Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania


Department of Physiology
Administration Office and Labs

Clinical Research Building
Suite 700
415 Curie Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6085
Phone:(215) 898-8725
Fax: (215) 573-2273

The Clinical Research Building, completed in 1989 represents the Venturi model for the laboratory as a loft-type space provided with regular illumination on the perimeter, with the upper story reserved for mechanical equipment as indicated by oversized grills. The walls are covered with a decorative tile that mimics the Penn Flemish-bond brickwork but with an additional mango-colored header inserted in the slightly oversized elements. The upper story is fronted with a University seal a full story high. The package is slick and taut, a sort of modern shingle-style surface that follows the office mode of the “Decorated Shed.”

Richards Medical Laboratory
3700 Hamilton Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104

The Richards Medical Research Laboratories were conceived and constructed as a workplace for teams of biomedical researchers. It was designed by prominent architect and Penn faculty member Louis Kahn and completed in 1962. Richards was Kahn's first internationally acclaimed work. Architectural historians have hailed it as one of the most influential buildings constructed after World War II. The visual signature of Richards is the distinctive broken roofline of brick towers that rises between concrete piers. This design has been replicated not only on the Penn campus but also in many other structures throughout the world.

The building was named for Dr. Alfred N. Richards, a Professor of Pharmacology in the School of Medicine and the Vice President for Medical Affairs. Among Richards' most significant accomplishments was the introduction of techniques for large-scale production of penicillin during World War II.

Richards Laboratories is in the National Register's University of Pennsylvania's Historic District.

Its rough surfaces, dark colors, and irregular skyline and
plan broke decisively with the norms of modernism. Its
spaces (the stacks of small, studio-like labs) to meet the
specific needs of a client (workspaces for small, loosely
affiliated research teams) rejected the modernist
Commitment to universal solutions to generic problems.

-- David Brownlee, Professor of Art History, Compass