Connelly House is an innovative joint venture between two Philadelphia non-profit organizations dedicated to serving the needs of the homeless—Bethesda Project and Project H.O.M.E.

BWA Architecture + Planning, working closely with both organizations and St. John the Evangelist Church, designed an eight-story, multi-use building that provides 79 units of affordable, supportive housing for formerly homeless adults, as well as facilities for their respective programs and a new, larger Parish Center for the church.

Connelly House features 24 single room occupancy units, 55 efficiency apartments, communal spaces for socializing and dining, supportive services office and conference spaces, a computer lab, an exercise room, tenant storage, a laundry room, two lower terraces, and a roof terrace with a green roof. The Parish Center includes offices, conference space and a large, sub-dividable community room that can accommodate a variety of activities and events.

The project’s location on a site served only by narrow streets posed challenges for the builder, with attendant costs. To help offset construction costs, the project team collaborated to create interesting massing and texture in combination with structural simplicity for the building’s façade; employed pre-fabricated exterior wall panels; and used a pattern of irregularly distributed windows to create visual interest without great expenditure.

The color scheme borrows from the gray granite of its iconic neighbors, the PSFS Building and the Wanamaker Building. All exterior elements, including the red marquee, wrap around the building.

Sustainability was integral to the design process from the beginning when the project team established the goal of becoming the first LEED Silver high-rise supportive housing facility in Philadelphia.