New Penn Dorm Under Construction

We remember about fifteen years ago, when Penn's Fine Arts building was under construction, a small blue building called the Blauhaus sprouted at 33rd & Chestnut, on the edge of Hill Field. That building is now long gone, and in the intervening years Hill Field has gone back to its previous use as a big green space on the edge of Penn's campus, most often used for club sports or the occasional frisbee toss. But as of a couple of weeks ago, those uses are in the past.

In November, the official groundbreaking took place for the "New College House at Hill Field," and in the last few weeks a fence went up around the perimeter. We first told you about this project last year, and the construction schedule is amazingly on target.

Corner of 33rd & Chestnut

Back then, we told you that this new building would be aiming for a LEED Platinum certification. The project will include a storm water management system, and energy efficiency will be a high priority. The building will have 95 suites and will house 350 students, and include a new dining hall. Amenities will include a large courtyard, along with lounges, media rooms, music rooms, and study areas. The architects for this project are Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, and some renderings are below, in case you can't make 'em out in the photo.

Project rendering

Interior courtyard

This is surely an exciting addition to Penn, and shows a commitment to new construction as Drexel next door is on a building rampage. Still, it's a little disappointing to see this large green space that was Hill Field disappear. Sure, the still newish Penn Park is just a few blocks away- but for students trapped in the stuffy-at-best rooms at Hill House, the green space next door was one of their few perks. Now the constant sound of construction promises to be a "perk" until the project is finished in 2016.