Salisbury School, Math & Science Building

Salisbury, Connecticut

This project presented three significant challenges: placing the building to reinforce and enhance the historic campus of Salisbury School; designing both indoor and outdoor spaces to serve its educational objective; and blending modern technology with the traditional vernacular of the campus.

The Math & Science Building is the first of a series of projects for ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$170.00CITATIONSpecialized Facility CitationFEATURED IN2000 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYSpecialized School. Working closely with the client, the architect expanded on the initial scope of focusing on a new library and developed planning strategies that encompass the entire school campus. This project resulted from a thorough campus-planning investigation.

The building was designed to emphasize the fundamental connections between human discovery and the universe. Classrooms and laboratories provide lecture and experimentation space for biology, chemistry, physics and the earth sciences. The organization of the building synthesizes learning and exploring; theory and practice; and individual study and teamwork. Its architecture removes pedagogical and spatial barriers between scientific exploration and the natural environment.

Several features serve to heighten students’ awareness of their environment. In the greenhouse, the quarry-tile floor is attached to an LED indicator panel in the lobby that records heat gain and radiation. The science garden features boulders of different native stones salvaged from the excavation to provide examples of local geology. Small plots of native plant species reflect the typical Connecticut ecology.

Instructional spaces are organized clearly along wide and relatively short corridors that provide “soft” interaction places. A two-floor atrium brings natural light to the inner corridors and creates an open social space. Each lab benefits from perimeter daylight on three walls. Transom windows connect the spaces with reflected daylight. The south-facing garden also serves as an outdoor classroom space during the warmer seasons. All classrooms are networked for data and communication systems.

The exterior of the building is designed to reflect its interior organization. The science spaces, on the first two floors, are represented in brick on the facade. A two-story entry element and the window/panel system visually tie together the two levels. The math classrooms in the third-floor “roof” zone are articulated by generously sized dormers and clapboard siding on the gable ends.

The Math and Science Building embraces concepts of science, environment and community, which support the well-being of students and teachers.

"A job well-done in matching existing structures. The atrium is very nice!"—2000 Architectural Portfolio jury

Photographer: ©Robert Benson/Robert Benson Photography