Penn Meeting & Guesthouse — a home base for scholars and leaders

Philadelphia, PA
LEED Gold certified
Type: Academic / Hotels / Adaptive Reuse
Theme: Transforming Old Buildings

Project EUI

reduction in energy use compared to the AIA 2030 baseline

The new Meeting and Guesthouse at the University of Pennsylvania will welcome important guests to campus, provide a place for strategic meetings and trustee gatherings, include touch-down space for visiting dignitaries, and host special events. The project transforms a pair of late Victorian townhouses into a 21st century destination that completes a new precinct for visitors to campus, including the adjacent President’s House, the Perry World House, and the Kelly Writers House.

The historic Walnut street façade of the buildings is preserved and updated with repointed brick, a new roof, re-glazed original windows, and repair decorative elements. The primary entrance to the Meeting and Guesthouse is reoriented to the south side of the building facing Locust Walk in a new at-grade, fully accessible addition off a shared motor court. To the east of the buildings, a former parking lot is transformed into a landscaped bluestone terrace for outdoor and tented events. The space is a quiet refuge from the busy 38th Street thoroughfare.

Inside, the new lobby at-grade has floor to ceiling glass window walls that open out to the terrace. A staircase and elevator bring guests up a half level to a conference room that adjoins a flexible meeting and event space. The second floor contains a board room and multi-purpose meeting spaces as well as offices, while the third and fourth floors are more private, with four guest suites and offices for guests to the campus.

The rear and east side of the building feature a new terracotta façade in a tripartite arrangement that reflects the massing of the original building. The material relates to but reinterprets the roman brick of the original building. Transparent and “veiled” glazing creates a varied day-to-night expression for the building and allows it to glow like a beacon. The project is LEED Gold certified.

Read More

University of Pennsylvania Meeting and Guesthouse Main Entrance

University of Pennsylvania Meeting and Guesthouse Executive Meeting Room

University of Pennsylvania Meeting and Guesthouse Lounge

University of Pennsylvania - Office Space

University of Pennsylvania Meeting and Guesthouse - Hotel Suite Living Room

University of Pennsylvania Meeting and Guesthouse Lobby and Courtyard

Key People

Deborah Berke

Stephen Brockman
Project Lead

Christopher Kitterman
Project Manager


Architect, Interior Designer

Olin Studio
Landscape Architect

Bala Consulting Engineers
MEP Engineer

Keast and Hood
Structural Engineer

Sustainable Design

Kugler Ning
Lighting Design

Surveyor and Civil Engineer

Cerami and Associates


Design Award
AIA New York State, 2022

Editors’ Pick in the Institutional - Higher Education Category
AN Best of Design Awards, 2021

Honor Award
SARA NY, 2021

Excellence Award
SARA National, 2021

Interior Design Magazine Best of Year Award, 2021