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Frankford Friends School’s New Trickey Building Wins Design Award

On October 14, the architecture firm DIGSAU of Philadelphia was presented with a 2013 Award for Design Excellence for Frankford Friends School’s new Margaret Passmore Trickey Building.trickey2

The award, conferred by the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, was one of three received by DIGSAU in this year’s competition.

In his remarks at the awards ceremony, Awards Jury Chair Peter Pfau, a San Francisco architect, said that the building felt “very Quaker, quiet and modest…but welcoming to the energy of children.”

The jurors, who visited the building in person, admired the building’s elegance and simple use of materials, and said that the “overall strategy shows great restraint.”

The jury appreciated the simple use of materials and loved the weathering cedar cladding. Looking from the porch of the historic Frankford Friends Meetinghouse to the entry of the new building, Pfau said one could understand the timeless quality of archetypal spaces like porches, and called it “an example of lovely place making; fostering a sense of community.”

In closing, Pfatrickey1u said that the jury was impressed by the quality of light in all the spaces, important to Quakers as a symbol of each person’s direct connection to God.

The Margaret Passmore Trickey building, constructed in 2012 on the school’s historic Orthodox Street campus, has allowed the school to offer its high-quality Friends education program to more families through additional middle school classrooms. In addition to the classrooms, the building provides a multipurpose space and a music room, and reduces energy use through a variety of innovative strategies.

Frankford Friends School, serving grades PreK-8, enrolled 156 students this year, the highest in its 180-year history. For more information, visit or call 215-533-5368.

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Green Building Taking Shape at Frankford Friends

Steel framing rose for the new building at Frankford Friends School last week. The project, the culmination of many years of planning at the school, will allow it to offer high-quality Friends education program to more local families by expanding the space in middle school classrooms. The new building will provide a multipurpose space, a music room, and three more classrooms. The building, which is among several new construction projects now happening in Frankford, was designed by DIGSAU and is being built by CVM Construction.

Energy use at the new building will be reduced through the use of a highly insulated envelope, an efficient HVAC system, exhaust fans, operable windows, natural light, highly-insulated walls, and solar shades that block summer sun while bouncing winter sun more deeply into the rooms. A large north-facing skylight in the multipurpose room minimizes lighting costs. Rain barrels will keep rain water out of the city stormwater system and provide free water for classroom and ornamental gardens. All materials and carpet will are low VOC. Budget allowing, the exterior will be clad in reclaimed red cedar.

The school, which has been on its historic campus since 1833, expects to enroll over 130 students in grades PreK-8th in the coming year. There are still some openings in grades 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7; the others have waiting lists.  For more information,

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Frankford Friends to Grow

As we previously reported, PA House bill 2291 included much needs funds for the proposed addition to Frankford Friends.  The addition requires a zoning variance which is being supported by the Frankford Civic Association.  Read the full report of their last meeting here on  It is gratifying that a prestigious institution like Friends is making this significant investment in Frankford.

The DIGSAU architecture firm has some visuals on their web site of the plans.  Have a look.  It will really transform that intersection.  To see the plans, click on Work and then Frankford Friends.  If all goes well, the addition will be open in Fall 2011.

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The Revolution Is Here: New Urbanism and Frankford

Globe Dye Works has a nice updated website.  And they put up a pic and a link for an architectural firm out of center city about the plans for their building.  It looks, dare I say, awesome.  According to  DIGSAU, who list urbanism and enviornmental design as some of their specialties,  plans are in the mix for landscaped roofs, walkable gardens and planted courtyards.  I’m floored.  I always thought the revolution would start along Frankford Ave.  But is it starting here?  I really feel out of my league even talking about this.  But I am so happy to be able to report it.

And let’s not forget there’s this art exhibition starting May 9th.  Very interesting things going on here.