Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts: Philadelphia, PA 

Champion for Change



Barry Halkin Photography

It’s hard to imagine a less desirable site for a school than the one selected for the new Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts in Philadelphia. Bordered on one side by an elevated train track, polluted with industrial waste, used as a hub for drug dealing and covered with litter, neighborhood residents avoided the area whenever possible. The design team overcame the challenges of the site, revitalizing it, the school and the surrounding community. The school’s sustainable design includes ample daylight, an acoustical design that greatly reduces the train noise and an efficient geothermal heating and cooling system — a first for the school district. The school uses less energy than any other school in the district.

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