Swarthmore Science Center Swarthmore College Campus • Swarthmore, Pennsylvania


ML Baird & Co.; Einhorn Yaffee Prescott


Swarthmore College
Swarthmore Science Center
Swarthmore Science Center
Swarthmore Science Center
Swarthmore Science Center
Swarthmore Science Center
Swarthmore Science Center

Utility Goals

Reduce pollutant loads in rainwater
Reduce downstream damage from runoff
Safely move, control, contain rainwater
Capture rain for reuse (of all kinds, human and natural, from irrigation and toilet flushing to groundwater recharge)


The basic stormwater management concept at the Swarthmore Science Center is capture, convey, cleanse, and either infiltrate, reuse for irrigation, or detain and discharge. Rain is captured in two massive butterfly roof structures and conveyed to basins that collect and filter the rainwater. Some infiltrates to replenish groundwater, some is stored in an underground cistern for reuse in irrigation, and some is directed to another stormwater detention vault and discharged to the Crum Creek watershed in a controlled release. Porous pavement and additional 2-foot-deep infiltration beds (some planted as gardens in an interior courtyard, some as grass on the edge of the college’s central quad) ensure that rain hitting the landscape recharges groundwater. The entire design strives for a zero-runoff environment to prevent erosion and degradation of Crum Woods and Crum Creek.

Amenity Goals

Public Relations
Aesthetic Richness


In keeping with Swarthmore’s commitment to progressive thinking, the college encouraged the design team to make the center an example of responsible principles and values, using the concept of sustainability as inspiration. Consequently, this is an ARD where stormwater management is visible from different spaces both indoors and out, appropriately piquing interest and offering teaching moments.

Awards & More Information