Accolade on Chestnut

University of Pennsylvania Student Housing

The Sansom Place East redevelopment repurposed a 1970s modernist structure to provide upgraded on-campus housing for over 600 University of Pennsylvania graduate students.

With new plantings, furnishings, materials, and lighting, Bohler’s planning, landscape architecture, and design team identified opportunities to refresh and enhance the existing outside plaza. The plaza upgrades aimed to revitalize the existing exterior and building façade, as well as to provide a welcoming pedestrian connection and a seamless flow from the streetscape to the building entry to the internal amenity spaces.

Redesigned exterior plaza with new plantings, furnishings, materials, and lighting.

Creating Sense of Place

The design also incorporates a sense of place within the urban plaza, which is activated by adaptable programming within outdoor rooms at several levels of the plaza, as well as improvements to the plaza’s overall aesthetic, including hardscape, landscaping, and building façade at pedestrian level. Seating areas with fire pits, grilling stations, a pergola, and extra tables and seating areas are among the amenities. The upgrades also include accent lighting, programmable zones, and aesthetics to the current lights for security.

Upgrades to the plaza’s overall aesthetic creates a seamless flow from streetscape to building entry.

The project preserved the current towers’ outer facades, replaced windows, and completely restored the interiors to improve the graduate student experience. Sansom Place East was redeveloped into Accolade on Chestnut in the summer of 2023. Greystar Real Estate Partners now manages the property, and the studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom graduate student apartments are all fully leased.

In 2024, the project was awarded the prestigious “Best On-Campus Renovation of Existing University Housing” at the Student Housing Business 14th Annual Innovator Awards.

Plaza with pergola and tables, vegetation, and seating areas.

Plaza and deck spaces with lounge and table seating and firepits for gathering. Rendering by BartonPartners.

600 units
23 stories
6 new spaces

Ready to Move Forward?

Our approach makes a meaningful difference for our most ambitious clients. Contact us to learn more.

Let's Get Started