Paul Peck Alumni Center

Drexel University | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Constructed in 1876, the historic Frank Furness-designed Centennial Bank Building on the Drexel University campus had been long underutilized. When Drexel sought a new home for their Alumni Relations Department, which could also accommodate special events, the building’s size and central location made it an ideal candidate.

VMA’s rehabilitation approach retained and celebrated the building’s historic elements while enabling 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 to reconstruct the building’s original entrance front. The restoration included repairs to 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.


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.
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Size: 10,965 sf
Budget: $4 million


Architecture, Interior Design, Historical Preservation, Landscape

Paul Peck Alumni Center

Drexel University | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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