Dana and David Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships

Philadelphia, PA

Town and Gown come together in a Federal Promise Zone.

Client
Drexel University
Completion
2014
Size
30,000 Square Feet
Cost
$10 Million USD
Role
Architect, Interior Designer
Description

The Dornsife Center is a resource hub to share expertise and knowledge with the West Philadelphia community. The current site of the Dornsife Center is home to three existing buildings — an 1867 Italianette mansion, an 1867 carriage works and a 1958 school building, that had sat dormant for a number of years.

These buildings have been renovated to provide a range of flexible spaces that will accommodate small group meetings and workshops, as well as larger gatherings and hands-on exhibits.

The center offers a welcoming environment for local children, senior citizens, and families to interact with technology.

The carriage house is now home to a wellness center, a demonstration kitchen, several multi-purpose meeting spaces and a childcare room that supports the entire center. These spaces will provide opportunities to provide private health screenings and interviews as well as group education in nutrition and healthy living sponsored by the University’s colleges of health sciences. The meeting spaces are large enough for multiple diverse uses such as neighborhood gatherings, dance classes and technology education.

The design goals involved bringing modern building systems to the facility while exposing and expressing the historic fabric of the original building. The restoration included recreating historically accurate fenestration for all existing window and door openings in the facades.

Awards
  • 2015 Preservation Achievement Awards - Grand Jury Award; Preservation Alliance
  • 2015 Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards - Construction Award; Preservation PA
  • 2016 PNC Opportunity for All Award; 10 Thousand Friends of Pennsylvania
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