Penn Trustees Approve Design for Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics

The Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics has received design development approval from the University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees. The Center’s design by Toronto-based KPMB Architects incorporates the rehabilitation of the existing West Philadelphia Title and Trust Company building at 133 S. 36th St. with a significant addition to its north. The project is planned to begin construction in December.

The 100,000-square-foot center will house the departments of Political Science and Economics in Penn Arts & Sciences, with courses critical to some of the School’s most popular majors including economics, political science, international relations and the interdisciplinary philosophy, politics and economics program.

“The Perelman Center will help the School achieve a key priority reuniting the department of political science under one roof and putting both economics and political science faculty members in close proximity to their related research centers, graduate students and undergraduates,” said Dean Steven J. Fluharty. “At a time when great issues that intertwine politics and economics are central to research and teaching in both disciplines, a wide range of productive synergies is likely to result.”

Six academic and research centers will also be re-located to the new building. These include the: Center for Advanced Study of India; Christopher H. Browne Center for International Politics; Center for the Study of Contemporary China; Penn Program on Democracy, Citizenship and Constitutionalism; Penn Institute for Economic Research; and Penn Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies.

The center’s north addition will feature a new façade that resonates with the vertical style of the historic West Philadelphia Title and Trust Co. building. The main entrance will be on 36th Street at the intersection of old and new buildings. Inside, old and new will connect with the addition having a double height space for the ground floor, enhancing the impact of the heritage windows. The addition’s exterior palette of silver metal, frosted and clear glass is also designed to complement the historic limestone façade.

“This project integrates careful retention and reuse of the existing building with a major new addition that is deeply responsive to it and yet frankly contemporary,” said University Architect David Hollenberg. “This marriage of preservation, reuse and strong contemporary design within one project is exemplary of our broader approach to managing change across the entire campus.” 

Completion of the Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics is anticipated in spring 2018. 

Additional information about Penn Connects and the Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics is available at

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