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George School's Mollie Dodd Anderson Library & Learning Commons, a 3-story brick building with recessed glass entry
George School – Mollie Dodd Anderson Library & Learning Commons

Embracing Quaker Culture with a Nod to Inner Light


George School

Project Location

Newton, PA


26,000 SF



The new Mollie Dodd Anderson Library and Learning Commons creates a gateway to the George School campus, a co-educational Quaker boarding school for grades 9-12. It is a favorite gathering place for students and faculty, serving to extend campus life beyond traditional boundaries. Our design configuration plays on simple geometry. Two brick-clad, gable-roofed forms are placed at a right angle to one another with a third rotated glass box intersecting them. This solution complements the more diminutive scale of the adjacent 1812 Meeting House while also achieving expansive views of campus. The building’s focal point is the reading room. It is enclosed within the glass box and is flooded with light from a skylight above – a literal nod to the Quaker belief in Inner Light.

The two-story building collects within it several other functions previously spread across the campus, namely conference rooms, offices, study labs for academic assistance, Quaker Core religion classrooms, and a gallery for student artwork. A large terrace and eco-garden surround the curtain walled reading room to provide ample outdoor space for reading, gathering, or quiet meditation.

George School is a model for school sustainability, and ecological thinking has been a part of its history for more than a century. Sustainable energy practices have been in place since the 1980s, and the school remains dedicated to finding new ways to incorporate sustainability across its campus. In addition to a sustainable landscape design, the library features a large vegetative roof, six rain gardens, and a geothermal well field to provide heating and cooling to the building. DLR Group provided architecture and interior design services.

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