Batten House, Bryn Mawr College
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
BKP renovated the small-group sustainability residence, which houses 15 students. The circa 19th century Batten House was constructed in phases and had last been renovated over three decades ago. Challenges including confined spaces, dated aesthetics, and facilities past their prime combined with a lack of modern life safety systems. Multiple floor heights and steps throughout the building prevented handicapped accessibility.
The BKP renovation focused on 4,800 square feet of ground level common area updates but included the addition of fire suppression sprinkler systems throughout the building. BKP worked closely with the MEP engineer to trace sprinkler routes and conceal the system as much as possible within the original structure or minimize sight lines of new piping by creating subtle soffits.
Batten House residents encouraged a focus on sustainability in the design solution and reuse of existing materials as much as possible. As such, the first-floor renovation features restored and refinished original random-width, wide-plank American black walnut flooring. Floors were leveled to provide accessibility throughout the ground level, beginning with a new sloped landscape path from the driveway. Floors were raised up to seven inches or ramped down as much as 18 inches while maintaining adequate ceiling heights. Today, the first floor is fully ADA compliant.
BKP relocated the cramped original kitchen and opened it to the living and dining areas. Communal cooking and dining are very important to residents and the new space includes wide work surfaces for food preparation, individual and shared food storage, and a central island for guests to linger. A new 15-person dining table ensures everyone can eat together at “family” meals. A compost area supports the students’ sustainable mindset.
The ground-level bathroom was fully renovated into two private bathrooms – one with full ADA accessibility and a roll-in shower. The fully tiled rooms feature floor drains and systems to inhibit mold and decay. Second-floor bathrooms received cosmetic upgrades to flooring and fixtures.
The exterior terrace gained life-safety improvements including new guardrails, repointed and recapped stone, and a renovated wood portico. Residents now have a safe and comfortable outdoor space to connect them to their wooded backyard.
The renovation provides comfortable and environmentally conscious spaces that meet the programmatic needs of the communal home.
9,500 gross square feet