About the Design

Artist rendering of the building.

In the early 2000s, when Chestnut Hill Meeting members began realizing that their much beloved 1927 meetinghouse at 100 Mermaid Lane could no longer accommodate its growing congregation and their many activities, they purchased the site of a former quarry at 20 Mermaid Lane and began planning a new building.

Based on a simple layout by meeting member John Andrew Gallery, area architect James Bradberry worked with James Turrell and the meeting community to design the building as a modern expression of simple, straightforward Quaker architecture. The 8,500 square-foot, L-shaped meetinghouse was positioned to accommodate our current array of solar panels and occupies a modest eight percent of the total lot. 

Inside, The light-filled foyer and the adjacent library provide a welcoming place for members and visitors. To the right is the meeting room,with tall windows, French doors to a covered porch on three sides, and a partially-retractable roof. 

At the end of the main floor, facing into the woods of Fairmount Park is a large, light-filled room with a gabled ceiling for social gatherings and large meetings.

The 1.8 acre grounds, with its stand of towering pines and dramatic rock formations is open to the public. Bordered by woods on two sides, the design features the latest, environmentally sound stormwater management techniques. The simple landscaping, initially overseen by renowned landscape artist Carol Franklin,  incorporates native trees and a “rain garden” of native plants. Paths will eventually be built on the site to connect it formally to trails in Fairmount Park. 


The new meetinghouse allows Chestnut Hill Friends to host a variety of community projects like the Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network, Mt. Airy Learning Tree, and other local organizations with which the meeting has long been involved. 
The project was made possible by James Turrell’s generous donation of the Skyspace design and his guidance overseeing many details in the worship room where his Skyspace is situated. Re:Vision Architecture assisted in “greening” the building. As the client representative, John Howard of Becker Frondorf, tirelessly guided the meeting through the construction process which was executed by E. Aleen Reeves, Inc.  Valley Green Bank provided construction financing. We thank them all. 

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