Tenacre Country Day School, Jason J. Rendell Library

Wellesley, Massachusetts

  • FIRM

    OLSON LEWIS + Architects


    Tenacre Country Day School

  • AREA

    25,000 sq.ft.





The challenge was to integrate a new library and gymnasium while maintaining the school’s intimate setting and scale. These new facilities, which increased the campus square footage by 62 percent, were situated tightly on a small campus tucked into a dense residential neighborhood.

The final, surprising program solution placed the Jason J. Rendell Library and ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$140.00CITATIONGold CitationFEATURED IN2001 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYLibraries/Media Centers lab adjacent to, and partially above, the new below-grade gymnasium. By increasing the wall and floor mass with additional drywall, insulation and staggered studding, optimum acoustics were achieved for the quiet library and media spaces, where 21st-century technology is incorporated into the facility.

The library interior, with its custom-built cherry-stained bookcases and elegant coffered ceiling, recalls the neoclassical formality of an early-20th-century public library. Its faux mezzanine gives the illusion of a two-story space, and its dormer windows flood the central reading hall with natural light. The reading hall’s focal point, which brings the library’s lofty space down to a child’s perspective, is an arrangement of reading chairs and work spaces in front of a working gas fireplace.

"Creates warmth in environment, makes you want to relax and read. Very nice!"--2001 jury