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1851 cottage becomes sleek, modern student center at U Penn

The revamp comes courtesy of 1100 Architect

The 1851 cottage (at left) got a sensitive, stunning renovation from New York and Frankfurt, Germany-based 1100 Architect.
Photo by Greg Benson via Dezeen

Student centers are often the single most important hub for academic and extracurricular activity on a campus.

Recognizing this fact, the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia commissioned New York- and Frankfurt, Germany-based 1100 Architect to create a new nexus for international affairs students, turning a discreet circa-1851 cottage into a work of sleekly contemporary architecture, which we spotted on Dezeen.

Now, the Perry World House, as it’s known, makes space for cross-departmental collaboration on issues of global politics. This means lots of meeting, conference, and event rooms, as well as open-plan common areas, including a lounge. Interior finishes include polished stone walls and floors, slatted timber ceilings. Glazed facades and broad, square windows help bring light in.

As Dezeen notes, American universities are very much in construction mode, with work by banner architects going up from coast to coast. In New York City, for example, Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s building at Columbia University’s medical school was “perfect for its site,” wrote our critic, Alexandra Lange (who also noted the firm’s ubiquity).

Photo by Eric Petschek via Dezeen