Germantown Friends School | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Germantown Friends School is situated on the outskirts of Philadelphia with limited opportunities to expand its campus footprint. Their campus core had become their central parking lot, but they sought creative design solutions to convert the space into a multi-purpose green space while still maintaining efficient vehicular access.
As the process needed to embody the Quaker school’s philosophy of building consensus around important decisions, VMA was brought in as part of 13 years of design, discussion, testing, trial runs to reach consensus within the school community, the Germantown Monthly Meeting, and the greater community. VMA’s design would redefine the core campus and the school’s goal to make the campus more beautiful and environmentally conscious.
First, drop-off patterns were changed to use all four street frontages at the school. A new parking lot was designed and built adjacent to the core campus. In addition, the traffic pattern through the campus was reversed to make a safer pedestrian environment. These moves allowed VMA to transform the parking lot into a Commons, which is characterized by a lawn crisscrossed by connecting paths and indigenous blooming flowers near the Lower School and a paved hardscape play area that serves the older students. Princeton Elms now frame the entire drive. On Sundays, the paved area doubles as parking for Quaker Meeting.
Size: 1.25 acres
Budget: $1 million