The Green Tree School serves three distinct groups of students: school-age students with serious emotional disturbances, children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders and preschoolers with developmental delays. In operation since 1957, Green Tree School is the oldest school of this kind in Philadelphia.
With the recent, and ongoing, explosion in the incidence of Autism, Green Tree School’s successful programs came into great demand and its facility soon became taxed beyond its limit. Friday was commissioned in 2004 to plan and design the adaptive reuse of three linked but very different structures on the school’s Germantown campus: A Victorian era residence built as servants’ quarters and converted to school use, a carriage house and stable that was largely unused, and a one story, single room structure linking the other two and serving the school as its lunchroom/auditorium.
A very tricky situation: The floors did not align across the three buildings, their architectural styles could not have been more incompatible, and the program called for expansion space requiring a full two-storey link extending forward from the two existing flanking structures and remaining below their respective cornice lines which, in the case of the stable, was just barely high enough to squeeze two floors of classrooms. And, of course, as is the situation with many non-profits, Green Tree School’s budget was stretched to its limit.
The new facility, consisting of 4 early intervention and 4 school-age classrooms, a full service teaching kitchen, multi-purpose room, special function and treatment rooms and other support facilities, opened to great acclaim and success in August, 2006, on time and slightly under budget.