The Wharton School of the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, PA, USA University of Pennsylvania Anthony Blackett, Educational Programmer Education, Interiors 324,000 ft2 / 30,000 m2 Presentations Magazine Best Presentation Rooms Award (2003)
Consistently ranked as the #1 business school in the nation, the Wharton School selected KPF to design the new Jon M. Huntsman Hall academic building to house its undergraduate and graduate programs. Located at the intersection of Walnut Street and 38th Street on the northwestern corner of the University of Pennsylvania campus, the new facility contains 48 flexible and tiered classrooms with 25 to 125 seats, 57 group study rooms, and two computer/research labs; 300-seat auditorium and 13 conference rooms; 111 faculty offices, 51 administrative offices and 66 graduate assistant offices; and café. The majority of undergraduate educational spaces are located on the forum and ground floors, with the graduate educational spaces on floors 2 and 3. Faculty offices and departments occupy floors 4 through 7. The 8th floor or colloquium floor includes a boardroom, meeting rooms (colloquia #1 and #2), and the Winter Garden.
Huntsman Hall is both modern in appearance yet it adheres to its Ivy League context, characterized by Neo-Gothic architecture. Consistent with existing campus buildings, the façade is highly articulated with brick and stone selected to complement the surrounding commercial, pedestrian, and academic neighborhoods. KPF's design provides two separate entries and two sets of social spaces, allowing undergraduates to move easily to and from other classes via Locust Walk and to use the building for extended hours. Faculty offices, research centers, and a faculty "colloquium" on the building's rooftop are accessed by a separate elevator case.
The program emphasized the integration of technology infrastructure in order to advance the school’s curriculum and expanding distance-based learning program. An extensive study of classroom configurations yielded a tiered classroom design that incorporates multimedia technology for the school’s 80-person “cohort classroom,” a fundamental element of the Wharton program. The 300-seat auditorium combines a variety of technologies with a clean design to provide every audience member access to all material presented—both visually and acoustically. The custom-designed Wharton lectern gives instructors "dashboard control" over classroom technology, which allows for setup of individual configurations to give each instructor custom control of the lecture hall.