The Franklin Institute of Philadelphia, PA, recently broke ground on a state-of-the-art LEED® Silver-certifiable building addition, the 53,000-SF Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion. Scheduled to open in 2014, the new facility will feature an expanded education center with integrated learning technologies, a modern conference center and a climate-controlled traveling exhibition gallery.
In coordination with SaylorGregg Architects, Urban Engineers (Urban) developed specialty designs to meet the museum’s complex needs. Urban provided the site grading, utility assessment and relocation, and stormwater management design for the addition, which incorporate rain gardens for water quality treatment and underground detention for rate control into the landscape and site layout. Urban also designed the mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems for the new facility, as well as the mechanical and electrical systems for a new core 8,500-SF exhibit entitled “Your Brain.”
According to The Franklin Institute, total design, construction and fit-out for the building addition will generate 150,000 hours of work and 125 jobs in construction, design and consulting in Philadelphia, as well as 20 additional full-time or full-time equivalent jobs at the museum.
The new building and “Your Brain” exhibit are the final capital initiatives of a comprehensive strategic plan that also included the opening of two new core exhibits, Changing Earth and Electricity, in 2010, for which Urban also provided mechanical, electrical, and plumbing design.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer a wide-range of engineering design services to help The Franklin Institute meet its strategic goals,” said Urban’s Civil/Site Project Engineer, Hilary Holmes, PE, LEED® AP. “The new building addition will not only have a positive impact on the Franklin Institute’s community outreach initiatives and help attract new exhibits, but it will also help solidify the City of Philadelphia as a premier arts and culture destination.”