When they walk out of the Quad and head north, freshmen at Upenn gawk at the Wistar Institute at 3601 Spruce St., wondering what goes on inside the strange building in the heart of the campus that’s totally unaffiliated with the university. The Wistar Institute was founded in 1892 and has been located at this site since a few years after its founding. It employs hundreds of people who are all committed to the Institute’s goals of research, specifically in the fields of cancer and immunology. The last major improvement project at Wistar took look place in the 1970′s, resulting in a building that’s very unfriendly to pedestrians, offering few clues about what actually happens inside.
A tremendous new addition to the Institute broke ground just last week, which should create a building that’s far more friendly and welcoming. We’re not sure that the design fits in very well in an area that has numerous historic buildings, but we’re definitely on board with what the new building will do for the Wistar Institute.
Definitely a new look
A new seven-story, ultra-modern tower will soon go up just behind the facility’s historic structure on Spruce St.- the architects for the project are Ballinger, and L. F. Driscoll are the general contractors. On the first floor, Wistar will create a new entrance to the facility, which potentially will clear up some of the confusion from passersby about what it is that Wistar does. In addition, there are plans for a 200-seat auditorium that will host events for the public, including research symposia. Most importantly, the five upper stories will offer new laboratory space that will create a hundred new jobs and help Wistar more effectively pursue its missions of curing cancer and discovering new vaccines.
New entryway on Spruce St.
Interior rendering. The lady in the lab coat is creeping us out.