The 162,000-square-foot academic building at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa., was the first phase of an updated sustainable master plan for the school, celebrating the academy’s unique natural setting, and reinforcing its commitment to environmental stewardship.
Designed to meet LEED gold criteria, the project ASSOCIATED FIRMCharles E. Shoemaker, Inc.; Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc.; H.F. Lenz Company; Metropolitan AcousticsCAPACITY990COST PER SQ FT$201.45CITATIONCombined-Level School CitationFEATURED IN2012 Architectural Portfolio a host of sustainable design strategies that extend the building as a teaching tool—rainwater harvesting systems and a green roof teach about stormwater-management issues; green materials teach about resources; and advanced system controls display the workings of the building.
A variation on the English "house" system, the new configuration assigns students to smaller social and service groups that cross grade lines, provides additional leadership opportunities, and encourages cross-pollination between class years. The design of the new building reinforces this organizational concept by providing inviting alcoves open to the corridors, which serve as home bases for each of the school’s seven "houses." At each floor level, both house and learning spaces are fully glazed along the exterior walls, offering direct visual connections to the nearby creek and beyond.
"Great collaboration spaces and wonderful use of local natural materials combined with steel and glass. The learning seminar rooms are very special environments."--2012 jury