Sisters of Saint Joseph | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The phased renovation of the historic Novitiate House was designed to address the current and future needs of its residents, retired members of the Sisters of Saint Joseph. The original concept of open dormitories and gang bathrooms fit a 19th century perspective on religious life, but not current expectations. Specific goals included aligning building performance with current standards, optimizing previously underutilized spaces, and providing a more consistent level of amenity across residential areas.
The first floor was re-organized to provide office space, a conference room, and a formal parlor, while the upper three floors were converted into four residential “communities” and a guest suite. Community sizes range from five to seven bedrooms plus a guest room, and each includes private bathrooms, a gathering space, kitchen/dining space, and laundry facilities. Bedrooms were organized according to existing window openings to provide each room with a view and ample daylighting. Shared spaces such as a chapel, projects room, exercise room, and archives space were interspersed among the residential community floors.
The building’s primary facades were left largely untouched, but a rear porch was restored to its original appearance. The building’s insulation and HVAC systems were updated to ensure optimal performance and efficiency. Finally, the existing elevator was completely rebuilt, creating accessible routes to the upper floors.
Size: 37,000 sf
Budget: $6.9 million
Architecture, Interior Design, Historical Preservation, Planning