Penn State University Child Care Center at Hort Woods

Client: Pennsylvania State University
Location: University Park, PA
Size: 21,500 SF

Using a highly collaborative and integrated design approach, Penn State University built a new 21,500 SF LEED Platinum early learning center that demonstrates the explicit connections between design, education, biophilia, and the environment.

Situated on the edge of the last remaining site at historic Hort Woods, the center serves children and families of the Penn State faculty, staff, and students while acting as an instructional resource for the department of education and other departments involved in child development. The Child Care Center at Hort Woods is the first Penn State building ever awarded a LEED Platinum certification.

The brick, copper, and painted aluminum building houses two floors of child care spaces. The first floor includes five classrooms for infants and toddlers, common spaces, a multipurpose area called the “imaginatrium,” an atelier, a library, and outdoor patios. The second floor includes five more classrooms for preschool children, family gathering areas, and library space.

Sustainable features include natural ventilation, recycled materials, rain-water collection and reuse, and natural daylight to conserve energy. Three natural outdoor learning spaces intentionally reinforce sustainable themes for the young children who play there daily.