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Kate Kaman sculptural depiction of bacteria from third floor messanine
TUSM's New Medical Education and Research Building

Scrapbook of MERB Construction Progress


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Commons atrium Artwork - "The Unseen World"

Finalists Kaman + Erland - "The Unseen World"


Philadelphia artist Kate KamanCongratulations to Philadelphia artist Kate Kaman of Kaman + Erland who is the final artist selected for the major art installation called “The Unseen World” in the Commons Atrium of the new medical school building.

The art installation will be located in the three-story, glass-enclosed atrium that faces Broad Street. This visual masterpiece will enable a landmark institution of science and learning to also become a cultural icon for North Philadelphia. Visible day and night from inside and outside the building, the proposed sculpture will enhance the community’s sense of identity and pride. Its subject matter and structural features will inspire wonderment and imagination, demonstrating the interfaces between art and science, and creating singular possibilities for educational outreach in the community.


Photo of the completed water/bubble wall installation dividing the John Sprandio, MD Lobby and the Maurice Stone, MD Commons

Photo of the completed water/bubble wall installation dividing the

John Sprandio, MD Lobby and the Maurice Stone, MD Commons


"The Unseen World" view from Broad Street

Artist's rendering of "The Unseen World" view from Broad Street


Philadelphia artist Kate Kaman of Kaman + Erland (www.ekeart.com) has designed a dynamic larger-than-life sculptural depiction of the most plentiful and ancient microscopic life forms -- bacteria. Suspended throughout an area measuring approximately 130 feet long, 27 feet wide and 41 feet tall, “The Unseen World” celebrates the simple beauty and amazing variety of these miniscule elements of the human body, visible only with the aid of a microscope. These 55 sculptures represent a variety of bacteria.



From the third floor mezzanine

The work is illuminated with Light Emitting Diodes, creating subtle color shifts and a dazzling sense of fluidity as the LEDs modulate. Colors can be adjusted to suit the occasion, be it a cool blue for an evening reception or a warm pink light signifying Breast Cancer Awareness Month.


Night view from inside

Night view from inside


Kaman + Erland is a pioneer in ecologically sensitive sculpture practice with an emphasis on efficiency and renewal energy technology. Materials are selected for their light weight, fire safety, light transmittance, durability and low maintenance. This is a state-of-the-art, eco-friendly atrium sculpture with long-term consideration of its carbon footprint.


“The Unseen World” will truly enhance the new building’s atrium, a veritable hub of the institution. It will also be the centerpiece and catalyst for a community outreach education program, conducted by students and faculty of the medical school and other Temple schools with children from local schools on topics, such as: the human body; bacteria--good and bad; art and science, reflecting each other; how LED lighting works; ecology and art.



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Temple University School of Medicine is grateful to the artists who submitted their qualifications to be considered for the Commons Atrium Artwork in the new medical school building.


Congratulations to the six semi-finalists:


Sam Gilliam
Ralph Helmick
Kate Kaman
Ray King
Martha Madigan
Tim Prentice


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Project Background


Temple University School of Medicine
Designed to accommodate the “common working person,” the first Temple class of 31 medical students attended classes at night and on weekends, a radical departure from the traditional concept of medical education. TUSM was also the first co-educational medical school in Pennsylvania. The School has conferred nearly 11,000 MD degrees, and TUSM alumni have demonstrated and built upon their superb education through achievements in pedagogy, research, clinical practice, industry, and beyond.

The Medical School Today
Temple's School of Medicine is recognized as an exceptional medical educational institution with a diverse and socially-conscious student body, outstanding faculty, and cutting edge research. TUSM enrolls approximately 800 students in the MD program and 140 students in MS and PhD programs. Approximately 44% of students in the Class of 2008 are women and 13% are from groups under-represented in medicine. TUSM has increased scholarship funds by 76% in two years, which has enhanced the School's ability to draw the most talented applicants.


Distinguished faculty members are passionate about imparting knowledge and motivating students to be active lifelong learners. Temple has recently attracted outstanding new faculty members at an unprecedented level, surpassing the national average and drawing a significant number from out of state. These top scholars from leading institutions around the nation have come to participate in Temple’s dynamic growth and to make their mark on students, patients, and modern medicine.

Research Enterprise
Medical research at Temple flourishes in both the clinical and basic science realms, reflecting the expansion of its faculty. The Office of Clinical Trials currently supports 150 ongoing projects and fosters industry-related development in new arenas. Interdisciplinary research thrives in several established centers: the Cardiovascular Research Center; the Center for Substance Abuse Research; the Sol Sherry Thrombosis Research Center; the Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology; and two new ventures—the Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities and the Center for Obesity Research and Education.


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Scope of Project


Project Description

Resulting from a space program concept plan prepared by Ballinger in 2002, a new teaching and research facility is now in construction which will replace Temple University’s original 1933 medical school building. The new facility will house nearly 200,000 SF of biomedical research space, core imaging facilities, vivarium, teaching space, and a health sciences library and promotes a progressive image for the medical school on one of Philadelphia’s major intercity arterials. Circulation is organized around the heart of the building, a central commons space, to maximize interaction among faculty and students. The three-story, day-lit, multi-use commons serves as the major public area, accommodating 600 to 800-seat ceremonies. The commons, library, large auditoria and entry create a “symphony of public spaces” that are welcoming, engaging and conducive to learning, interaction and collaboration. The building will be substantially completed in September 2009.

Artwork Scope
The artwork will be located in the commons atrium; a ground level, three story space with a glazed east wall facing Broad Street. The selected artist or team of artists must create a permanent site-specific design that is dynamic and visible from the exterior during the day and evening, and has a three-dimensional quality. Artwork can include, but is not limited to medicine, research, or genetics. The design should be indicative of the future through form, material, and possibly illumination.

Selection Process
The selected semi-finalists are required to attend a Pre-Proposal meeting/site visit and will be asked to prepare a detailed proposal to present to the Selection Panel. Building design information will be made
available to each artist.  A design stipend of $5,000 will be awarded to each semi-finalist or design team. Stipend award is contingent upon completion of attached forms: W-9, Temple University Contractual
Agreement, Temple University Independent Contractor Determination and Certification.

Selection Criteria
Artist(s) will be selected on the basis of artistic merit, technical proficiency, and relationship to the site. Long-term maintenance, durability, and public safety concerns will be major selection criteria. Artist(s) must have comparable experience in physical and budgetary scope of work, and preferably with large institutions. Artist(s) are required to comply with applicable rules, codes, and procedures of all governmental boards and agencies of the City of Philadelphia and Temple University. Demonstration of experience is required. The panel reserves the right to decide that none of the submissions are feasible for the site.

Contract Award
The artist(s) selected will be required to enter into an agreement with Temple University School of Medicine prior to commencing. No selection shall be deemed final until a proposal has been fully approved, and an agreement properly executed and signed by the artist and Temple University School of Medicine.


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