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The restored Augusta Troup Magnet Academy of Sciences, an inner-city, preK-8 public school, respects the school’s original architecture but creates a new vision of architecture for the community with strategic building additions.
Constructed in the early 20thcentury, the school was named for a significant New Haven women union leader. The original design reflected educational expectations that were relevant to an industrial city. The new vision expresses a more open-ended, post-industrial education view, one still connected to place but also to imagination. The project restores, reconfigures, and adds space to increase efficiency and functionality.
A large, red brick mass, the original school building was an imposing presence, planned as a ring of rooms wrapped around a large, central auditorium. Its wide, single-loaded corridors and small classrooms were inefficient for today’s teaching methods. The new design retains the existing classroom and corridor pattern but turns the small three-classroom banks into pairs to increase size and flexibility. Science laboratories were added, and a new, larger library was created by combining classrooms and a corridor into a single precinct. The balcony and sloping floor of the old auditorium was removed to create a space that it is now both a flexible teaching and performance space for music and drama and a multi-purpose community room for meetings and after-school programs.
The north side of the existing building, once dark and forbidding is now a light-filled new front door, acting as the point of arrival and departure for students and as the community entrance to the gymnasium and neighborhood medical clinic.
A large photographic mural by artist Susan Bowen, installed at the new entrance, pays tribute to the city’s historic labor movement. The photographs echo the 27 restored WPA-era murals that line the auditorium and the school’s original entrance on the south side.