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Penn's New Singh Center Praised as 'Towering Nave Filled With Celestial Light'

Archicritic James S. Russell got a little rhapsodic about UPenn's new Singh Science Center, a $92M building designed to accommodate sensitive nanotechnology experimentation. Though his review is intended to read as prose, it's a little less prosaic than most real estate and development reporting. In fact, it might read better as a free verse poem, and, as Curbed New York has done before us, we've reconfigured it to read as it should, a free verse poem with dramatic line breaks and creative spacing.

Architects have a difficult time with beauty.

Our era is too culturally messy,
with esthetics infused by anxiety and conflicting aspirations. Buildings --
especially research labs
devoted largely to the care and
feeding of
machines -- are so complex that
inspiration
often
lands
on the cutting room floor.

I
thought of an icy cliff wrapping a lush lawn.
Long bands of glass amble in a gentle

ascent

around

the courtyard, like

geological strata.
Vertical translucent pinstripes,
fused into the glass,
screen the interior in icy, rippling white.

The building unfolds
its full radiance in the lobby,
called the galleria, which extends as a gathering space
around the courtyard and
opens upward full height. The exterior undulations shape this narrow atrium
into a sculpture
of window walls and suspended ceiling planes...
...cross over and under each other like slightly bent legs

How amazing
for researchers
to remove remove protective coveralls after working
for hours
under clinical light
in labs sealed from the outside world -- and stroll into this towering nave
bathed in celestial light.
· Penn's $92 Million Temple of Science Shakes Up Design [Bloomberg]