Articles Tagged with: Penn Stemmler

Stemmler Hall Published in BD+C

The University of Pennsylvania’s Edward J. Stemmler Hall was profiled in Building Design + Construction (BD+C) magazine. The project won a Bronze Award in BD+C’s 2020 Reconstruction Awards.

Excerpted from Building Design + Construction:

Edward J. Stemmler Hall is an essential bridge that links the realms of education, discovery, and clinical practice for the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. The biomedical research and teaching facility, which was originally built in 1978, is located on the university’s campus at a critical juncture between academic, research, and healthcare facilities.

As a means of advancing the university’s Climate and Sustainability Action Plan, the school was considering a building systems-based retrofit of the 230,000-sf Stemmler Hall that would increase energy efficiency and renew building infrastructure.

But after some discussion, Ballinger, the project architect, proposed a more holistic solution: a comprehensive renovation that would transform the building, providing new Class A laboratory space and replacing all building systems. The project sought to increase energy efficiency and deliver 102,000 sf of fully renovated research space.

Because of the building’s pivotal campus role, the facility needed to remain operational throughout construction, which posed logistical challenges related to accessing, assessing, and working within an occupied building.

Construction was sequenced into three phases in order to maintain occupancy within the building:

  • Phase 0: Enabling Electrical and Tele/Data Infrastructure installed; temporary rooftop mechanical systems installed to maintain building operations
  • Phase 1: Renovate Levels B, G, 1, and 2; additional temporary mechanical systems installed to maintain building operations
  • Phase 2: Renovate Levels 3, 4, and 5; install permanent mechanical systems within renovated Penthouse 

Occupant safety was assured by implementing open lines of communication. Project websites, weekly construction update emails, and town hall gatherings informed building users about progress, shutdown notices, and work schedules.

The build team drew upon Louis Kahn’s Richards Medical Research Laboratory, a landmark of the University of Pennsylvania’s design heritage, as a means of embedding the Stemmler Hall project within its context. Paying homage to this landmark, existing cast-in-place stair and elevator cores within Stemmler Hall were cleaned, restored, and highlighted as feature elements of the building. The concrete’s finish and texture serves as both a way-finding element and a unique component of the overall materials palette.

The renovation moved away from compartmentalized spaces and, instead, implemented an open lab concept that was critical to improving utilization within the existing floorplate. On the building’s lower levels, underutilized educational and administrative spaces were converted into revenue-generating research space. 

A monumental stair improves campus flow and strengthens the connection between clinical practice and medical research, while an existing dark passageway beneath the building was reclaimed as a lobby that now acts as a connector to the surrounding buildings. Additional dark corridors were reimagined as bright, open spaces. At the building entry, a meandering series of public spaces were repurposed to better support student life.

Deteriorated exterior insulation was replaced with foil-faced insulation, existing windows were replaced, a new insulated roof was installed, and existing pipes that had corroded over time were replaced.

The completed project delivered a 50% increase in lab workstation capacity, a 50% reduction in energy use, and $900,000 in projected annual energy cost savings. Stemmler Hall has become one of the most energy efficient research building’s on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus and is anticipated to obtain LEED Gold certification.

Penn Stemmler Hall Achieves LEED Gold

Stemmler Hall at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine was certified LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council. Ballinger provided architecture, engineering and lab planning services for this transformative renovation in the heart of campus. An important ambition of the project was to help fulfill the aspirations of Penn’s Climate and Sustainability Action Plan.

Ballinger designed a neutral air chilled beam system with dual heat recovery wheels coupled with demand-controlled ventilation. Calculations project a 50% reduction in energy use and significant annual cost savings. Efficient floorplans enable program and research flexibility, resulting in an open and adaptable 21st century magnet facility with 50% more workstations.

In 2019 Green Building United, Philadelphia’s chapter of the USGBC, recognized the project as a finalist for its Groundbreaker Award program.

Stemmler Hall Wins BD+C Reconstruction Award

Edward J. Stemmler Hall at the University of Pennsylvania was selected as a Bronze winner in the 2020 Building Design + Construction (BD+C) Reconstruction Awards competition.  Awards are given to the best historic preservation, reuse, renovation, and reconstruction projects nationwide. Winners are selected based on design, engineering, and construction quality.

Ballinger provided architecture, engineering and lab planning services for this comprehensive renovation of Stemmler Hall, built in 1978. Rather than the simple systems-based retrofit that the University originally planned, Ballinger proposed a holistic, LEED Gold renovation to completely transform the building, providing new Class A laboratory space, and strategically replacing all building systems to significantly reduce ongoing energy and maintenance costs.

I2SL: Sustainable Lab Transformation

Ballinger Senior Project Manager, Karen Brooks, AIA, LEED AP BD+C and University of Pennsylvania Senior Project Manager, Margo Pietras Barnes, PE, LEED AP, CBCP will present a talk at this year’s virtual International Institute for Sustainable Labs (I2SL) Conference. The annual conference is a technical forum focused on meeting the challenges of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability in laboratories and related facilities.

The presentation, “Breathing New Life into an Antiquated Building: A Sustainable Approach to Lab Transformation,” is a case study of the University of Pennsylvania’s Stemmler Hall, which recently underwent a transformative renovation.

The presentation is part of Session E1, taking place tomorrow Wednesday, October 7 from 12:30 to 2 PM.