Paul Peck Alumni Center
Drexel University | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The former Centennial Bank Building was designed by Frank Furness and constructed in 1876. It was underutilized by the university, who decided to transform the building to accommodate Drexel’s Alumni Relations Department and special events. VMA’s rehabilitation efforts recognized and retained elements of the building’s history yet allowed it to serve a new purpose in a contemporary context. The original banking room was restored and converted into a conference room that also frequently serves as a venue for formal receptions. The original office space, which was top-lit with three windowless walls, became an art gallery displaying works from the university’s permanent collection. A new two-story addition provides offices for the Alumni Relations Department and also features a new accessible entrance that allowed us to remove an insensitive storefront entrance and reconstruct the original entrance at the building’s front. The restoration included repairs to the decorative brick and brownstone, reconstructing original wood windows and metal grilles, and restoring the elaborate Eastlake-style ceiling and polychromatic brick in the old banking hall. We are currently working with Drexel on additional improvements to the building.
Preservation Pennsylvania Award, 2002
Brick in Architecture Award, 2001
Preservation Achievement Award, 2001
AIA Philadelphia Honor Award, 2000
Outstanding Preservation Award, University City Historical Society, 2000
- Philadelphia Architecture: A Guide to the City (Fourth Edition). John Andrew Gallery. Paul Dry Books: Philadelphia, 2016.
- “From Bank Building to Alumni Center” by Martha McDonald. Traditional Building, May/June 2002.
Size: 10,965 sf
Budget: $4 million
Architecture, Interior Design, Historical Preservation, Landscape