The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine was looking to renovate the Reception and Lobby, Waiting Areas and Administrative Spaces at the First Floor of the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital building located on the Penn campus. One of the foremost veterinary schools in the country, Penn Vet also provides clinical treatment for companion pets at its main campus. This facility serves as a vital training program for the students, and the hospital sees approximately 33,000 animals a year.

The existing Lobby was difficult to find and navigate, the Waiting Areas were small, dated in their furnishings and design, and dark with little connection to the exterior. Restrooms and vending areas were hidden and unimproved.

In addition, the front reception desk presented bullet-proof glass, and the back of house administrative areas were cluttered and disorganized. All in all, the space provided a less than ideal atmosphere for the pets, their owners and those who worked at school.

Cecil Baker + Partners undertook a complete renovation and reconfiguration of the Lobby, Waiting Area, Administrative Area, and Emergency Services Lobby. The goal was to bring a calm atmosphere to a previously chaotic space, as well as to improve circulation paths while providing an increased sense of privacy to pets and their owners.

At the entry, automatic sliding doors replaced heavy manual doors, and large expanses of glass replaced the heavy brick and punched openings along the front fa├žade. Inside, an open and inviting reception desk is separated in the center by vertical, narrow shafts of LED light that transition through a palette of calming, cool colors. The waiting areas have been enlarged and then broken down into smaller areas defined with built-in banquette seating.