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Bringing Mass Timber to Philadelphia at Amy Gutmann Hall

Session 4B | 3:00 - 4:00 PM

Bringing Mass Timber to Philadelphia at Amy Gutmann Hall

Session 4B | 3:00 - 4:00 PM


A case study on Amy Gutmann Hall, the new data science building at the University of Pennsylvania and first mass timber building in Philadelphia, will consist of a brief project and design overview followed by a panel discussion among representatives from the project team. Panelists will explore the decision to pursue mass timber, highlighting benefits to schedule, cost, sustainability, and impact on occupant well-being, as well as the feasibility and accessibility of this construction type. The goal of this session is to educate, motivate, and inspire the AEC community around the opportunities for mass timber, specifically in the City of Philadelphia.


  1. Identify benefits of mass timber construction across sustainability, occupant wellbeing, cost, and schedule.
  2. Describe the design and approval considerations for mass timber construction.
  3. Gain insight into the design process including mechanical and structural coordination of mass timber.
  4. Understand the mass timber procurement process and the value of early engagement.

Meet the Speakers

Mayva Donnon, AIA
A Partner at KSS Architects, Mayva is drawn to architecture because of the opportunities it presents to tackle a breadth of challenges that demand both creative and practical solutions. Through her ability to balance the technical aspects of architectural practice with the human side of design Mayva has led several of KSS’ most noted projects and built many of the firm’s lasting client relationships. Mayva is an expert in the design of engaging learning environments for early childhood, K-12, higher education, and community clients. As one of the key design voices in the firm, she is dedicated to fostering collaborations among staff, consultants, clients, and other collaborators to create innovative and inclusive design solutions.

Becker Raab, RA
Becker is an associate at KSS Architects and a registered architect in Pennsylvania. His experience extends across markets including higher education, behavioral health, preK-12, and industrial. He views the field of design with curiosity and desire to explore the day-to-day spaces we inhabit and enjoys the rigor of a collaborative design process to arrive at unique, thoughtful responses to project conditions. Currently, Becker is serving as Project Architect for Amy Gutmann Hall, the first six-story mass timber building in Philadelphia. As co-chair of KSS’ Community Design Group and local volunteer in his neighborhood, Becker believes in the agency of design to make meaningful impact on our world.

Meredith Zuno

Meredith Zuno is Senior Project Manager at Gilbane Building Company, with over 27 years of experience in a range of markets including higher education, life science, residential and industrial. Currently, Zuno is serving as senior project manager for Amy Gutmann Hall, the first six-story mass timber building in Philadelphia. In addition to her project management experience, Zuno is the Philadelphia chair of empoWer, Gilbane’s employee resource group that is dedicated to inspiring women to thrive and excel in their personal and professional lives.

Kerry Phillips

Kerry Phillips is an Associate at Lake|Flato with more than 15 years of architectural experience in a broad variety of project sizes and types. She has managed some of Lake|Flato’s largest and most complex projects with a focus on STEM facilities, overseen intense large-scale renovations, and demonstrated excellence in the design of vibrant environments for civic and cultural community projects. As a leader of the firm’s quality control team, Kerry provides direction on BIM, graphic standards and specification policies. Her passion for creating environments that enrich communities has been integral in the design of many award-winning projects, including The Witte Museum in San Antonio, the Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston, and most recently the University of Pennsylvania Data Science building.

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