A Bridge Between Past & Future

Penn State Behrend, Susan Hirt Hagen Center for Community Outreach, Research, & Evaluation

To Project Types

Erie, PA | 11,000 SF Restoration & Addition

With a gentle touch, the newest addition to campus preserves the past and prepares the future.

The oldest brick structure in the area, the Federal House at Penn State Behrend is gracefully preserved and repurposed by an expansive addition. A light and spacious modern barn slips into the steeply graded site—linking to the restored structure by way of an elegant, glass bridge—to preserve and elevate the historically significant building.

Offices, classrooms, event spaces, and more will be housed in the new addition.

At the same time, the building provides a new home—offices, classrooms, and event space—for the Susan Hirt Hagen Center for Community Outreach, Research, and Evaluation (CORE), an effort by Penn State Behrend’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences. In a county where one in three children under five live in poverty (in the city of Erie, PA it’s nearly half), CORE fosters positive youth development and a culture of hope through mentoring and education programs. Creating space of inclusion and security, the design communicates to its young visitors that they are valued. While the barn’s large, glass walls draw a compelling contrast to the solidity of the Federal House, the dark gray zinc panels of its roof echo the gabled roof of the historic building. The building is softened by a warm wood wrap that marks its entrance, welcoming its visitors, so whether they’re headed to mentoring sessions in the small classrooms on the second floor or the 100-person event space just inside the entrance, they know that this space is for them.