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Germantown Friends School

Sustainable Urban Science Center

The Science Center accommodates the dramatic growth of Upper School students taking science courses by more than doubling the classroom space, adding classrooms for biology, chemistry and physics.

Prep spaces are shared to maximize building efficiency. Independent study rooms further the intent of the design to support collaborative teaching and learning among teachers and students.

Circulation spaces are flooded with daylight and are organized around the central courtyard to visibly and physically connect students to the outdoors.

The building is meant to be as much a part of the GFS science curriculum as its textbooks. Lessons start when students step into the lobby, where a trio of flat screens displays real-time data on the building’s electricity and water consumption. The photovoltaics on the roof, rain cisterns in the courtyard and geothermal wells for heating and cooling are just a few of the sustainable features which allowed the building to achieve a LEED® Gold certification.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


16,000 GSF


Pedagogical planning, programming, laboratory planning and design, equipment planning




SMP Architects


R.G. Vanderweil Engineers

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