If buildings blossomed from presidential dreams alone, a new College House would have begun rising over Hill Field the day Amy Gutmann was inaugurated in 2004. So Penn’s eighth president was particularly ebullient on November 7, when ground was ceremonially broken at 34th and Chestnut streets on what will be campus’s first-ever residential building specifically designed as a College House.
“What the Quad did for Penn over a century ago,” Gutmann proclaimed, “this new College House will do even more effectively for the century to come and beyond. It will provide the social, intellectual, and cultural connections that will shape and inform the undergraduate experience for generations of Penn students.”
The 198,000-square-foot residence will house approximately 350 undergraduates in three- to six-bedroom suites. It will also feature a dining hall, seminar rooms, a media center, and a large multipurpose space for social and cultural activities. Its L-shaped footprint will frame a grass courtyard that will slope down to the Women’s Walkway. The design is by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, a Philadelphia-based firm best known for designing Apple stores, the Liberty Bell Center, and Seattle City Hall.
At the ceremony, Gutmann and David L. Cohen L’81 professed gratitude to two Penn families whose “tremendous leadership and tremendous generosity” made it possible to begin work on the new College House, which has yet to be named. They are Emeritus Trustee Stephen Heyman W’59, and his wife Barbara; and the Lauder Foundation, represented at the ceremony by Penn Emeritus Trustee Leonard Lauder W’54, Penn Term Trustee William Lauder W’83, and Gary Lauder C’84 W’84 and his wife, Laura Lauder. The amounts of their gifts are undisclosed. The new College House is expected to cost $127 million, and open in the fall of 2016.
Penn’s College House system now houses 52 percent of Penn’s undergraduates.