The University of Pennsylvania says its trustees have approved plans to turn part of a former DuPont Co. paint factory and lab into "Pennovation Center," a 58,000 sf, $37.5 million, three-story office and lab center, plus landscaping, signs, and infrastructure improvements, on the Schuylkill on the 23-acre South Philadelphia site the school purchased after DuPont shut it down six years ago.

The center, designed by New York architects HWKN (Hollwich Kushner) -- KSS is architect of record -- will be "Penn's hub for innovation, research and entrepreneurialism," with research scientists, students and for-profit corporations working on joint projects, Penn says here. "The buidling's northern facade bursts forth from the grid" of the factory building; the glass north side faces Center City and the Penn campus to its west. It's also meant to recall the home garages startups are supposed to use as their early offices.

Penn will offer "co-working space" to small firms in need, plus "wet and dry labs with shared lab-support equipment, meeting rooms and social areas. The Penn Engineering Field Research Center on the top floor will combine "integrating computer science and electrical, mechanical and systems engineering" to develop products for "robotics, in the Internet of things and in embedded systems." Engineering lab to open later this year, other projects to follow.