Reimagining the Arts Research and Culture House (ARCH)

Reimagining Space, Place & Belonging

University Life is committed to the vision of creating inclusive campus spaces and places; physical spaces designed to promote a sense of belonging, accessibility, and inclusion from a social and cultural perspective.

Any given year, over 10,000 students and 700 student groups access University Life spaces for events, meetings, and community building. University Life feels strongly that the quality and architecture of University spaces has a strong influence on the student experience. It enhances a sense of belonging, promotes community, and removes barriers, real or perceived.

Aligning with University Life’s mission to create more inclusive spaces and places, in the Spring ’22, University of Pennsylvania leadership affirmed the expanded use of the Arts Research and Culture House (ARCH) for the Cultural Resource Centers and affiliated groups. Students and cultural resource center staff, along with University Life and Provost Center leadership initiated a multi-phase planning project with the charge, scope, and deliverables outlined below.

Project Updates

The ARCH is officially re-opened! Thank you to everyone who came and supported the grand re-opening celebration.

As per the physical aesthetics and enhancement sub-group’s recommendations, the ARCH graphics are installed and ready for the September 7th grand re-opening!

  • CRC staff move into their new office spaces on the 3rd floor.
  • Additional second and third floor offices are re-outfitted as meeting and group study rooms.

The Canteen Market is being removed from the 1st floor to make room for a large, community gathering space!

Restoration team continues repairs to the historic 36th street door reestablishing two, main entrances to main floor of the ARCH. 

University architects conduct a walkthrough of the ARCH to determine scope of the initial phases of the project.

The building & operations sub-group leads an important conversation as to how the reimagined ARCH will be managed from a scheduling, safety, and operational standpoint.

The steering committee is updated on a relocation date for the Center for Undergraduate Research to their new temporary home; enabling the spaces to be repurposed for student and CRC use.

The physical aesthetics & enhancements sub-group produces a series of vibrant, culturally inclusive recommendations portraying a reimagined ARCH.

The space designations sub-group makes recommendations to relocate the cultural resource centers and reimagine physical use of the building.

Steering committee sub-groups meet for the first time to begin planning. Great ideas are being shared!

ARCH Steering Committee kicks off its first meeting to discuss project scope and develop sub-groups. Sub-groups are: space designations, physical aesthetics and enhancements, and building operation and scheduling.

"In all of our spaces, we are making sure to consider the needs of our undergraduate and graduate students, both in terms of formal programmatic use and their needs for interaction and building relationships across identities. We continually strive to ensure student spaces are culturally responsive and supportive of social, academic, spiritual, intellectual, and environmental wellness."
Laurie Hall outside on campus copy
Laurie A. Hall
Assistant Vice Provost of Strategic Planning & Operations, University Life

Progress in Photos

Stay tuned for real time updates as the ARCH continues to be reimagined.

Architectural Renderings

A History of Creating Community

We’re thrilled to be reimagining space, place, and belonging within the ARCH. Here’s a snapshot of the community we’ve built thus far.

Project Timeline

We are currently at the end of Phase 1 of Reimagining the ARCH. Check back for further updates on Phase II.

Summer '22 | Phase I

  • June - August

Committee Sub-Groups provide recommendations for ARCH aesthetics, operational procedures, and space designations.


ARCH undergoes initial structural changes including relocating cultural resource centers, minor aesthetic changes, and demolition.

June - August
September - December

Fall '22 | Phase II

  • September - December

Minor aesthetic and physical changes continue, primarily on the ARCH 1st Floor.


ARCH Planning Committee enters study phase to determine future operational and structural needs for the building.

Spring '23 | Phase III

  • January - May

The ARCH Steering Committee expands their work to include a feasibility study for the adjacent building, 3609-3611 Locust Walk.

January - May


The ARCH is home to several of Penn’s cultural resource centers and affiliated student groups. The shared space allows for academic exploration and meaningful, inclusive relationship building and community engagement across identities.

Wil Atkins
Will Atkins, Ph.D. he/him
Associate Vice Provost
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging

Krista Cortes outside of campus
Krista Cortes, Ph.D. she/they
La Casa Latina

Established: 1999
Valerie De Cruz on Penn's campus
Valerie De Cruz she/her
Greenfield Intercultural Center | GIC

Established: 1984
Toyce Holmes
Toyce Holmes she/her
FGLI Program Coordinator
Greenfield Intercultural Center | GIC

Established: 1984
Brian Peterson in front of a colorful mural
Brian Peterson, Ph.D. he/him
Makuu: The Black Cultural Center | Makuu

Established: 2000
Blank Profile
Pan-Asian American Community House | PAACH

Established: 2000

Student Steering Committee & Sub-Groups

The sub-groups highlighted below were created to drive the project forward and make strategic recommendations to the larger steering committee.

Space Designations


Develop a series of recommendations to designate student-centered gathering, administrative, and academic space within the ARCH.

Physical Aesthetics & Enhancements


Develop a series of recommendations outlining the visual elements within the ARCH that contribute to an inclusive, vibrant student-centered environment.

Building Operations & Scheduling


Develop a series of recommendations outlining the operational procedures for the ARCH, including space & event management and academic/non-academic use.

A sincere thank you to the ARCH Steering Committee student representatives

Adeoluwa Fatukasi, C’23
Alexander Eapen, C’24
Ashley Uppani, C’24
Atinuke Aliu, C’25
Camila Irabien, C’24
Carson Sheumaker, C’23
Claire Sun, C’25
Corina Henke, C’25
Diana Mota, C’25
Elizabeth Ramos, C’25
Grace Edwards, C’25
Jessica Thomas, C’25
Lihame Arouna, C’25
Oumy Diasse, C’24
Paola Camacho, C’24
Ryly Ziese, WH’25
Salvador Galvez Jr., NURS’25
Sheil Desai, C’25
Skyler Cheung, ENG ‘25
Sydney Simon, C’25
Taryn Flaherty, C’25
Tristan Fajardo, C’24

We want your feedback!

This form is available for Penn community members to provide suggestions and/or feedback pertaining to the physical aesthetics, usage, and/or operations of the ARCH building.