The Solebury School is a private boarding and day school for grades seven through twelve. Despite its close proximity to New York City and Philadelphia, the campus strikes a dramatic contrast to the pace and congestion we associate with modern life. Graced by century-old oaks and willows, the campus is a rustic agrarian village built around the original farmhouse, barn and outbuildings of the farm it once was. The first modern building on the campus, the Abbe Science Centre is shaped by its site and the culture of the school. Its program of mathematics and science classrooms and labs was designed to meet the highest competitive standards in pedagogy and technology, including sustainable design.

The culture of the school is one with its environment. Physical connection and views to the outdoors are sacrosanct; the outdoors provides the “corridors” between classrooms. Abbe Science Centre is a one-story, L-shaped building that exploits the N-S and E-W axis for introduction of daylighting and passive solar design.

At the elbow of the building is a two-story open area, which serves as a student study lounge. The building is sited in the centre of the campus in a naturally sloping grade allowing the floor elevation to match that of the neighboring buildings. The building is constructed on a steel frame and is exposed throughout the interior spaces. The building is clad in a natural cedar “corn-crib” modeled after the familiar farm icon, and panelized to accept ten-foot high sliding glass patio doors.


2003: American Institute of Architects, Chapter Awards, Gold Award
2004: American Institute of Architects, Chapter Awards
2004: American Institute of Architects, Chapter Awards, Silver Medal of Distinction
2004: Wood Design Award, Honor Award

Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Sector: Education, Science & Technology
Size: 1,254 m²
Status: Completed