A Bridge Between Past & Future
Penn State Behrend Federal House
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Erie, Pennsylvania | 11,000 SF Restoration & Addition
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 Federal House by way of an elegant, glass bridge—to preserve and elevate the historically significant building.
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. , 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.