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North Branford Intermediate School

Client
Town of North Branford
Location
North Branford
Size
118,000 SF
Completion
2010
Tags
K-12 Education Public Schools Interiors

This project comprises renovations and an addition to a public intermediate school located on a two-school campus. Two existing one-story wings were demolished, leaving the gymnasium and classroom wing. The retained building was renovated and the classroom wing was re-skinned in brick and glass to thermally upgrade the envelope and improve access to daylight.

The new building, canted in relation to the existing, reinforces the center of campus. Massing of a new three-story classroom wing, rotated to face the street, acknowledges the relationship between school and town. A chain of single-story, special-purpose rooms creates other smaller campus places and mediates between the scale of the new three story wing and its setting. Floor to floor windows draw in natural light to illuminate surfaces, balance interior with exterior and to reduce energy costs: a signal of the importance to learning of both light and place. Metal and glass define the interior space. Brick is used to contribute to campus legibility.

An element of the new school program lay in the creation of spaces that support holistic, collaborative learning. Throughout the school there are learning hubs that extend the life of the classroom into the space of the school as a whole, providing places where different classes can work together in small and large groups on projects that that bring together multiple disciplines to explore and understand themes and problems.

At the heart of this concept is the role of school library, which exemplifies the concept of holistic learning. Located on the interior main street of the school between the front door and the academic clusters, the library has floor to ceiling glass walls to provide visual connection between the corridor and the service desk and library beyond. Inside, the library layers areas with soft seating for individual reading, tables for group work, and space for the library resources – including print and digital media. On the exterior wall, large areas of glass bring in natural light and establish a sense of connection between the library and the life of the world outside. Also visually connected to the library is a computer lab.

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