The building is named in honor of Penn alumni Perry and Donna Golkin, the lead donors to the approximately $33.5 million project. Designed by architects at the Boston-based firm Kennedy & Violich Architecture, construction of Golkin Hall began in May of 2010.
The 40,000-square-foot building, which connects the law school’s existing Silverman, Gittis, and Tanenbaum halls around a central courtyard, houses staff and faculty offices, classrooms, a moot court room, a 350-seat auditorium, and an abundance of informal meeting spaces. In fact, says Jo-Ann Verrier, vice dean of administrative services, including those gathering places in the building’s design was a priority.
“We have a physical plant that supports our academic mission: allowing people to bring interdisciplinary knowledge to the practice of law,” she explains. “In this structure, we have a lot of crossroads where people can see each other to foster that sort of collaboration.”
Another salient feature of the new building is its emphasis on green design. Roofs are covered with plantings that minimize storm water runoff and reduce the urban heat island effect, and interior light wells channel natural light into office spaces, corridors, the courtroom, and the soaring, two-story lobby.
The Penn community is invited to several events planned to mark the opening of Golkin Hall. On Wednesday, April 4, two panel discussions will feature Penn Law faculty and alumni. At noon, over lunch at the Levy Conference Center, six professors will consider how their areas of legal expertise may impact the practice and teaching of law in the 21st century. Then at 4 p.m., following a cheese and wine reception at the Davis Student Union, six prominent alumni will discuss how their training in law prepared them to be leaders.
The culminating event—a ribbon cutting ceremony—is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 5, and is open to the public. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor and the Golkins will do the honors. The ribbon cutting ceremony will be followed by an open house. Visitors will have the opportunity to take self-guided tours of the new building and enjoy food, drinks, and live entertainment.
No RSVP is required for the ribbon-cutting ceremony and the open house. However, individuals wishing to attend Wednesday’s academic panels should email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a seat.
For more information about Golkin Hall, visit the Penn Law website.