Harrison College House

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During the 1960s, Penn planning looked in two directions, toward contextualism in the work of the Philadelphia School, and toward confrontation in the work of most of the architects from outside of the region. These three residential towers take the latter, more conventionally modern course, in a great vertical T-plan slab of poured-in-place concrete that seems to grow larger at the top, recalling modernism's heroic age. The buildings were designed by G. Holmes Perkins, dean of the Graduate School of Fine Arts, and Professor of Design Mario Romanach.  This residence is named for Charles Custis Harrison, Provost of the University, 1894 to 1910.

Planning Strategy

The 1960s elimination of vehicular traffic in the area of campus stretching from 38th to 40th Streets between Walnut and Spruce Streets, created a park-like environment where three high-rise student residences were built in the early 1970s. The three residences are now known as Harnwell, Harrison, and Rodin College Houses. The $180M project cost reflects the budget for work in all three High Rise College Houses: Rodin, Harrison, and Harnwell.


Renovations in these three residential towers took place in eight phases over eight summers, spanning 2001-2009. Exterior work included repair and sealing of concrete facades, complete window system replacement, roof replacement, and landscaping. Interior common area improvements included upgrades to finishes, painting and new furniture. The installation of life safety systems was also completed.

Harrison College House

Harrison College House

Building Code: 210
Gross Area (sq. ft.): 309,982
Phase: Completed
Year Built: 1970
Floors: 24
Architect: Eshback, Pullinger, Stevens, Bruder
Trustee Date: 11/14/69
Other Name: HARS, W. Welsh Harrison House, High Rise South, High South
Building Manager
Lawson, Chris