Stewards of the University collection

Planning chief and multiple alumnus Mark Kocent is named University Architect.

The first contribution that Mark Kocent made to Penn’s architectural heritage came when he was a senior and his design was chosen for the Class of 1982 Ivy Stone. His sphere of influence has expanded since then.

Mark Kocent

In June, Kocent was named University Architect in the Division of Facilities and Real Estate, succeeding David Hollenberg, who retired last summer. But he won’t need help finding his way around the office. His new position followed a 14-year stint as Penn’s principal planner, managing the creation of Penn Connects, the University’s 30-year master plan.

“Collectively, we’re the stewards of this wonderful collection of 180 or 200 buildings that date back to the 1870s,” Kocent says, explaining the work of the Office of the University Architect.

“When a school or center comes to us and says, ‘We’d like to do a major renovation, or we’d like to do a new building that’s really going to be the game-changer or the strategic initiative for our school for the next five or 10 years,’” he says, the University architect provides expertise in “helping them define what they want and then hiring the architect.”

And while they don’t do design work internally, they do consult with the architects on the design throughout the process. “That’s the lasting piece that we leave for generations of Penn.” 

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