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Richards Labs-As Kahn Wanted It To Be

This course is a recording of an AIAU Live Course, with both architects and clients on how they partnered together to holistically transform Kahn’s historic structure on the University of Pennsylvania campus.


One of fewer than 3,000 buildings in the US to be listed as a National Historic Landmark, Louis Kahn’s Richards Laboratories was, for 50 years, a controversial structure that struggled to consistently meet the expectations of the University of Pennsylvania scientists for whom it was built. That is until 2014, when the project team kicked off an unprecedented renovation to repurpose and unlock its potential as a research facility for cognitive neuroscience and other computational intensive dry lab use. Two years later, renovations are now 50% complete, to positive reviews.

In this course, a recording of an AIAU Live Course offered December 15, 2016, you’ll hear both perspectives—architect and client—on how they partnered together to holistically transform Kahn’s architectural gem, balancing the rigors of working with a landmark structure to achieve program, systems replacement, envelope rehabilitation, and energy conservation goals.


Learning objectives

After completing this session, participants will be able to:

  • Develop innovative design and implementation strategies that enhance and complement Mid-century modern structures
  • Navigate complex institutional processes with multiple stakeholders, developing their own process to meaningfully engage all stakeholders
  • Implement design strategies that turn underperforming or dysfunctional spaces into high-performance facilities while maintaining high historic preservation standards
  • Build an integrated A/E/owner/construction manager team committed to an economical, high-quality design and construction process
User rating:
Average: 4.6 (493 votes)
 $45  non-member
 $30  member
1.00 LU
  • HSW
  • RIBA


  • Matthew S. Chalifoux , AIA

    Matthew S. Chalifoux


    Architect, Principal | EYP Architecture and Engineering

    Matthew S. Chalifoux, AIA, is Architect, Principal, at EYP Architecture and Engineering, based in...
  • David N. Fixler, FAIA

    David N. Fixler


    Architect | Principal, EYP Architecture and Engineering

    Mr. Fixler, Architect, Principal, at EYP Architecture and Engineering, is an internationally...
  • David Hollenberg


    University Architect | University of Pennsylvania

    David Hollenberg has been University Architect since June 2006, exercising oversight of the design...
  • Maureen A. Ward


    Senior Director of Facilities Planning, Perelman School of Medicine | University of Pennsylvania  

    Maureen A. Ward AIA is Senior Director of Facilities Planning at Penn's Perelman School of Medicine...