Early Childhood Education

Adaptive Reuse
4,500 SF
Philadelphia, PA: Fishtown

The ‘Front and Thompson Public Bath’ was built in 1907 to provide citizens with centralized access to hygienic bathing facilities.  It was strategically located at the crossroads of three neighborhoods: Fishtown, South Kensington and Northern Liberties, Today, the structure is reimagined as a locally grown, play-based arts and enrichment center for child cognitive development.  In addition to the main space for adventure-play, the program includes classrooms for art, music and dance instruction as well as a small cafe.  Preservation and sustainability were key to the project’s mission.  The design team focused on deep energy savings, long-term durability, low embodied carbon materials and a high level of indoor air quality.  With a goal of Net Positive Energy, a future solar photovoltaic panel array will generate approximately 105% of the facility’s energy use.  PlayArts represents a return to the era of holistic community thinking while advancing the push to healthy building restoration in Philadelphia.


Deep Energy Retrofit

Passive House Principles

30.53 EUI

Triple-pane windows and doors
Energy Recovery Ventilation

Solar Ready 
Foam-free assemblies
All electric systems
Reduced heating and cooling system size
Energy-Star appliances
High interior air quality


Builder: Steve Yutzy-Burkey

Structural Engineer: Larsen & Landis 

MEP Engineer: Hutec Engineering 

Photography, Exterior: Dave Apple 

Photography, Interior: Kristen Zubriski