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Friends School of Portland | Kaplan Thompson Architects

Friends School of Portland | Kaplan Thompson Architects

Friends School of Portland | Kaplan Thompson Architects

Friends School of Portland | Kaplan Thompson Architects

Friends School of Portland | Kaplan Thompson Architects

Friends School of Portland | Kaplan Thompson Architects

Friends School of Portland | Kaplan Thompson Architects

Friends School of Portland | Kaplan Thompson Architects

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Context

The Friends School of Portland, an independent K-8 learning environment centered on long-held Quaker-based standards and beliefs, was founded on principles of peace, inquiry, simplicity, and stewardship. Moving from a vibrant, island location to a wooded, 25-acre lot, there was a challenge to maintain the strong connection to the outdoors, especially for a school where the outdoor experience is part of their everyday learning program.

Requirements included strong integration with the landscape through multiple, direct connections to outdoor spaces, use of natural and potentially indigenous materials, and the elimination of fossil fuels. Could this school be an example for kids as to how all buildings must be constructed in order to combat climate change?

Response

The new school is to generate 100% of its own energy on site through photovoltaic panels, reducing future operations costs dramatically and decreasing endowment dependence. As this is the 3rd Passive House-Certified School in the country, it will attain extreme durability and comfort, and a 90% reduction in energy use. High-performance building assemblies have been used throughout and mechanical systems have been significantly reduced, as well as the related maintenance costs, in this all-electric building.

Most exposed interior wood was harvested directly from the site, some in lengths of up to 24 feet. This wood runs throughout the school and into the primarily day-lit classrooms. The Big Room features walls and an undulating ceiling of site-harvested wood, which lifts your eye and spirit toward the sun as it streams through the trees along the creek to the south. A 12-foot wide door opens onto the amphitheater for outdoor performances. A bridge connects the upper level to a playfield to the east.

In Town

Although not walkable for most students as the school draws from multiple towns, the hope is that Portland and Falmouth residents will still be able to occasionally bike to school. Bike racks will be provided.

Renewable Materials

Much of the interior wood was site-harvested. The columns that support the rear entry are preserved trunks of an old oak tree that formerly stood right near that same spot. All materials that have been used throughout are low- or no-VOC.

Water Conservation

All fixtures are low-flow and low-volume.

Budget / Economy

The school was constructed to the extremely high-performing Passive House standard for $190/sf.

Sustainable Landscape

All site plants are self-sustaining. Addtional plantings are added to maintain a 75-foot buffer to the nearby creek.

Energy Efficient

This building will use 90% less energy than a new, typical school. It will provide all of its own energy on site through 40kW of PV.

Renewable Power

It will provide all of its own energy on site through 40kW of solar.

Award Winning

2015 Maine AIA COTE Merit Award | Commercial Institutional

2016 Maine AIA Special Detail Recognition

2016 AIA New England Institutional Citation Award