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Judith Creed Horizons for Achieving Independence (JCHAI) offers inclusive, supportive vocational and living opportunities for adults with intellectual disabilities and autism. Nestled into a hillside on the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia campus in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, the John and Jacqueline E. Swartz Education Center is one of the country’s few freestanding facilities offering an inclusive environment for individuals to build skills for living and working to their fullest potential.

CBP Architects designed the building to take advantage of its sloping site. A solid façade rendered in heavily textured brick anchors the building on the uphill entry side. The contemporary architecture presents an expressive entry portal, reinforced by a steeply pitched roof valley with a floating canopy and bridge. Inside, a cascading staircase leads to a glass-enclosed communal area with a fireplace and expansive views of the surrounding campus and arboretum. The entry path subtly represents a JCHAI member’s journey and possibilities of personal transformation. The main floor houses state-of-the-art classrooms, a residential teaching kitchen, and the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Training Coffee Shop to teach occupational skills in real-life settings. Operable partitions allow the classrooms to connect to each other and the communal area, facilitating larger gatherings. An outdoor patio expands program space and reinforces a connection to nature. Upper-level offices overlook the volume and share exposure to the bucolic setting.

  • Project Category

    Institutional, Civic & Commercial

  • Client


  • Location

    Bryn Mawr, PA

  • Number of Stories


  • Gross Floor Area

    8,550 sf

  • Program

    Education Center, Offices, Classrooms & Coffee Shop