CREC Academy of Aerospace & Engineering Elementary School

Rocky Hill, Connecticut


Friar Architecture


Capital Region Education Council (CREC)


89,693 sq.ft.

Total Cost


Completion Date


Design Team
Michael Sorano, AIA (Principal-in-Charge); Adam Palmer, AIA (Associate); Cristin Auten, NCIDQ (Senior Interior Designer); Alicia Rosalie, AIA (Project Architect); Jose Ramos, (AutoCAD Coordinator)

Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) provides cost-effective and high-quality programs to meet the needs of children and adults. Over 12,000 students attend CREC schools each year, and their specialized magnet schools are praised for the innovative ways students are taught. This facility is designed to accommodate students in grades pre-K through five.

Throughout the school, scientific wonder inspires the design and encourages exploration. The radial layout provides a safe student gathering and play courtyard, separate from vehicular circulation. The interactive site also enables students to stand in the direct center of this courtyard to become the gnomon of a large sundial. During solstice and equinox events, students view the sun as it rises and sets through corridors that radiate from the center of the site.

Further exploration is encouraged through other unique features such as the window compositions. At the assembly and administration sections of the building, the windows are laid out to portray sound and gravitational waves, and the classroom wings depict phases of the lunar eclipse. Furthermore, each classroom pod gains identity using Newton’s color wheel (ROYGBIV). Interior and exterior elements are coordinated with these colors to give the spaces character and assist with wayfinding for students and teachers.

The exterior façade is composed primarily of colored metallic panels that coordinate with the uniquely colored pods inside the facility. Large sections of dark bricks and warmly colored stone give the exterior a secure but inviting aesthetic.

Vehicle and utility access to the site was a challenge throughout the design process because of the existing site conditions. The site was former farmland set atop a small hill, 1,200 feet from the main road.

A new roadway mitigates the elevation change and provides a dramatic approach to the building to complement the overall design concepts of the project. The construction of the roadway enabled all utilities to be installed underground to limit the visual obstructions of the building design.

Additional Information

Associated Firm

Capital Region Education Council (CREC); Connecticut Department of Administrative Services; Consulting Engineering Services; Martinez Couch & Associates LLC; RJS+A Associates; Downes Construction Company LLC; Perrone & Zajda Engineers LLC; Arcadis US, Inc.



Cost per Sq Ft


Featured in

2021 Architectural Portfolio

Product suppliers specified

Carpet by Bentley Prince Street
Carpet by Patcraft
Carpet by Tandus
Carpet by Centiva
Flooring by Interface
Flooring by Patcraft
Flooring by Altro
Flooring by Roppe
Physical-Education Flooring by Gerflor Sports Flooring
Brick/Masonry by Yankee Hill Brick & Tile
Brick/Masonry by Arriscraft
Cabinets by Legere
Ceilings by CertainTeed
Ceramic Tile by American Olean
Ceramic Tile by Dal-Tile
Door Hardware by Sargent
Door Hardware by Norton Door Controls
Door Hardware by Pemko
Doors by EFCO
Doors by VT Industries
Doors by Cornell Iron Works
Elevators by Otis Elevator
Insulation by Dow
Insulation by Owens Corning
Movable Partitions/Walls by SkyFold
Movable Partitions/Walls by Nana Wall Systems
Movable Partitions/Walls by Modernfold
Paint/Wallcoverings by Sherwin-Williams
Plumbing by Sloan Valve
Roofing by Carlisle SynTec
Windows by EFCO
Windows by Kalwall
Lighting & Accessories by Ledalite
Lighting & Accessories by Inter-lux
Lighting & Accessories by HE Williams
Lighting & Accessories by Finelite
Emergency Lighting by Inter-lux
Emergency Lighting by Ledalite
Emergency Lighting by HE Williams
Emergency Lighting by Finelite
Fire/Life-Safety Systems by Notifier
Security Systems by NAPCO
Card Systems by HID
Cafeteria Furniture by AmTab Mfg
Classroom Furniture by Community Playthings
Classroom Furniture by Smith Systems
Classroom Furniture by MiEN Company
Classroom Furniture by Kimball
Computer Furniture by Smith Systems
Computer Furniture by Kimball
Library/Media Center Furniture by Smith Systems
Library/Media Center Furniture by MiEN Company
Library/Media Center Furniture by BCI
Lounge Furniture by Coalesse
Lounge Furniture by Steelcase
Multipurpose Areas Furniture by Ideon
Office Furniture by Kimball
Science Furniture by Kimball
Science Furniture by Smith Systems
Drinking Fountains by Murdock
Washroom Accessories by Georgia-Pacific
Washroom Fixtures by Acorn Mfg.
Washroom Fixtures by American Standard
Washroom Fixtures by Sloan Valve
Washroom/Shower Partitions by Global Partitions
Athletic Equipment by Jay Pro
Playground Equipment by Gametime
Clocks/Time Management by Valcom
HVAC Control Devices by Trane
HVAC Units by Trane
Draperies/Blinds by Hunter Douglas
Walls/Wall Materials by ATAS
Roofing by RoofScreen Mfg.
Fencing/Edging by Ametco Mfg.
Benches/Site Furnishings by Duo-Gard
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