PennDesign Architecture School
2nd Year Core Studio
The new PennDesign School explores the Interdisciplinary aspect of our pedagogy. Architecture is ultimately not insular, and instead is an amalgamation of different fields ranging from sociology to material science, to ecological sciences, surmounting to its potential to influence fields beyond itself. The new building therefore takes form of an knot between the three strands of design facilitating interdisciplinary interaction- Atelier, Confluence and Fabrication.
Situated at the cornerstone of University of Pennsylvania’s Blanche Levy quadrangle along the historic woodland walk that links the campus to the Amtrak station, it was critical to address the different strands of public the new school facilitates, and as such different entry points into the building.
The building primarily focuses on the convergence of these different strands: students, general academic public and the public in general, which is expressed in the porosity of the lower floors. The upper floors houses architecture studios and workshops which become part of PennDesign’s identity.
The knot of confluence, atelier and fabrication houses the fundamental principle that architecture as a discipline builds real, physical and tangible space with the aid, exploration and manipulation of materials.
As such fabrication tools and studios are nestled and integrated with one another while conference space on the lower level marks the school as a learning field within the larger architecture sphere we operate in, facilitating in interdisciplinary and inter agency learning beyond the boundaries of the university.
Its aesthetics then follows an assembly of parts, where each strand of design is characterized by explicitly different materials- aluminum screens, wood structures, screens and slats atop a textured concrete base, tied up together. Because ultimately, architecture is never solitary, but products of collaborative processes.