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Nathan Hale School

Client
New Haven Public Schools
Location
New Haven, CT
Size
87,850 SF
Completion
2003
Tags
K-12 Education Public Schools Interiors

Newman restored the old building to retain and clarify its original character. The renovation and addition introduced more natural light, turned the gymnasium into a library, increased efficiency, and created new classroom and teaching support spaces by eliminating unused stairs, washrooms and mechanical spaces. A WPA mural that had been located in a corridor was restored and moved into the new library to become the dominant element in the space.

The addition is oriented so that the circulation spine draws people from the street to the New Haven harbor and back again to the street and neighborhood. Office and cafeteria walls are glazed and classroom entrances grouped and provided with large sidelights. This arrangement connects the interior of the school dynamically with its setting - cross-axially to the landscape, vertically through skylights, as well as to the framed views at both ends of the spine. In this way we suggest a difference between the old school and its centripetal organization - which looks inward to the library - and that of the new, which connects its spaces to the community it serves and environment it occupies.

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