University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Modernized interior of the Richards Labs

Richards Medical Research Laboratories

University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

STEM

Contemporary interventions guided by careful analysis of the original design unlock the potential of an outdated facility.

Building Lobby

A primary challenge of restoring Midcentury Modern buildings – an architectural style associated with technology and materials experimentation – is adapting these often outmoded structures to meet current and future requirements. As featured in Architectural Record, EYP Historic Preservation and Design Expert David Fixler, FAIA, explores modernizing Louis Kahn’s Richards Medical Research Laboratories at the University of Pennsylvania as an example of a successful renovation that remains true to the designer’s original architectural vision.

Considerable functional shortcomings made this design icon the target of much venom for over fifty years. Our modernization brought the technical requirements of laboratories into alignment with Kahn’s plan and spatial design, while vastly improving building functionality and energy performance. In this article, the designer discusses strategies and tactics for invisibly modernizing an iconic but challenging structure.

Read the article.