Salisbury School, Centennial Library and Humanities Building

Salisbury, Connecticut


    Salisbury School

  • AREA

    50,560 sq.ft.





Integrating this new building into its multiple contexts was the essence of this design challenge. The century-long tradition of Salisbury School; the complete living experience it offers to its boarding students; the high-tech, fast-paced world for which it prepares them; the well-rounded knowledge base and skill sets it aims to provide to its graduates; the existing ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$144.00CITATIONSpecialized Facility CitationFEATURED IN2001 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYSpecialized main building on the school’s 700-acre campus; and the splendid and open views to the mountains beyond were the historic, social, cultural, educational and environmental contexts of this project. The result was a holistic vision where 21st-century technology merged synergistically with 19-century traditions.

This new four-story building is designed in a Neo-Georgian style with dormer windows and a gambrel roof that subtly echoes the roof of the school’s main building. The southern facade of the building fronts and helps define the edge of the revitalized main academic quadrangle. Its northern facade, set into the hillside overlooking the Berkshire Mountains, presents the school’s public identity as it welcomes visitors to the campus.

The centerpiece of the northern facade features a semicircular bay made of granite that contrasts with the building’s brick exterior while recalling the base of the main building. This semicircular space houses the reading room on the first level and a lecture hall/conference room on the ground level. The lecture hall can be reconfigured to serve as a multipurpose room. It opens to an outdoor terrace overlooking the playing fields below and the mountains beyond.

The past is left behind as one enters the building. The era is clearly the 21stcentury as one experiences the functional elegance of the indoors. The Phinny Library occupies the entire first floor. Behind the circulation desk, a transparent workroom allows supervision of the computer and reading rooms. It also channels soft natural light from the windows of the reading room into the depth of the library. Offices, study carrels and stacks extend along the two sides of the circulation desk. Cherry wood panels and furniture further enhance the warm and nurturing feel of all spaces.

Classrooms, seminar rooms and offices are lined along the building-size corridors of the Rudd Study Center on the second floor and the humanities department on the third floor. Large windows bring in views of magnificent old trees. Natural light creates an organic connection between the two upper floors as it streams through the glass panels of the central cupola.

"Nice addition to campus."--2001 jury