Posted: Friday, 23 January, 2015 By: Comments: 0

Penn Foundation

Several design goals were established early on in the project – 1) Design that had a human scale; 2) Encouraged healing and improved well being; 3) Environmentally responsible to aid in reducing maintenance and performance operating costs; and 4) Represent to the community the Owners commitment to continue to serve and support the community.

Located on a 30 acre site in a growing suburban community midway between Philadelphia and Allentown, Pennsylvania it was important to preserve the rural character, and landscape.   As part of an ever growing campus plan to continue to meet growing client serves, the building design maintains a soft edge to the streetscape by not crowding it with a one story residential scale height design and growing to two stories as it moved away from the street to the interior of the campus.  The design worked with the natural contours of the land and existing mature landscaping.  This provided a building plan that rambled out to provide a more  human scale to the clinical areas of the building and provided unobstructed views and natural daylight into all areas of the building, with special emphasis in the outpatient clinical therapy areas aiding in the healing and improved well being of clients as well as employees.

In the mid 1950’s the healthcare organization started in an old stone farmhouse which was outgrown over the years and became increasingly difficult to keep in code compliance.  The difficult decision was made to remove the building in order to expand.  Rather than “landfill” the building, a conscience effort was made to remove, recycled and/or repurposed materials within the new facilities.  Stone from the walls were reused as design elements in the waiting areas, and chapel.  Wide old growth wood floor boards were reused as wall privacy screen elements at reception desks and room dividers, and alters in the chapel.  Buy reusing these materials provided a constant connection to the organization’s past to it’s future and continuing service mission. The rambling layout allowed the building massing to be broken up and reduce the 36,900 square feet building area to a more human scale, which aided in giving firmer identity to areas of the building from the exterior.  The exterior finishes utilized stucco and stone elements from the adjoining campus architecture as well as gabled roof lines to provide visual continuity throughout the healthcare campus, and maintain a more welcoming feel and connection to the community.

To support privacy, and counseling therapy activities, controlling sound transmission was also a very important design component.  Both interior and exterior sound transmission was limited throughout the building.  Interior counseling office partitions were designed to provide STC ratings of 55 or higher.  Exterior wall sound transmission was readily achieved using  Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) walls to complete the intimate private and quiet therapy “cocoons”.

When completed in 2013 it was the first building constructed in the United States that implemented a geothermal heating and cooling system coupled to an active chilled beam system making it one of the most efficient building heating and cooling system in the country.

In 2013 it was awarded the Philadelphia Business Journal, Health Care & Life Science Leaders Sustainability Award.

Client: Penn Foundation - Main Building
Date: 2013
Sustainable Design
Geo-Thermal with Active Chilled Beams
Repurposed Materials