The Ethel Walker School, Beaver Brook Academic Center

Simsbury, Connecticut

At this independent girls school, an austere 1938 residence hall was reinvented as an academic building by raising the roof and reducing the number of interior columns so that the generously sized classrooms, labs, art studios, galleries and student-services spaces could be created in spaces formerly occupied by cellular residence-hall rooms. The renovated building, ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$195.00CITATIONGold CitationFEATURED IN2002 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYInterior Renovation its new roof, windows and portico, defines the main quadrangle of the campus and includes a new elliptical entry drive that replaces a former parking lot.

On the ground floor of the building the architect created spaces for administrative offices and student services, such as lounges, a bookstore and a student locker room. On the first floor, the architect preserved and enhanced the administrative spaces, lobby and campuswide common rooms. The second and third floors were refigured and reconstructed to provide spaces for science, math and art. The new infrastructure for the building included heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical systems with provisions for ground-coupled cooling to make the entire renovation energy-efficient and “green.” The building also was made ADA-compliant.

“A spectacular learning environment! The design creates a sense of warmth.” 2002 Jury