UPenn to build new college house

November 5, 2017 GMT

The University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees has approved a new design for a 25,000 square-foot residential building, New College House West.

The project will cost $163 million. Construction will begin in spring 2018 and is expected to open in fall 2021, according to the university. The undergraduate house will be located by Locust Walk, Walnut and 40th streets, adjacent to the West Philadelphia branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. The library will remain open

It will be the second residence to be built as a college house that brings together undergraduates, faculty, staff and graduate students to form shared communities within the larger context of Penn’s campus.

“This exciting project will serve as a new western gateway to campus, said Penn President Amy Gutmann in a statement. “Since the College House system was introduced in 1998, it has become enormously successful, forming intellectually dynamic and supportive, shared communities within the larger Penn community.”


New College West will be a mix of six and five bedroom two bath suites and four, three and two bedroom, one bath suites. It will provide programmatic common areas including study, living, seminar and music practice rooms.

The house will introduce a private courtyard for residents, green roofs and maintains public green spaces adjacent to Locust Walk, north of Harrison College House and east of Rodin College House, as well as the space near Gregory College House. The green spaces are accessible to pedestrians and available for gathering for university and community events.

“Life in a college house has come to define the undergraduate experience at Penn, providing learning and co-curricular opportunities outside of the conventional classroom,” added Gutmann. “New College House West will enable more Penn students to participate in the College House system, and it will also give us the capacity and flexibility to continue renovating existing student housing. ”

The project will be designed by the Philadelphia-based, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects. The same firm also completed the school’s New College House at Hill Field. The design was approved on Thursday.