Friends Community School is a private school for children in grades K through 8 built on a 17 acre site owned by the School. Contiguous on three sides with Greenbelt National Park, this new 28,500 square foot building contains classrooms, offices, multi-purpose spaces, a media center and specialty rooms for science, art and language instruction. Associated site work included storm water management, utilities, roads, parking, playgrounds and athletic fields.
An important element of the project was the desire to use green and sustainable building materials, systems and construction practices. The most unusual feature of the building was the use of straw bales in the exterior walls as infill between the post and beam structure. The roof is partially vegetated and the design and orientation of the building maximizes the use of natural light.
In addition to receiving a LEED Silver Certificate, Friends Community School is notable as the largest straw bale school building east of the Mississippi and the largest straw bale building in Maryland.