Lanphier Center for Mathematics and Computer Science, Choate Rosemary Hall

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Wallingford, Connecticut, USA
34,000 square feet / 3,000 square meters

Lanphier Center for Mathematics and Computer Science is an academic building for interdisciplinary, collaborative learning that forms a new center of the Choate Rosemary Hall campus. Taking its cues from the natural and historic charm of the campus, it is located near three of Choate’s signature buildings: Archbold Hall, designed by Ralph Adams Cram, home to the admission and headmaster’s offices, is to the south. The Paul Mellon Art Center and the Carl C. Icahn Center for Science, both designed by I.M. Pei, are to the east. The new building takes its place in this special part of the campus, which is notable for two majestic beech trees and tranquil wetlands and ponds.

A landmark 150-year-old beech tree helped determine the form of the building, which consists of two brick-clad classroom wings linked by a transparent glass connector offering views to the tree and ponds. The classroom wings wrap around the copper beech tree and toward the campus to form an open court that recalls a traditional academic quad.

The building will support a new curriculum that goes beyond the traditional STEMsubjects — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — to incorporate the arts. Home to teaching spaces for subjects ranging from robotics to sculpture, the building acknowledges the increasing importance of design-related disciplines.

The emphasis on collaborative learning extends throughout the building. In addition to classrooms and labs, the Lanphier Center includes informal gathering spaces where students can meet and study. These common spaces promote chance meetings and opportunities for conversation between students and teachers.

The building is designed for a LEED Gold rating. Both building systems and materials were chosen for sustainability. Locally-produced, natural, recycled-content, and high-performance materials are all a part of the building’s fabric. Low velocity displacement ventilation provides fresh air with very little energy use. All rooms have operable windows with automatic sensors to turn off the mechanical ventilation when windows are opened. In addition, light sensors monitor daylight and adjust lighting levels. These elements all work to help reduce the energy use of the Lanphier Center. The building will use less than 40 percent of the energy of a conventional building.