Making The Grade: Kensington CAPA one of AIA’s Top Ten Green Projects in the U.S.

Image via aia.org | photo credit: Barry Halkin, Halkin PhotographyThe list of prestigious awards Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) has received since construction wrapped up in September 2010 is growing. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) recently named Kensington CAPA one of its Top Ten Green Projects. The annual award is given to architectural projects that exemplify the integration of environment and community. Kensington CAPA made the list for the positive impact its green features have had on Philadelphia youth.

Built on a brownfield at 1901 North Front Street, the high school’s sleek design (SMP Architects and SRK Architects) is framed by greenery and features large windows that virtually eliminate the need for daytime lighting. Rooftop gardens, a ground level organic vegetable garden and a lush playing field provide stormwater management, giving the nation’s first LEED Platinum-certified public high school a rainwater runoff  rate of zero. Besides providing students with a brand new school—Kensington CAPA was previously located in the old Kensington High School building—the project cut the truancy rate from 35 percent to zero percent and boosted graduation rates from 29 percent to 69 percent. The high school has previously been recognized by the Delaware Valley Green Building Council and in Grid's November 2010 issue.