ABOUT | Built in 1907, this historic public bathhouse at Front and Thomson Streets sits at the crossroads of three neighborhoods: Fishtown, South Kensington, and Northern Liberties. Closed as a public pool in the 1960s and utilized as a light industrial shop since, it slowly fell into a state of disrepair. Today, a locally grown, play-based arts and enrichment center for kids and their parents sits within. This modern, healthy space hosts art and music instruction, adventure-based play, and a small café. It is one of many structures that has sprung up beneath the El to revitalize the Front Street corridor. For this deep energy retrofit, a low-embodied carbon Passive House approach enables a high level of indoor air quality thanks to balanced heat and moisture recovery ventilation and a super-insulated, airtight shell. With electricity as the sole power source, PlayArts has become a truly sustainable project leading towards a more resilient Philadelphia.
THE NUMBERS | Original year built: 1915. Renovated in 1969 (roof structure and some walls replaced). Retrofit completed 2016. | Area: 4,025 square feet | R-Values: R21 Exterior Walls, R42/49 Roofs
COMPONENTS/SYSTEMS | Karsten Tube testing: 475 High Performance Building Supply | Airsealing: Pro Clima Intello Plus air barrier and smart vapor retarder | Insulation: Dense-packed cellulose (walls), polyiso rigid foam (roof) | Mechanical ventilation: (4) Ultimate Air 200DX (30-200 CFM) RecoupAerator ERVs | Heating + cooling: (11) Mitsubishi ductless mini split units paired with (11) outdoor condensers staged for scalability. | Hot water:40 gallon GE Geospring hybrid electric heat pump
Exterior photos by Dave Apple; Interior photos by Kristen Zubriski