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Ground broken for new classroom building at Choate Rosemary Hall

Ground broken for new classroom building at Choate Rosemary Hall

Ground broken for new classroom building at Choate Rosemary Hall

WALLINGFORD, Conn. (Oct. 10, 2013) — Officials at Choate Rosemary Hall broke ground Thursday for a new classroom building by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects that will incorporate the traditional STEM subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math as well as the arts. The building is expected to be completed during the 2015-2016 academic year.

A model for interdisci­plinary education, the new St. John Hall will include state-of-the-art laboratories that accommodate a range of fields. Courses such as architecture and robotics will share the building with sculpture and biotechnology for the first time at Choate. New courses such as visual mathematics, engineering, and renewable biofuels will add to the variety of disciplines studied in close proximity. Designed to support hands-on learning, the building will also foster collaboration and creativity with spaces for students to work in teams.

The site is located near the heart of the Choate campus and three of the independent boarding school’s landmark buildings. Archbold Hall, designed by Ralph Adams Cram and home to the admissions and headmasters offices, is to the north. The Paul Mellon Art Center and the Carl C. Icahn Center for Science, both designed by I.M. Pei, are to the south and form the edge of campus.

The design takes advantage of the natural features of the site, which include two majestic beech trees, wetlands and the ponds. The building consists of two classroom wings joined by a glass connector, a corridor that faces the pond and a weeping beech. The building’s form has a precedent in campus courtyards. Unlike the traditional example, however, the building is open to one side. The two wings wrap around a copper beech and extend toward the main campus. The building will also connect to the Icahn Center by a footbridge over the ponds, bringing together two science buildings.

The design of St. John Hall takes cues from the campus without being imitative. In deference to the Georgian Revival-period Archbold, the classroom wings are gabled and clad in brick. The glass connector is contemporary in spirit and offers water and wetland views from the corridor and café.

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