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Early Childhood Education
Adaptive Reuse, Deep Energy Retrofit
4,500 SF
Philadelphia, PA: Fishtown

The ‘Front & 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 energy savings, long-term durability, low embodied carbon materials and indoor air quality.  PlayArts represents a return to the era of holistic community thinking while advancing the push to healthy building restoration in Philadelphia.

PlayArts Rendering


Deep Energy Retrofit

Building Metrics

Energy Use Intensity: 30.53

Building Envelope

Slab On Grade: Existing to remain

Above Grade Walls: R-21

Roof: R-42 / R-49


Building Systems

Power / Fuel Source(s): All electric

Energy recovery ventilation

Heat pump water heater

Solar ready 
Foam-free assemblies


Exterior: Dave Apple 

Interior: Kristen Zubriski

Awards & Recognition

2020 AIA Philadelphia: Historic Preservation/Adaptive Reuse, Merit Award

2018 Green Building United: Groundbreaker Award

2018 Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia: Achievement Award

2018 SARA: Professional, Silver Award

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