New College House West Welcomes Students for an Amenities-Filled Social Life Experience
New College House West will welcome residents for the first time this week after more than two years of construction.
The 430 sophomores, juniors and seniors living in the new university house will move in from August 27 to 29. The building, which cost a record $ 169.5 million, offers suite-style apartments with a coffee shop, private courtyard, coffee bar, and spectacular city views.
NCHW has many similar characteristics to Lauder College House, and the two share an architect: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, executive director of the business services division, said Doug Berger. The two College Houses have suites with three to six bedrooms, but they have different design elements, which were designed based on the experiences of students living in Lauder, Berger added.
Unlike Lauder, the NCHW suites have a sink outside each bathroom, a kitchenette with a countertop and a large micro-fridge, and desks built into the windows for students to watch during their hours. studies.
NCHW will also house the Quaker Kitchen, a dining room that serves restaurant-style dinner four to five nights a week. The Quaker Kitchen has 75 places available for reservation, accommodating up to 150 students per night.
Berger said the idea for the kitchen was conceived in collaboration with President Amy Gutmann, who advocated for a dining area in the house. Quaker Kitchen also offers an educational program for students, allowing them to watch chefs prepare meals and learn basic cooking skills such as chopping onions and making pasta.
While the Quaker Kitchen and its programming are available to all students, NCHW also has seven kitchens on residential floors built specifically for the students who live there.
The first two floors of NCHW are available to all Penn students, Berger said. This area includes a café, a multipurpose room, a courtyard, a fitness room, a meditation room, study spaces and music practice rooms.
The residential suites are located in the two wings on either side of the central building and on the upper floors above the central building.
University architect Mark Kocent said the central tower deliberately mimicked the urban nature of the street, which includes the off-campus apartment building The Radian.
The central courtyard facing Locust Walk is available to members of the Penn and West Philadelphia community.
The building also has a small private courtyard inspired by Lauder’s Yard and Quad on Spruce Street.
Kocent said that NCHW also incorporates unique features, such as a vinyl dot screen covering the two glass walls of the dining room pavilion that birds can perceive. to mitigate collisions.
While clearing trees to create a path to Du Bois College House, the landscape architect chose to intentionally open and preserve a red oak as a “nursing log”, a decaying tree that facilitates a habitat for various animals. wild, insects and microbiotic organisms. .
The architects worked to preserve certain aspects of nature and create a “clean addition of green space”. Students had previously expressed fears that the building would demolish some of the few green spaces left on campus.
NCHW’s opening in fall 2021 coincides with the launch of Penn’s new sophomore experience program, which requires sophomores to live on campus and purchase a meal plan. Housing and food requirements were pushed back by students who said living off campus and shopping for groceries can be cheaper.
A certificate of occupancy was issued by the City of Philadelphia at the end of July 2021. noted.
All of the teachers in the house moved into the building at the end of July, and the resident advisers and graduate associates moved in during August.
The senior staff of College House includes Trina Sokoloski, former Dean of Hill College House and Lauder College House, as Head of House, and Amy Stornaiuolo, Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Education, as Head of the faculty.
Dunn said the COVID-19 pandemic halted construction for about a month, but the project obtained an exemption from the city’s stay-at-home order in the spring of 2020 to stabilize the exterior of the building.
Workers returned to work in May 2020 and were to follow a site-specific COVID-19 safety plan mandated by Penn and the city.
“The project was pretty much ahead of the curve when [COVID-19] has come up to the supply of materials, ”said Dunn. “We were lucky with the timing. There was a lot of hard work, a lot of hours, a lot of people who stayed in the loop so that we could reach that completion date. ”
Still, Dunn said the project lost six months of productive part-time work, adding that safety restrictions made construction less efficient.
“[NCHW] is a very beautiful, well-designed and designed building, ”said Berger. “I think the students are going to be very excited to live there. ”