Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine South Tower nearing completion

PCAM South Tower, view to west on Convention Avenue

When the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine (PCAM) was built in 2008, Penn put plans in place for expansion at the 3400 Civic Center Blvd site in University City. Shortly after the opening of PCAM, the expansion began with the Translational Research Center, or West Tower. The next phase of expansion has been well underway since 2012 and PCAM’s South Tower expansion is set to be complete in early 2014.

Architect's rendering of finished South TowerThe South Tower is located at the back of PCAM. It will rise five floors above the loading dock and add 200,000 square feet of space for outpatient procedures. Currently, outpatient procedures take place at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). Those services will be relocated to the South Tower. That will not only improve the patient experience but also help Penn increase much-needed outpatient services.

Opening up space at HUP to move the departments and services currently at the Penn Tower into the hospital will prep the ground for a whole new Penn Tower, a plan that has not yet been approved by the University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees but is being planned for. Currently, the Penn Tower garage is slated for demolition. The garage was built in 1974 and receives significant use each day. Construction of a 1000-car garage adjacent to Lot 51, at University Avenue and Civic Center Boulevard, to replace spaces in the garage has already begun.

View to north on Convention Avenue showing connection to existing building

The South Tower won’t be a separate building but will maintain the continuity of PCAM by wrapping around to the Translational Research Center the same way it wraps around the front of PCAM. Entering any of the buildings will be like entering one building, as the architecture of the buildings is seamless.

East end of South Tower showing construction elevator

The South Tower will contain 180 exam rooms each measuring 110 square feet. In addition, consultation rooms will bring healthcare providers to patients, eliminating the need to visit different buildings around the medical campus. Free wireless Internet access will be available throughout the South Pavilion.

The South Tower will also be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified and the current construction makes use of local and eco-friendly materials, recycling construction debris, and using low-emitting materials to reduce the amount of indoor air contaminants.  A green roof will control storm water runoff and conserve energy.

The site was designed by Rafael Vinoly Architects and cost $102 million.

Photos by the author; rendering courtesy University of Pennsylvania