Skip to main content area Skip to institutional navigation Skip to search Skip to section navigation



In classic films, the leading actress or actor knows how to make an entry. In these movies, the director often calls upon the architecture of stairs, doors, thresholds or balconies to stage and frame this cinematic moment of great suspense and high drama.  Outside the realm of cinema, the design of architectural elements within the urban context of a city can mark entry and departure, moments that take place in daily life. 
Outside Golkin Hall, today you can see the steel column structure, brackets, and clips that are the armature of what will soon be the Imasogie Entry Wall. The team at KVA is eagerly waiting for the stone cladding to begin! In making the Imasogie Entry Wall, we have drawn design inspiration from three sources: the urban ‘stage’ of Sansom Street, the impressive depth of the historic stone masonry of Silverman Hall, and the play of sun light.
Sansom Street has an intimate urban scale. We want to engage the relatively narrow dimensions of Sansom Street and utilize the dimensions of this urban ‘stage’ to the greatest advantage in making visible the entry to Golkin Hall. In the approach from 34th St and 36th St, the long diagonal views will be ‘caught’ by the form of the Imasogie Entry Wall, which creates a space of threshold and transition from the secular world of Sansom Street to the halls of the Law School and the green Courtyard beyond. The building envelope of Silverman Hall is almost three feet thick, and the building’s strong street presence is emphasized by its limestone masonry. In making an entry, we want to create both texture and depth with marble, using contemporary design and construction techniques to establish an entry condition that will reflect the stature of Penn Law. The design uses sixty panels of 1 ¼” inch thick American Danby Vermont Marble, which are paired to form V shaped ‘books’ of marble. The stone cladding will be hung and clipped onto the steel structure in the coming weeks. The pairs of marble panels are designed to be hung at very precise angles creating a transition from a uniform marble surface at the top to an expression of individual stone strands. This will create the depth and presence of the Imasogie Entry Wall, which is reflected by a similar rotation of wood White Oak panels inside the Entry Lobby. The stately, solid yet delicate and curtain-like qualities of the marble cladding will be rendered dynamic from morning to afternoon thanks to the movement of the sun. After much design and simulation studies, we are excited to finally see how the east and west sunlight will play with the marble cladding, allowing each member of the Law School community to make an entry into Golkin Hall or onto Samson Street and experience the Imasogie Entry Wall in a new light.
Posted by Sheila Kennedy, Principal, Kennedy & Violich Architecture