This one-story humanities center of about 7,000 square feet is on a college-preparatory boarding school campus in Winchendon, Mass. The Winchendon School enrolls boys and girls in grades 8 to 12, as well as a post-graduate year. Founded in 1926, Winchendon seeks to create “a structured and traditional environment for students of good character and good ability who have CAPACITY84COST PER SQ FT$264.00FEATURED IN2007 Architectural Portfolio reached their academic potential.” The new center concentrates eight humanities classrooms, previously dispersed. Each serves only 8 to 12 students and has direct access to the outdoors, as well as to the commons.
The concept is a “monitor barn” with natural light and ventilation at the top. The choice of a timber-frame structure for the classrooms along a commons with a fireplace hearth was made to reinforce the traditional agricultural character of the surrounding 236 acres of old farmland and woodlands. The stained-cedar shingles and clapboard mark this academic building as a destination amid an academic complex of shed-roof, red-brick pavilions.