates, landscape architects Edmund Hollander and general contractors Skanska USA Building Inc.