Building Perspective

The re-design of Dickinson Drive brings traffic in at the very north and center of the site, allowing a clear panoramic view as you enter.

Main Entry Perspective

Several compelling themes surfaced amidst discussions of the qualities of Newtown and Sandy Hook. One was the view of the Town from a distance, buildings and spires appearing above an undulating horizon of trees. The other was how the geology of water courses created the “sandy hook” after which the area was named.

Courtyard Perspective

The projected 506 students will be distributed between three classroom wings, two of which are 2-stories, which extend like fingers of an open hand on the site.   Separating each one are three courtyards – individually programmed to meet various requirements of the school.  Overlooking the central courtyard from the second floor are two breakout spaces – imagined as treehouses to create an alternate intimate learning environment for the students.

Main Lobby Perspective

From the main central lobby, vistas of nature appear between the classroom wings connecting the inside and outside with tree-like columns.

Downloads

 

 

Design Narrative and Renderings l 28-JUL-2016 Design Narrative and Renderings l 28-JUL-2016 (897 KB)

Design Narrative and Renderings


Final Floor Plans l 5-JUN-2014 Final Floor Plans l 5-JUN-2014 (2647 KB)

Final Floor Plans


Building Perspective l 5-JUN-2014 Building Perspective l 5-JUN-2014 (6148 KB)

Building Perspective


Main Entry Perspective l 5-JUN-2014 Main Entry Perspective l 5-JUN-2014 (3335 KB)

Main Entry Perspective


Courtyard Perspective l 5-JUN-2014 Courtyard Perspective l 5-JUN-2014 (6499 KB)

Courtyard Perspective


Main Lobby Perspective l 5-JUN-2014 Main Lobby Perspective l 5-JUN-2014 (3291 KB)

Main Lobby Perspective


 

Design Philosophy:

Collaboration, Community and Creativity

 

Schools are an essential resource of the entire community. They not only offer a vibrant and nurturing environment for children to learn, but also places for community activities of all kinds.  Given this mission, there is a need and an opportunity to create a facility that truly emerges from the very particular time, place and spirit of the community in which it will live. In creating the new Sandy Hook School, this aim was realized through an actively engaging process which drew upon the broad array of constituencies that the school will serve.

 

An inclusive and collaborative process was initiated through the various Town institutions, bringing together in multiple forums: town officials, governing boards, community groups, neighbors, parents, teachers and school administrators.  The collective belief was the more inclusive the process could be, the more meaningful the architecture could become. Indeed, the inherent knowledge, care and creative potential of this broad spectrum of participants assured that the design would be an inevitable expression of the needs, aspirations and spirit of Newtown, and Sandy Hook in particular.

 

At the heart of this process was the School Based Building Advisory Committee (SBBAC) composed of Teachers and Staff of Sandy Hook School, Parents, Newtown School District Staff, members of the Board of Education, Town Staff, Community Representatives, and the Design/Construction team. Through a series of workshops facilitated by the Design Team, members of the SBBAC shared their voices through various engaging activities which resulted in a shared voice for the project.  Directions which evolved from these meetings included the placement of the school on the site, the internal orientation of the plan, and the overall expression of the school. Security concerns were carefully analyzed and were seamlessly integrated into the architecture, providing a safe learning environment while supporting the educational mission of the school.

 

Re-imagining the Site:

Connections to Nature

 

Through the workshops it was evident that the local ecology and geography of the area were important aspects to the community’s identity and sense of pride. The Design Team worked diligently to take advantage of the inherent natural features of the school site in the re-design, and these features helped to organize the site to address security, vehicular access, pedestrian connections, views and day lighting, adjacencies to fields and outdoor areas, and establishing physical and symbolic connections with nature.

 

The school site is characterized by its topographic features:  a relatively level plateau bounded by a wooded hill along the north edge and wooded low lying wetlands to the south and east.  The re-design of Dickinson Drive brings traffic in at the very north and center of the site, allowing a clear panoramic view as you enter. This orientation of the drive and natural features suggested the placement of site elements:

+ The sub-divided parking lot is located immediately upon entering the site at the north end – allowing the parking lot to stretch out along the hill from west to east, and creating a natural buffer and good sightlines to the school.

+ A dedicated bus loop wraps around the parking lot and loops in front of the school, allowing enough length to safely queue 12 to 14 buses.  The bus loop provides another buffering layer to the school, and then exits out the former drive.

+ The larger parking area to the west provides for 100 staff parking spaces.  The smaller parking area to the east provides for a parent drop off loop and 50 visitor parking spaces.

+ The school building stretches out along the southern edge of the site, allowing the classroom wings in the rear to reap southern daylight and views into the wooded wetlands beyond.

+ The ball fields, a Little League softball field and an enlarged regulation soccer field, are overlapped with each other and nestled into the southwest corner.  New plantings will help buffer and screen the fields from Crestwood Drive and the neighboring residential area.

 

Design Inspirations and Expression:

Forest, Water and Treehouses

 

Several compelling themes surfaced amidst discussions of the qualities of Newtown and Sandy Hook. One was the view of the Town from a distance, buildings and spires appearing above an undulating horizon of trees. The other was how the geology of water courses created the “sandy hook” after which the area was named.

 

As students from grades Pre-Kindergarten through Fourth grade arrive at school, they will be embraced by the curving plan of the school reaching out across the site as arms in a welcoming gesture.  The undulating wood facade creates a backdrop to the rain garden in front of the building as students cross three metaphoric bridges into the school.  Gabled “houses” emerge above this facade evoking the Town image from afar while the rain garden and bridges recall the Pootatuck River and its bridge in the center of Sandy Hook. The “Main Street” inside organizes all elective and administrative programs along the north side of the school with the classroom wings on the south radiating to the woods and to views of the natural environment.  Assembly spaces such as the Cafeteria and Gym are grouped together at the west end for ease of access after school hours and their proximity to the playing fields.

 

From the main central lobby, vistas of nature appear between the classroom wings connecting the inside and outside with tree-like columns.  The projected 506 students will be distributed between three classroom wings, two of which are 2-stories, which extend like fingers of an open hand on the site.   Separating each one are three courtyards – individually programmed to meet various requirements of the school.  Overlooking the central courtyard from the second floor are two breakout spaces – imagined as treehouses to create an alternate intimate learning environment for the students.

 

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