21st Century Living
New residence hall brings students together
in shared suite-style community
The University of Pennsylvania's $127 million New College House in Philadelphia opened for
the 2016-17 academic year as the first new student residence on
campus since 1972. Designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ), Philadelphia, in
collaboration with the University, the first purpose-built College
House brings together undergraduates, faculty, staff and graduate
students in a shared suite-style community. The
198,000-square-foot, 350-bed building promotes sustainable, 21st
century living and learning, and is pursuing LEED Silver
A Pedestrian Gateway
Supporting the project's energy-efficient and
environmentally responsible operations, Wausau, Wis.-based Wausau Window
and Wall Systems' curtainwall, windows and sunshades balance
natural light and comfortable interiors. New College House's large,
vertical transparent towers feature Wausau's products and frame the
views of Penn's surrounding campus community and Center City
Philadelphia. Bounded by Woodland Walk and 34th and Chestnut
streets, the seven-story building with a publicly accessible,
lifted lawn serves as a pedestrian gateway to campus.
"In this city of neighborhoods, we sought to embrace
the many scales of community that define the collegiate experience
unique to Penn," says Frank Grauman, design principal from BCJ.
"The New College House is, therefore, both inviting and secure,
open and private, embodying the comfort of home, and the power to
form a campus gateway worthy of this place."
BCJ's Sam McNutt agrees and elaborates, "Penn is a
well-established campus with many older buildings. New College
House is its newest residential hall that represents a step in a
new direction, while honoring the fabric of campus. Taking cues
from its surroundings, such as Hill House's brick and the law
school's limestone, it's heavy on the masonry."
"Unlike many of the older buildings, New College
House also incorporates much more glass bringing in natural light
and transparency," continues McNutt. "Used mainly in the common and
circulation areas, the glass helps break up the masonry portions
and provides connections between the student community within the
building and out to the campus and the public."
A Complex Building Skin
Bringing this vision to reality, INTECH
Construction, Philadelphia, began work on the college housing
complex in December 2013. "The building's skin was incredibly
complex, so the window systems were one of the last things to go
in," explains Zach Baron, senior project manager at INTECH.
"[Horsham, Pa.-based] National Glass & Metal had a six- to
eight-person team working on-site for almost a year. It was
substantially completed in February 2016. Overall, it went very
well working with them and with Wausau. Now that it's done, I'm
happy, the owner's happy and it looks great."
Under INTECH's guidance, National Glass & Metal
served as the glazing contractor and collaborated with Wausau to
meet the numerous design and performance requirements of New
College House. The project team selected Wausau's SuperWall system,
4250i-OS INvent Series fixed and projected windows, and ClearStory
National Glass & Metal installed more than 39,000
square feet of SuperWall in three frame depths-4.75, 6.25 and 10.25
inches. Wausau supports local control of scope of work, project
management and approval as facilitated by its knowledgeable team
and engineering tools.
"Wausau was very helpful and had everything ready to
go when we needed it. They made the job a lot easier for me," says
Karl Volk, project manager at National Glass & Metal. "Every
project has its challenges, but we had a good team. Overall, I
enjoyed this project. It's a nice looking building and I thought it
was very successful."
Within the SuperWall system, National Glass &
Metal incorporated Wausau's 4250-Z zero sightline insert vents.
These operable units allow for natural ventilation, which provides
a seasonal opportunity for fresh air and reduced demand on air
conditioning. The 3,950 feet of custom-engineered ClearStory
sunshades also optimize energy performance and thermal comfort by
controlling solar heat gain, managing visible light transmittance
and maximizing natural daylighting, all while preserving outside
To match the look of other student residences on
campus, more than 400 offset INvent windows are installed at angles
to the red brick and limestone façade of New College House. These
windows include a combination of operable and fixed units with
matching sightlines. Adding visual interest, the glass plane is
recessed 1.25 inches from its exterior face. Enhancing the units'
performance, the 4.5-inch aluminum frame is fabricated with a
polyamide thermal barrier.
Wausau-based Linetec provides the thermal improvement
services for Wausau's products, as well as the painted finishes. On
the windows, a Dove Gray color was specified. On the curtainwall
and sunshades, a custom Gettysburg Metallic color was used. All of
these aluminum components were finished in a three-coat, 70 percent
PVDF resin-based, liquid paint.
Linetec's finishes meet the American Architectural
Manufacturers Association's (AAMA) 2605 industry standard, and
minimize buildings' maintenance costs and maximize long life
cycles. Further contributing to the project's sustainability goals,
the aluminum used to produce Wausau's curtainwall and window
systems is a high recycled-content aluminum billet composition.
In addition to its high-performance curtainwall,
sunshade and window systems, New College House's other sustainable
design features include its green roofs, low-flow plumbing
fixtures, high-efficiency lighting fixtures and energy recovery
units. Within its interior are comfortable, single-student rooms
collected in three- to six-person suites, with access to study
areas, a media center, open communal spaces, seminar rooms, a
dining café and an enclosed courtyard.
"The private courtyard in the middle of the building
is an important feature," describes McNutt. "The courtyard is
private to residents yet surrounded by glass on all four sides,
offering visual connections to the activity in the exterior and
interior spaces, including the dining hall. Here, the students come
together as a group to eat and share their experiences. Student
life and community connection is represented throughout New College
House's design: on the exterior, the scale of the building is
balanced with the surrounding structures, while anchored as an
inviting campus gateway. On the interior, common areas offer spaces
for large group events while smaller, more intimates spaces allow
for private study."
"The building delights on so many levels-its
marvelous integration of public and private open space, its
sophisticated approach to fostering communities at multiple levels,
its integration with the urban fabric, its deft use of materials,
its craftsmanship, and, in particular, its assured manipulation of
scale, which breaks down what is actually an enormous building into
multiple integrated parts at human scale," describes David
Hollenberg, University architect.
New College House, University of
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Cywinski Jackson, Philadelphia, bcj.com
INTECH Construction, Philadelphia, www.intechconstruction.com
National Glass & Metal Co., Horsham, Pa., www.ngmco.com
Linetec, Wausau, Wis., www.linetec.com
Window and Wall Systems, Wausau, www.wausauwindow.com
fabricator: J.E. Berkowitz, Pedricktown,
Glass manufacturer: Vitro Architectural Glass
(formerly PPG), Pittsburgh, www.vitroglazings.com
Photos: Courtesy of the University of