Swarthmore College’s Whittier Hall, a new 19,000-square-foot academic facility designed by JacobsWyper Architects, is nearly complete. The building will initially serve as a temporary “swing space” for the Psychology Department and Engineering Shops (including wood, metal and welding shops), when these programs are relocated during construction of a new Biology, Engineering and Psychology Building. In the future, Whittier will provide space for Ceramics and Sculpture students, including arts studios, a seminar room, critique space and display areas.
A focus on sustainability is evident throughout the planning and design of Whittier. An existing heritage oak tree was preserved by splitting the layout into two wings, connected by a pedestrian bridge that spans over the tree’s root system. Large vertical sunshades reduce the head load on Whittier’s west elevation, with a gradated color scheme chosen in collaboration with Swarthmore’s Art Department. The provided stormwater drainage bed is above-and-beyond code requirements, managing 25 times the required stormwater flow on site.
Other sustainable features include a geothermal heating and cooling conditioning system, accessible green roof terrace, anti-bird strike glass, a photovoltaic array, and electricity that is provided exclusively from wind energy. The resulting carbon neutral facility meets LEED Platinum standards, as well as the goals of Swarthmore’s own environmental sustainability framework.
Whittier Hall is scheduled to open for students at the start of the Fall semester.