Institute for Contemporary Art
University of Pennsylvania
with Jacobs Wyper Architects
photos: Barry Halkin
The site for the ICA overlooks the intersection where the campus of the University of Pennsylvania meets the city of Philadelphia. A large glass-enclosed lobby welcomes visitors from the campus as well as from the surrounding city and provides access to the gallery and multipurpose spaces. The building provides state of the art galleries for exhibition of contemporary art as well as office space and archives.
Overshadowed by adjacent dormitory towers and underlain by subway tunnels, the site proved to be the greatest design challenge. The limestone base of the building was extended around the base of the towers, creating new access ramps to the towers and visually enlarging the presence of the ICA.