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Several Penn students and community residents met with housing officials to discuss hamilton Village renovations. A handful of students, community residents and administrators gathered in the Gates Room of the Van Pelt Library last night to discuss plans for the redesign of Hamilton Village as part of Penn's 10-year, $300 million dorm and dining overhaul. During the forum -- sponsored by the Academic and Scholarly Purpose Subcommittee of the Campus Development Plan Committee -- members of the University community were given an overview of the architectural proposals submitted by the six firms that competed this summer for the residential redesign of Hamilton Village, formerly known as Superblock. Housing officials fielded a variety of questions about the project, ranging from whether the renovations will reduce wind and noise in the area to whether Penn is actively consulting the West Philadelphia community on the project. The plans, which were released last Friday, span a large spectrum of perspectives on how Penn could approach the task of adding 1,000 new beds to Hamilton Village and renovating the existing high-rise residences to make them more functional as college houses. Two firms -- the Philadelphia-based Kieran, Timberlake and Harris and Vancouver, British Columbia-based Patkau Architects -- were selected earlier this semester from the group of six to determine if specific parts of their designs can be implemented at Penn. Director of College Houses and Academic Services David Brownlee led the forum, walking those in attendance through a slide show presentation of the six architectural submissions. "We're here today to share with you some of the things that we've begun to learn," Brownlee said, referring to the designs as an "encyclopedia of ideas to help shape our thinking about this part of campus." Officials have outlined several primary goals for the project, including upgrading existing residences, building additional college house accommodations, improving the aesthetics of Hamilton Village and creating a more inviting facade for the western edge of Penn's campus at 40th Street. Director of Housing and Conference Services Doug Berger said officials aim to add "some small- and medium-ranged buildings to take away from the starkness of the three high rises" in Hamilton Village. "We also want to bring back the neighborhood to that area," Berger said. "Do the consultative committees have any input from the West Philadelphia community?" College sophomore Lake Polan asked. In response, Brownlee explained that the University's community-outreach officials have been actively consulting area residents on the project. And second-year Annenberg School for Communication graduate student Ann Carey asked if officials plan to incorporate lessons learned in existing college houses into the design of the new low- and mid-rise Hamilton Village residences. "My own personal preference would be to live in a four-story building where there's a small community," said Carey, who is a graduate associate in Hamilton College House. Brownlee replied that Patkau -- the firm which has been asked to design 700 new beds in low- and mid-rise buildings in the northwest quadrant of Superblock, based on its competition design -- has incorporated communities of 24 students centered around a lounge into their design and officials will continue throughout the planning stages to ensure that the new residences will function well as college houses. "All of the new stuff we will build will be as good as the combined amenities of what we have now," Brownlee said. "What's the plan for transportation for another thousand people in that area?" area realtor and longtime University City resident Liz Campion asked. Brownlee replied that both Patkau and Kieran, Timberlake and Harris are working on a plan for delivery and trash removal service vehicles on the block that "does not impede the pedestrian area." Kieran, Timberlake and Harris is currently studying Hamilton House to determine if it can be split into two separate college houses of about 400 residents each, with separate lobbies, elevators and public spaces. If successful, the model may be implemented in all three high rises.

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