Penn announced on May 12 that the Stuart Weitzman School of Design will renovate and add a wing to the existing Morgan Building, renaming the building Stuart Weitzman Hall.
The project is supported by the school’s namesake and 1963 Wharton alumnus Stuart Weitzman. The interior of the building will be completely redesigned, and will now include new research facilities, design studios, classrooms, and offices. The renovation process will retain elements of the original Morgan Building, including the historic porch and balcony facing 34th Street.
“The Weitzman School has a pressing need for centrally located, state-of-the-art facilities, and the Morgan Building offers the ideal solution,” Interim Penn President Wendell Pritchett told Penn Today. “We are exceedingly grateful that Stuart will help make that vision a reality."
The renovations will be undertaken by architecture firm KieranTimberlake, founded by Weitzman alumni and former faculty members Stephen Kieran and James Timberlake. The project will be the largest Weitzman School expansion in 55 years.
Weitzman, an eminent shoe designer and entrepreneur, founded the luxury fashion footwear company Stuart Weitzman in 1986. Stepping down from his position as Creative Director in 2017, he acted as Chairman Emeritus through 2018.
“My Penn education served me very well during my long and enjoyable career in design. So, it is personally gratifying to have become even more closely affiliated with the Penn community in recent years,” Weitzman said in an interview with Penn Today.
The Weitzman School of Design was founded in 1869 and offers degrees in fields such as architecture, city planning, landscape architecture, historic preservation, and fine arts. Originally known as PennDesign, the school was renamed in 2019 after Weitzman's donation of an undisclosed amount of money.
“All the stars have aligned for this project, so generously supported by Stuart Weitzman,” Frederick Steiner, Dean and Paley Professor at the Weitzman School, told Penn Today. “The existing structure, designed by the renowned Philadelphia firm Cope & Stewardson in 1890, is truly a diamond in the rough. It will be adapted to provide contemporary, flexible facilities to match the caliber of the School’s academic endeavor.”
The existing Morgan Building was completed in 1892 and was acquired by Penn in 1899, serving as the home of the Physics Department for over 50 years.