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Jefferson Accelerator Zone


Conceived as an innovation center to drive the future of healthcare, the Jefferson Accelerator Zone (JAZ) fosters entrepreneurship and collaboration while engaging the Jefferson community to develop new products and companies. In repeat work for the university, CBP Architects renovated an existing two-story rowhouse. The architecture parallels the building’s innovative function, characterized by a dramatic projecting glazed façade constructed of custom curtain wall. The design took inspiration from Benjamin Franklin’s famous kite experiment.

Executing the project’s unorthodox ‘bay’ window on the project’s fast-track schedule required close coordination with the structural engineer, general contractor, and glazing subcontractor. Internally, the existing floor structure was reconfigured to create open, free-flowing spaces consistent with the progressive program. The adaptive reuse incorporated energy efficient lighting, insulated glazing, and technology such as built-in programmable flat screens and whiteboard walls. Steel panels, Ipe hardwood, and back-painted glass offer an inspired industrial palette. In addition to providing users with a gathering space unlike any on campus, the project enlivened the block by replacing an underutilized façade. The design required special approval from the Art Commission and attracted the attention of Philadelphia Inquirer Architecture Critic Inga Saffron who praised it as a “delightful piece of sculpture.”

  • Project Category

    Institutional, Civic & Commercial

  • Client

    Thomas Jefferson University

  • Location

    Philadelphia, PA

  • Number of Stories


  • Gross Floor Area

    1,826 sf

  • Program

    Innovation center