Stantec provided architecture, interior design, and engineering for the school, located on the 140 acre Sandy Spring Friends School campus that houses multiple educational buildings for more than 650 students from preschool to 12th grade. The Upper School serves students in grades 9-12 as they prepare for college and further learning.
The design reflects the school’s Quaker values, simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship, creating a harmonious space for teaching and learning.
Students and teachers have access to a wide variety of educational environments, including traditional classrooms, open or closed collaboration areas, and social spaces, that offer dynamic lighting solutions and flexible, ergonomic, and adaptable furniture.
The building offers many outside views from classrooms, offices, social areas, and stair towers. A covered front porch next to the meditation garden, a sunny maker-space patio to the west, and a quiet roof terrace on the third floor extend learning to the outdoors. The interior palette is inspired by the school’s ropes course, a local amenity amidst a natural setting, and incorporates large areas of ash wood walls created from reclaimed trees onsite.
Interior rooms have expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass to provide daylighting and exterior views in classrooms, collaboration areas, offices, and social areas. The design uses high quality LED lighting compliant with WELL Building standards. Lighting in the main commons and adjacent conference room echoes the tree canopy interior design scheme and resembles an abstract tree branch.
In addition to its WELL Gold design, the school is engineered as a net zero energy ready facility, where the total amount of energy used by the building annually is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site or nearby.