Penrose Hall was originally designed in 1961 by Ernest Kump. This men's dormitory building was composed of a six-story longitudinal mass housing the dorm rooms wrapped with external passage corridors, and framed by 2 vertical circulation blocks on each end.
Today, while renovating the 50-year-old structure, the typology of this building and its architectural features, which are marking a historical layer within the formation of the University's campus and history, had to be preserved. On the other hand, the users of the building, especially the students, had pressing needs that had to be addressed as well. Therefore, the architect had to balance these requirements and carefully remodel, fortify and inject the existing structure with the new architectural, electrical and mechanical layers and systems.
To reach this end, the innovative and creative design was conceptualized and developed by Ali Wazani from Wazani Architecture Workshop. From outside, the external skin of the renovated building is preserved while a contemporary architectural language is introduced to the inner skin. Internally, and while the old dormitory rooms were composed of 4-rooms units sharing one common wet area, the new rooms are larger, have private bathrooms and kitchenettes and are practically serviceable without disturbing the privacy of the bedroom occupants. Moreover, the new design offers a generous socializing platform by remodeling the main lobby on the ground floor into a spacious lounge and reception area, and by reinventing the basement level and the landscape around the building to provide the students with a large study room and a spacious playroom area accessible from the newly introduces half sunken courtyards for outdoor and indoor activities. Six rooms on the ground level will be specially designed and furnished as per ADA requirements to accommodate disabled occupants. The landscape design is developed by renowned landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic, injecting AUB's green campus with a sensitive and enriching intervention around Penrose.
AUB has also registered this project to receive a LEED certification and is applying the needed measures to achieve a high level of sustainability during the renovation's design and construction phases.
The plan is to have the project completed in phases in order to reach the target of occupying the building by end August 2019.