university - FontAwesome car - FontAwesome Page 1 industry - FontAwesome leaf - FontAwesome building-o - FontAwesome Page 1 Page 1 anchor - FontAwesome Page 1 Page 1
The Franklin Inspires


Since its founding year in 1824, the Franklin Institute has been promoting the notion of ‘involving to learn’ from a variety of angles. Did you know that it was founded to be an educational facility offering classes in mechanics, drafting and engineering, all the while keeping science and innovation paramount? Indeed it was for the first 100 years of its existence, and staying true to the legacy of the man whose name it shares, Benjamin Franklin, it evolved and progressed over time. The Franklin Institute is one of Philadelphia’s, and the nation’s, classic progressive cornerstones – an institution that may be permanent in location, but is constantly moving forward and inspiring through interaction inside.


Nicholas And Athena Karabots Pavilion of the Franklin Institute is a game changer for the world renowned institution and the City of Philadelphia.

– James A. Bilella II, PE, Urban’s Vice President


So how does the 191 year-old Institute stay relevant? Nowadays, it’s all about the newest and biggest thing — to the Franklin Institute this means building a 53,000 sf expansion that will impress. This new LEED® Silver Certified expansion, the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion, now houses the largest permanent exhibit in the country, totaling 8,500 sf of creative interactive technology elements that can help solve one of the biggest mysteries of science – Your Brain. Here you may explore the intricacies of how neurons communicate with your body, the science behind optical illusions, debate the future of neuroethics, and so much more.





 The Pavilion’s additional brand new capabilities include a climate-controlled gallery to accommodate delicate and rare exhibits from around the world. The current exhibit, Vatican Splendors, features over 200 priceless treasures from the Roman Catholic Church and coincided with the papal visit to the United States. The sensitive HVAC design allowed for such a sacred exhibition to take place in Philadelphia. “I am thrilled to welcome to Philadelphia, this exhibit which features many of the same precious objects I saw in Vatican City. Making this exhibit open and available to the public immediately before we host the World Meeting of Families and Pope Francis is a wonderful way to prepare for that event and make it even more accessible to everyone,” says Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.


Additionally, there is a state-of-the art education center that can skype far beyond Philadelphia and bring a new level of virtual learning for STEM careers. However, not all of the shiny new features are inside, there is also a one of a kind kinetic shimmer wall on the exterior facade of the new pavilion.



 This new pavilion is meant to ‘wow’ you from every angle – how the engineering accommodates for thousand year old artifacts to be exhibited, how many people can be reached through the communications of the education center and how many new things can be learned about our brain. And, it’s sustainably designed to boot! Stormwater retention features including the raingarden, fly ash in the concrete, a vegetated green roof and energy efficiency innovation reducing consumption by 17.5% are just some of the progressive innovations – we expect nothing less from the Franklin Institute.


So next time you are in Philadelphia, make sure you schedule some time into your day to visit the Franklin Institute, you won’t regret it.

Urban Engineers is proud to have worked with SaylorGregg Architects and the Franklin Institute to provide innovative site civil, specialty mechanical, and electrical design services for the newest addition of a beloved Philadelphia landmark, one that proves that learning is always trending.


As stated by Urban’s Vice President James A. Bilella II, PE, “ the Nicholas And Athena Karabots Pavilion of the Franklin Institute is a game changer for the world renowned Institution and the City of Philadelphia. The addition with state of the art climate controls, allows The Franklin Institute to bring culturally significant and historic artifacts right here to Philadelphia. We are most proud of the fact that The Franklin Institute was able to display 2000 year old Vatican artifacts, “Vatican Splendors,” in the Karabots Pavilion, one of only two locations in the United States.”


Get in Touch
Vice President, Market Leader for Buildings & Development 215.922.8080