Korman Center, Drexel University

This addition and renovation to the 1958 University Library transforms and extends the current Computer lab and classroom building into a new student center that re-invigorates the Academic Quad at the heart of the Drexel University campus.

A terra cotta screen gives the Korman Center a new identity by creating a “front porch” that engages the Quad and the indoor ‘living room’ for the students. The screen is cantilevered off the face of the building shading the ‘porch’ and the south-east façade. The double height facade bifurcates the double height space of the porch and interior volume, emphasizing the transparent and accessible relationship of the Center to the Quad.

The entrance is marked by a floating box, which projects out to the face of the screen and houses a multi-purpose event space. Greater transparency of this space allows a direct engagement with the activity of the Quad.

On the interior, the double-height space of the living room completes the volume defined by the porch. Lounge spaces are arranged on the first floor with study spaces on the second floor overlooking the double-height space and the front porch below. Private meeting rooms are housed in glass boxes on the second floor.

A neutral palette of materials and finishes is complemented by a more colorful palette of furnishings. Continuity is achieved in floor finishes that transition from precast pavers to flamed granite to terrazzo on the first floor, to sheet vinyl on the second floor – a continuous palette of speckled grey. A continuous wood ceiling wraps the guardrail of the second floor and folds down the back wall of the space.