Cranaleith Spiritual Center


Project Description

In 2010, Renew Design Group was invited to be a part of the team tasked with designing a significant expansion of facilities for Philadelphia’s Cranaleith Spiritual Center. The center is located on a beautiful multi-acre site in the established neighborhood of Somerton. The expansion would seek to renovate an existing administration building while providing a completely new lodge, conference center, and chapel.

Our team worked with the architect to achieve a true “campus” feel to the property that responded organically to the challenging slopes of the site’s natural topography. New ADA accessible site circulation routes were added, as well as a vehicular access drive that would allow for large deliveries to the new dining facility housed within the conference center without compromising the delicate balance of trees and open space that remained essential to the center’s ministries.

Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, the center offers a gracious, contemplative environment for people of all faiths. Its name is derived from the Gaelic term for “Sanctuary of Trees.” It was with these principles in mind that Renew Design Group designed the grading and stormwater management systems for the center’s proposed facilities. Through precise grading our team was able to effectively achieve site-wide ADA compliance with the walking paths while minimizing disturbance and avoiding unnecessary deforestation. Bio-retention areas were used as a more sustainable and aesthetic alternative to conventional stormwater management basins. The center’s community garden was saved and relocated to ensure that residents can continue to enjoy a healthy, sustainable lifestyle while our landscape architect used new planting areas to preserve the site’s natural feel around walking paths and buildings.

The staff at Cranaleith Spiritual Center is excited for their newly expanded campus to open. We were excited to be a part of their solution.