The Pavilion at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

The Pavilion at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania at Dusk from Park

The Pavilion at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

The Hospital of the Future Is Here

The Pavilion at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania is a state-of-the-art inpatient facility and a new institutional and architectural icon for Penn Medicine on its extensive academic medical campus in West Philadelphia. Designed by PennFIRST, an integrated project delivery team, and adjacent to some of the world’s most advanced research laboratories and specialized treatment facilities, the building enables collaboration and research centred on patient care. The Pavilion is a blueprint for the ‘hospital of the future’, with a focus on patient experience and comfort and providing the most advanced medical care in the world.

The PennFIRST team is a powerhouse of global design and construction expertise and includes HDR, Foster + Partners, BR+A, L.F. Driscoll and Balfour Beatty in partnership with Penn Medicine’s clinical and facilities experts.

A Healthcare Experience Unlike Any Other

The building is sustainable, efficient, uplifting and sensitive to its surroundings, responding to the needs of people — material and spiritual, measurable and intangible. From curbside to bedside, The Pavilion is designed with the human experience in mind. Main arrival spaces are bright, warm and welcoming, with daylight and views that orient patients, visitors, and staff to their place on the campus. Light bounces inward and outward, creating a lantern effect on the exterior that is iconic to the building and establishes it as a beacon of hope for the City of Philadelphia. By prioritising light and views for the patients, visitors and staff, the design embraces a holistic view towards the wellbeing of the people inside. Circulation areas are indirectly lit for the comfort of patients during transport, and create a sense of respite, rhythm and wayfinding for visitors and staff as they navigate the building. Patient rooms and treatment areas are user-centred, offering controls that allow for individual comfort and customisation.


The Pavilion broke new ground for sustainable healthcare construction and design with LEED Gold Healthcare v4 Building Certification. Conservation initiatives during the project included recycling materials that were collected after the demolition of the former hospital, including 291 tons of scrap steel and 17,000 tons of concrete. During construction, 25% of materials were prefabricated and manufactured off-site, including more than 570 mechanical/electrical/plumbing racks and all 504 bathrooms for each patient room, minimising on-site waste, reducing traffic impact and site congestion, increasing quality and lowering cost.

Flexible, Adaptable, Comfortable: The Best of the Best

The uncertainties experienced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic emphasised the need to design a hospital that can adapt with rapidly changing science, medicine and patient care. Patient care floors were designed with a unique, flexible planning system that enables the 72-bed floors to be broken down into smaller unit sizes that respond to changing needs and patient demands. The 504 inpatient rooms are conversion-ready, with space and infrastructure capable of handling any level of acuity from medical-surgical to intensive care. An interactive footwall integrates entertainment, room controls, communications, and medical record information to better engage patients and families with clinicians and keep them informed throughout their stay. Recognizing that families are an important part of the care team, ample space is allocated for visitors to spend time and stay the night in support of their loved ones. Floors are laid out in an “on-stage/off-stage” model that minimizes disruptions to patients and allows ample space for clinical teams to collaborate, research and provide the best patient care. In an effort to provide care for caregivers, the Pavilion boasts numerous staff respite spaces, featuring sweeping exterior views, flexible and comfortable furnishings, and other amenities that ensure the wellbeing of Penn Medicine’s incredible clinical staff.

Connecting to the Academic Health Center Campus

In addition to being a world-class medical facility, the Pavilion serves as a bridge across a bustling, urban academic medical campus. Continuing Philadelphia’s wonderful civic tradition, the design creates a new public square, a focus for all of the surrounding buildings, anchoring Penn Medicine and creating new connections between the hospital and university campus.

The form of the building is very much of its place and in keeping with the architecture of the campus – its curve references the rotunda of the adjacent University of Pennsylvania Museum. A new pedestrian route from the local train station to the new public square connects visitors, students and staff to the whole of the campus, making orientation simple and intuitive and introducing expanses of green space for all to enjoy.

The Pavilion at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania at Dusk from Park


Award of Merit (2023)
Public Space
Illuminating Engineering Society
Award of Merit (2023)
Clinical Space
Illuminating Engineering Society
Section Award (2023)
Interior Lighting Design, Lobby
Illuminating Engineering Society, Philadelphia Section
Section Award (2023)
Control Innovations
Illuminating Engineering Society, Philadelphia Section
Section Award (2023)
Interior Lighting Design, Clinical Area
Illuminating Engineering Society, Philadelphia Section
Honor Award (2023)
American Society of Civil Engineers
Grand Conceptor Award (2022)
Engineering Excellence Awards
American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania
Honorable Mention (2022)
LCI Design Awards
Lean Construction Institute
Finalist (2022)
Healthcare Design Showcase Awards
Outstanding Organization – PennFIRST IPD Team (2022)
HCD 10 Awards
Healthcare Design Magazine
Grand Honor Award (2022)
Engineering Excellence Awards
American Council of Engineering Companies of New Jersey
Grand Award (2022)
Engineering Excellence Awards
American Council of Engineering Companies
Going Digital Award in Infrastructure (2021)
Structural Engineering Category
Bentley Systems
Honorable Mention (2021)
All-Precast Concrete Parking Structure
Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute
Outstanding Project Award (2019)
Buildings over $100 Million Category, Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards Program
Delaware Valley Association of Structural Engineers