Penn Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology, Widener Hall, University of Pennsylvania

The Free Museum of Science and Art was dedicated in the Widener Lecture Room on December 20, 1899. For its first 20 years, the lecture room hosted a range of events, including slide shows on lost cities and archaeological discoveries, life-drawing classes, and discussions on the origins of printing.

In the decades since 1920, it has served as an office suite and even as a woodworking shop. Our challenge was to reclaim the space for educational and recreational purposes by introducing modern lighting and audio/visual systems, and introducing the acoustic properties it had always lacked.

The surgical insertion of more current infrastructures into the historic envelope has made Widener Hall a performance hall and event space, in addition to a lecture hall. The design includes state-of-the-art climate control and audio/visual systems, theatrical and atmospheric lighting, acoustically soft ceilings and walls, a catering vestibule, balcony seating, folding stage partitions, and the restoration of historic fixtures, oak windows and floors.

Clients: University of Pennsylvania (David Hollenberg, Julian Siggers, Melissa Smith, Terence Brooks)
Design Team: Kayt Brumder Pereira, Sean Khorsandi, McClure Engineering
Builder: Lorenzon Bros.
Photographer: Amy Barkow

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