Hill College House Renovation

Hill House is a vibrant residential community with a special commitment to first year students — a commitment shared by an energetic group of upper class students who eagerly choose to live in Hill for its leadership opportunities. The resident Faculty Director, House Fellows, House Dean and Graduate Associates are dedicated to providing residents with personal and professional assistance to successfully transition to University life both intellectually and socially.

In June 2016, Penn began a major renovation to Hill, to be completed in time for August 2017 Move In.



When Hill first opened in 1961 as a Penn's women's dormitory, the  Pennsylvania Gazette ran a multi-page photo-essay headlined "A Starkly-Plain Outside But a Wow! Inside." One charmed resident likened the airy interior -- with its dramatic atrium, "wrought-iron balustrades (and) louvered shutters," and "green tropical plants" to being "in a Mediterranean town."  Penn has demonstrated its commitment to providing a unique and dynamic residential experience to future residents of Hill through extensive renovation that should see the house through another 50 years of living and learning.

Hill Modernization 2016-2017



A complete building renovation at Hill will address maintenance and system upgrades needed for a modern College House. Work Includes:

  • Conversion of all suite bathrooms to individual restrooms and shower rooms
  • Renovation to all bedrooms and common spaces
  • New room and common area furnishings, fixtures, and fit out
  • All spaces will be air conditioned, including student rooms and the atrium area, along with other upgrades to mechanical and electrical systems
  • Major upgrades to dining areas and central kitchen, including expansion of the commissary serving Penn Dining
  • Repointing of the masonry envelope
  • Restoration of all windows
  • Installation of new room and curtainwall glazing facing the central atrium

Cost, Schedule, and Resources

  • Total Project Cost: $80M Hill College House Resources & Information
  • Construction: May 2016 - July 2017
  •  The Pennsylvania Gazette, February 2016

  • History and Preservation

    Designed by Eero Saarinen in 1958, Hill College House is an internationally recognized architectural landmark located at the corner of 33rd and Walnut Streets. Originally a women's dormitory, the building's entry features an allegorical bridge over an ivy filled "moat" and its surrounding spiked metal fence. The living spaces, including five floors of double bedroom accommodates 500 students. Student lounges and seminar rooms are built around a vast central atrium that overlooks a dining area on the lower level. The arrangement is reminiscent of a Mediterranean village where residents live around a central square or plaza where they gather to celebrate, share their news and mark milestones of the year. Other iconic Saarinen designs include the St. Louis Gateway Arch, Washington Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C., Ingalls Rink and the Morse and Ezra Stiles Colleges at Yale University. He also designed furnishings for his projects, including the well known mid-century "Tulip" and "Womb" chairs. Hill College House is named for Robert C. Hill, an 1889 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences and university benefactor.

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