Germantown Friends School

Germantown Friends School
Wade Science Center
Philadelphia, PA
Architect: SMP Architects

Founded in 1845, Germantown Friends School is a co-educational private, Quaker school in the Germantown section of Philadelphia.

Metropolitan Acoustics was the acoustical consultant for the new LEED Gold Certified Science Building which serves the upper school students. From the main light-filled entrance to the green roof, rain gardens, solar panels and more – the building is a green, innovative science wonder.

Our scope included interior room acoustics, interior isolation and mechanical system noise control for all of the labs in the building. Additionally, we performed an analysis of exterior sound transmitted through the building envelope and completed the LEED templates and narratives related to acoustics.

The desired aesthetic for the project was exposed deck which presents challenges for room acoustics, isolation and noise control. In many typical schools, all of the absorption in the classrooms is provided by an acoustic tile ceiling which also improves isolation provided by the floor-ceiling assembly and helps to reduce mechanical system noise because the ductwork is not exposed. We overcame these challenges by specifying an acoustical metal deck with 4″ of concrete on top to meet the isolation and room acoustics requirements. Mechanical system noise was controlled by wrapping heat pumps in a duct lagging material and providing silencers and duct lining in the ductwork.

 The design and construction of this new “green” science center moved the students and faculty forward with a light-filled, state of the art and self-sustaining space while keeping true to the Quaker values of community and stewardship.