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University of Pennsylvania Law School to Celebrate Formal Opening of Golkin Hall

February 23, 2012

From April 2-5 the University of Pennsylvania Law School will celebrate the formal opening of Golkin Hall, a state-of-the-art building that completes Penn Law’s magnificent and physically integrated campus and embodies its distinctive vision for an interdisciplinary legal education. The Hon. Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, will participate in the Dedication Convocation on April 5, which includes a conversation on the law with the Law School and wider Penn communities.

High resolution images for media:
Golkin Hall Sansom Street Exterior
Golkin Hall Sansom Street with Center City skyline
Golkin Hall Berylson Family Lobby
Photo from green roof overlooking Courtyard

The convocation and conversation with Justice Sotomayor is the culmination of a week-long series of special events at the Law School. These will include celebrations as well as faculty and distinguished alumni panels examining trends in the future of legal education and how law guides America’s social, political and economic future and responds to multiple global challenges.

Perry and Donna Golkin accept Dean Fitts' appreciation for their lead gift and inspiring support for Golkin Hall.
Perry Golkin, W’74, WG’74, L’78 and Donna Golkin, WG’77 accept Dean Fitts’ (far left) appreciation for their lead gift and inspiring support for Golkin Hall project.

“With the completion of Golkin Hall, our complex redefines the law school campus as a connected and collaborative space that encourages the integration of people and programs,” said Michael A. Fitts, Dean of Penn Law. “Golkin Hall symbolizes and furthers our vision of the role of lawyers in society today and in the future: not only as problem solvers, but as managers and leaders who can move seamlessly across fields. Penn Law embodies this ongoing integration of the law with related disciplines, as evidenced by our partnerships with schools and departments across Penn, and with other universities and institutions around the world.”

Fitts added: “The formal opening of Golkin Hall is also a testament to the extraordinary generosity and dedication of our many alumni who contributed their time and resources to help make this project such a great success.”

The building, named in honor of Perry Golkin, W’74, WG’74, L’78 and Donna Golkin, WG’77, the lead donors to the project, is located on Sansom Street in West Philadelphia. The project broke ground in May 2010 and cost approximately $33.5 million, all donor supported; Penn Law did not borrow for construction. The building is 40,000 square feet and features an inviting two-story lobby leading to a two-story west wing and a three-story east wing. Designed by architects at the Boston-based firm Kennedy & Violich Architecture, Golkin Hall features roof-top gardens and green roofs, a state-of-the-art court room, and 350-seat auditorium.

Faculty, students, staff, and visitors enter from Sansom Street into Golkin’s lobby to spectacular views of the Penn Law courtyard, an essential element in the social and intellectual life of the Law School.

The Berylson Family Lobby facing the Courtyard
The Berylson Family Lobby facing the Courtyard.

The completion of Golkin Hall entirely connects Penn Law’s four buildings that include Silverman Hall, Penn Law’s signature, 110-year-old Georgian-style building, Tanenbaum Hall, and Gittis Hall. It does so while respecting the historical three-story row homes that make up the scenic and trendy Restaurant Row across Sansom Street. The end result is a façade that is well-situated in its neighborhood surroundings and welcomes the University community and public to Penn Law.

The building puts an emphasis on three areas of environmental sustainability: the management of natural resources such as natural light and storm water, the reduction of greenhouse gases, and an increase in use of renewable energy. Golkin Hall’s green roofs not only increase areas for collaboration in rooftop gardens, but also serve to reduce rain water entering the city’s storm water system and the heat-island effect caused by conventional dark roofs. Moreover, the narrow footprint of the building combined with double-height spaces bring natural daylight to all levels where it is carefully channeled through interior light wells to faculty offices, public corridors, administrative spaces and the Moot Court Room.

The building’s projected energy use is approximately 30 percent lower than the International Energy Conservation Code standard. Penn is signatory to the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment recognizing the University’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainability as part of the educational curriculum.
The completion of Golkin Hall follows a multi-year, $18 million, top-to-bottom renovation of three of Penn Law’s interconnected buildings. As a result, the Law School’s classrooms and Biddle Library are state-of-the-art, new faculty offices facilitate scholarship and student advising, collaborative-study rooms are available for teams of students, and the Gittis Center for Clinical Legal Studies and student groups benefit from improved meeting space.

The refurbishing of Penn’s Law’s campus responds to nearly 50 percent growth in Penn Law’s faculty during Fitts’ tenure as Dean, with stellar appointments in corporate law and finance, intellectual property, international law, and science and technology. In addition, since 2000 Penn Law has expanded its cross-disciplinary curriculum, launching nearly 30 joint- or dual-degree and certificate programs with the preeminent schools and graduate departments at Penn, while infusing course work with the scholarship and training of its increasingly interdisciplinary faculty.

As a result, Penn Law graduates develop the knowledge, skills, and insights necessary to successfully navigate the fields in which they and their clients operate, in the U.S. and globally.


 Click below to take a virtual tour of Golkin Hall!