Petal Elementary School, Philadelphia: Bioclimatic Studio 2021
Greenhouse, solar heating, ground cooling, stack effect.
The key drivers of the elementary school design are natural ventilation and passive heating and cooling system. Stack effect is used as the leading natural ventilation strategy. Indoor classrooms and programs are connected to a greenhouse space that allows solar heating of the incoming air during the winter. Ground cooling with embedded water pipes running under the greenhouse provide cooling during the hot and humid summers. The school layout takes advantage of the site’s natural features by strategically placing each greenhouse and program based on solar geometry and wind movement. The site plan was tailored to allow the elementary school to be integrated with the community through the open playground, amphitheaters, and parkland. Moreover, the classrooms’ walls can open up to the exterior, changing from an indoor to an outdoor space during the transitional seasons.