Established in 1879, the all-girls Springside School in northwestern Philadelphia merged with the nearby all-boys Chestnut Hill Academy in 2010 and spurred a campus-wide renovation plan over the next two years. NewStudio Architecture, in collaboration with the Philadelphia firm of Wallace Roberts & Todd, began to work on the re-imagining of a new combined Lower School (pre-K through 4th grade) for SCH. 

Situated on a 62-acre campus adjacent to Wissahickon Valley Park, SCH serves 1,100 students in a highly competitive private school market. Its unique creek-side location supports the eco-centric educational programming, which includes outdoor education. "This was important for us in creating the Lower School design," explained Sean Wagner. "Prominent views in the two student classroom wings- one wing for the boys and the other for the girls- as well as expansive glass in the center structure help connect students to the environment. The design really belongs to the site; the building and especially the classrooms are nested within the woods."