Penn’s New Innovation Hub, Pennovation Center Awarded Gold LEED Status for Environmental Design

The University of Pennsylvania’s Pennovation Center has been awarded LEED Gold status for new construction by the U.S. Green Building Council, a coveted recognition of best-in-class building strategies for energy and environmental design. 

The three-story, 58,000-square-foot Pennovation Center, which officially opened in October 2016 is Penn’s new hub for innovation and new business ventures at 3401 Grays Ferry Ave. The Center is a successful adaptive reuse project with a design that maintains an industrial aesthetic, incorporating the repurposed former industrial paint factory warehouse.

“We worked hard to create a green building and are honored to have achieved Gold Status,” said Anne Papageorge, vice president for Facilities and Real Estate Services at Penn. “The Pennovation Center reinforces Penn’s commitment to sustainability objectives and preservation goals. The building puts an emphasis on integrating aspects of ecological stewardship, creating a healthy, light-filled indoor environment and reducing greenhouse gasses through energy-efficient design.” 

The creative design team which collaborated with Penn on the project includes Hollwich Kushner, design architect; KSS Architects, architect of record; landscape architects Land Collective; engineering firm Ballinger, and branding consultants Bruce Mau Design.       

The Pennovation Center’s modern design integrates wet and dry labs with co-working space on the first two floors. An iconic façade with illuminated angular panes of glass reflects the robust creativity and entrepreneurial activity taking place inside. It allows for natural light and unique views of the Schuylkill River, Penn’s campus and the Center City skyline.

In achieving the LEED Gold status, the building was cited for its green features, notably as an adaptive reuse project more than 90% of the existing concrete from the original warehouse at the site was preserved in the construction of the center. Additionally, the Pennovation Center uses storm water irrigation and an aluminum grid shading system. Landscaping for the entire Pennovation Works site includes storm water management techniques, increased connections between buildings and access to Schuylkill River trails. 

The Pennovation Center has received a number of other accolades for its design and focus on preservation through adaptive reuse, including recognition from the Urban Land Institute, Preservation Alliance, Wired Magazine, Fast Company and more.

The Pennovation Center has also been recognized with a number of  recognizing its design and focus on preservation through adaptive reuse. 

Additional information about the Pennovation Center at the Pennovation Works site is available at  

Pennovation Works Aerial