When a family member moves out of the house, there’s usually an opportunity to do some renovations in the vacated space.

Such will be the case with the Acopian Engineering Center, which will undergo renovations and facility upgrades after the computer science department moves from Acopian’s fifth floor and into the new Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center, slated to open in fall 2019. It’s the first major upgrade of the facility since the total renovation in 2003 made possible by the generosity of the Acopian Family.

“The computer science department moving out of the fifth floor into the new science center project created an opportunity to rethink how the Acopian Engineering Center was organized and make things better,” says Darin Jellison, project architect and principal with Blackney Hayes Architects of Philadelphia.

“The plan is to modify parts of the building in a way that looks toward the future,” he says. “We’re looking at things like interdisciplinary lab space and opening the building up to provide comfortable surroundings, promote collaboration among students and faculty, and make the space more usable.”

Jellison says the most exciting part of the project is the creation of lab space on the fifth floor, to provide dedicated areas to bring together students and faculty in an environment dedicated to promoting interdisciplinary learning and research.

Acopian’s third floor, with its entrance opening toward the Quad, will be redesigned to provide a large event gathering area.
“It will give that entry more identity and create more buzz around the entire building,” Jellison says, adding that some classrooms will be reconfigured to make them more comfortable and welcoming.

“The building is a double loaded corridor– you’re in the hall, you’re in the classroom,” he says. “There are gathering spaces in the building, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it. We hope to improve that with this project.”

“Overall, spaces will be reconfigured to make them work better and promote the division’s vision for the future,” says Jellison, adding that restroom facilities will be improved, and IT and maintenance closets will be relocated as well.

Approximately fifteen percent of the Acopian Engineer Center’s 98,000 square feet will be improved. A corridor on the ground level of the Acopian will physically connect it to the Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center, completing the interdisciplinary link between the buildings that will dominate Anderson Courtyard.

Work on the Acopian project is expected to be begin after the Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center project is completed.