Architectural firm KieranTimberlake to lead Sackett Building renovation

November 1, 2022

By Sarah Small

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State has selected the architectural firm KieranTimberlake from Philadelphia to lead the Sackett Building renovation and additions project at University Park. 

Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant announced the selection of KieranTimberlake after narrowing a long list of nine contenders in April to a short list of three in June. 

“KieranTimberlake is an award-winning leader in practice-based architectural research and sustainable buildings,” said Craig Dubler, director of facilities in the Penn State College of Engineering.

The Sackett Building project is part of the College of Engineering’s Master Facilities Plan Implementation. The Sackett renovations will include “significant utility infrastructure upgrades, demolition of the Engineering Units, Kunkle Lounge, Hammond Building, and the 1957 Sackett Building wings, and appropriate landscaping of the precinct ready for future development,” according to OPP’s site

“Sackett faces Old Main and is highly visible from both downtown and across Old Main lawn, making it not only important to the College of Engineering but iconic to the University as a whole,” said Anthony Atchley, acting dean of the College of Engineering. “Sackett has served the college's faculty, staff and students for nearly a hundred years. This project will renew this historic building as a place where we will continue our important work of advancing the leading edge of engineering education, research and engagement focused on student success, community and impact for decades to come.”

Sackett was originally designed by Charles Klauder and constructed in 1928-30. The building wings, which are slated to be removed and replaced in this project, were constructed in 1957. According to the March request for letters of interest released by OPP, the main goals of the project include creating Sackett as an “Engineering Head House” with an administrative focus near Old Main; incorporating general purpose classrooms, engineering computational labs and student study/socializing space; reinstating the “historical status and spirit of the original Charles Klauder design as a prominent freestanding building facing Pattee Mall”; creating new, smaller, historically appropriate wings; gutting and reimagining Sackett; and upgrading utility infrastructure.

The project offers an opportunity for the college to look forward to Penn State-led engineering innovations of the future while also reflecting on the past, according to Atchley. In collaboration with the Indigenous Peoples Student Association and the Indigenous Faculty and Staff Alliance, Penn State acknowledges the history of the land — and the people who have and continue to care for the land — on which the University sits. 

“As the Penn State land acknowledgement states, ‘As a land grant institution, we acknowledge and honor the traditional caretakers of these lands and strive to understand and model their responsible stewardship,’” Atchley said. “’We also acknowledge the longer history of these lands and our place in that history.’ We take this honor and responsibility seriously.”  

The master plan also includes the construction of West 1 and West 2, which are being led by Payette of Boston.


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