PROJECTS by TYPE: EDUCATION: • INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS: Agnes Irwin School
Agnes Irwin, a day school for girls founded in 1869, is located on an 18-acre campus in a suburb of Philadelphia. After completing a campus master plan, our design work included transforming a 1960’s library, and constructing a new building to house visual arts, performing arts, and science.
The original library was an austere, dysfunctional, 1960s building with a concrete interior and three split levels. In our transformation, we cut a hole in the upper floor to connect the main levels visually and connected all of the levels with an open stair and glass railings. We covered the concrete interior with new ash paneling, slatted acoustical ceilings, limestone bases, and muted carpeting. The new library is calm, interconnected, and easy to supervise.
Immediately adjacent to the library and connected to it by a bridge is the new Arts and Science Center. The 30,000 sf building is based on the idea of an art gallery. Its two-story entry lobby, the open stair, and all of the corridors were designed to display art; the spaces for circulation and art display are illuminated by windows, glass walls, and skylights. The building's transparency promotes community and interaction.
We designed the building with the materials of the campus – stone, brick, glass, metal panels, and metal roofs. The science labs are located behind glass and metal facades. The spaces forthe arts are simple and loft-like; the unpretentious finishes appeal to artists.
The Arts & Science Center received American School & University's William Caudill citation as the best K-12 academic project in the U.S. in 2006.