Hill College House, designed by Eero Saarinen in 1960, is one of eleven undergraduate residential houses serving the University of Pennsylvania’s undergraduate population. The six-story, 200,000 sf masonry building accommodates nearly 520 students as well as live-in faculty and graduate student staff, and features a full dining hall and kitchen and various other shared amenities. Because Hill College House is considered a significant architectural landmark on the University of Pennsylvania campus, a conservation approach that encompassed both the broad aesthetic principles put forward by Saarinen and the physical materials utilized in the original construction guided the project. Design choices were rooted in considerable study of Saarinen’s work, and supported by a larger understanding of the architectural context at mid-century.
The overarching goal of the project is improvement of the student experience through the creation of a more welcoming, accessible, and contemporary residence hall. The renovation, designed to meet the University’s goal of LEED Gold, incorporates the building envelope; upgrades to residential living units; upgrades to existing common and public spaces; and a range of improvements to existing mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems. The team has sought to draw attention to the beauty and simplicity of the original design through the use of color, lighting, and landscaping.