Mechanics, Manifested: Phila U’s DEC Center In Photos


The Center of campus | Photo: Bradley Maule

The Center of campus | Photo: Bradley Maule

In its first semester of partial use, Philadelphia University’s DEC Center—DEC for its Kanbar College of Design, Engineering, and Commerce—is already a campus landmark. (It will be fully open for the fall semester.) Designed by Boston’s Shepley Bulfinch, the modern iteration of its preeminent founder Henry Hobson Richardson’s firm, the DEC Center in a sense embodies the transdisciplinary college’s principle of innovation.

Situated on a sloping lawn across the way from the Kanbar Campus Center (also designed by Shepley Bulfinch), its metal shell evokes the mechanical design that lines the university’s history. It also provides for climate control, one of the features in its nomination for LEED Certification.

Likewise, much as the college’s approach to its curriculum is unconventional, its 39,000 sq ft space is too: there are only five permanent offices, and the classroom space is designed to be flexible, configured differently as needed. (See Nathaniel Popkin’s profile of the building and college HERE.)

The DEC college and the Campus Center are named for Maurice Kanbar, the 1952 alumnus who created the Quad Cinema (New York City’s first multiplex), launched Skyy Vodka, and designed the scooter he drives around San Francisco, among other eccentricities that have earned him a fortune. In other words, he’s just the type of innovator the DEC Center intends to inspire.

All photos are from March 26, 2013.

About the author

Bradley Maule is co-editor of the Hidden City Daily and the creator of Philly Skyline. He's a native of Tyrone, Pennsylvania, and he's hung his hat in Shippensburg, Germantown, G-Ho, Fishtown, Portland OR, Brewerytown, and now Mt. Airy. He just can't get into Twitter, but he's way into Instagram @mauleofamerica.

1 Comment

  1. This located where the old student Center use to be. The U. has expanded sooo much since I was there. wow

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.


Recent Posts
Church Demolition By The Numbers: More Questions Than Answers

Church Demolition By The Numbers: More Questions Than Answers

December 9, 2016  |  Soapbox

Since 2009, 28 churches have been demolished in Philadelphia. Is development pressure to blame? Partners for Sacred Places staffer and Hidden City contributor Rachel Hildebrandt says yes and does the math on the unabating trend > more

Hidden City Campaign Passes Halfway Point On Way To $30,000

Hidden City Campaign Passes Halfway Point On Way To $30,000

December 8, 2016  |  Buzz

Needed still to reach must-get goal of $30,000: about 180 readers to give $15, $25, $50, $75, or more! > more

Fade And A Shave: Inside Philly's Black Barbershops

Fade And A Shave: Inside Philly’s Black Barbershops

December 7, 2016  |  Last Light

Contributor Theresa Stigale documents life inside neighborhood barbershops with this photo essay > more

America's Oldest Road Takes Center Stage In New Documentary

America’s Oldest Road Takes Center Stage In New Documentary

December 5, 2016  |  Vantage

The King's Highway, the oldest continuously used road in America, is the subject of an award winning documentary premiering tonight at the Kimmel Center > more

A Moving Monument

A Moving Monument

December 5, 2016  |  News

Nearly four years after Hidden City proposed relocating the forlorn Newkirk Viaduct Monument from the side of the train tracks to the forthcoming Bartram's Mile segment of the Schuylkill River Trail system... that has happened. Brad Maule has the story of the 177-year-old monument's relocation > more

Inside SEPTA's Unused Underground Concourse, To Be Restored

Inside SEPTA’s Unused Underground Concourse, To Be Restored

December 2, 2016  |  Last Light

The Center City Concourse, a network of underground pedestrian walkways, has sat empty and largely unused for decades. But big plans are in the works to reopen and reanimate the dead space. Samantha Smyth and Chandra Lampreich takes us into the abandoned tunnels with this photo essay > more