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salisbury school campus

visual arts center

The Salisbury Visual Arts Center, Salisbury, CT addition complements the Centennial Library & Humanities Building while bringing a distinctly organic and artistic flavor to an otherwise linear campus. Recessed into a hill, the partially concealed metal and glass exterior radiates from the Library and Humanities Building without detracting from its dominant presence. The low profile also retains views through the quad and across the campus to open fields and forested hills.

The arts building connects to the Library building through the ground floor. General art classrooms, a pottery/ceramics room, and a wood shop are all accessed through an open, sky-lit lobby that doubles as an informal display area. The Art Director's office sits directly at the entrance, allowing passive supervision of students and visitors entering the building. The glass lined classrooms open to the ground level patio that holds and outdoor Raku kiln.

On the interior, transom glass visually connects the classrooms and enhances the bright, airy feeling of a space in which the need for daytime artificial lighting is minimal. Each classroom is equipped with efficient ventilation equipment to keep the air clean and fresh. Fumes released by art materials are vented underground and carried to an exhaust fan set away from the building, where they are released into the prevailing breeze and carried away from the campus. A curved rooftop garden, featuring a domed skylight into the lobby, is accessible from the main floor of the library and forms a special place for students to gather and socialize against the backdrop of northwestern Connecticut's foliage covered mountains.

“The new Arts Center will have a tremendous effect on building the reputation and curriculum of the Salisbury Arts program.” --Erika Crofut, Chair, Art Department

library and humanities building

The Centennial Library and Humanities Building dramatically welcomes visitors to the Salisbury School. Set into a hill surrounded by the spectacular Berkshire Mountains, this commanding structure recalls Salisbury's history of academic excellence while stepping into the 21st century.

The facility anchors the northern edge of the revitalized academic quad while putting a contemporary twist on the campus' Georgian style. Dormer windows and a gambrel roof echo the historic main academic building's form. A large semicircular glazed bay overlooks a terrace, playing fields, and sweeping mountain vistas. Light streams through the glass panels of the central cupola, naturally illuminating the entire building.

The library boasts bright and efficient educational space. A transparent workroom located directly behind the circulation desk channels in soft natural light and enables passive supervision. Windows and high clerestories surround the computer and reading rooms. The natural light, smooth curve of the space, and cherry paneling meld into a warm and nurturing atmosphere conducive to learning. English and history classrooms, seminar rooms, computer rooms, offices, and a language lab fill the second and third floors. The ground level holds a full service seminar and conference center.

math and science building

This new Math and Science Building prominently marks the southern edge of the revitalized academic quad. Subtly echoing the form of the main academic building and the materials of adjacent dorms, Wachtmeister puts a contemporary spin on the Georgian vernacular contexts to highlight the school's past while moving into the future.

The three-story building's small footprint efficiently maximizes the limited available square footage. Short and wide day-lit corridors connect spacious biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science classroom laboratories. These open spaces encourage interaction and turn circulation into multi-purpose social/reading/studying areas. Large windows and transom panels throughout the structure bring natural light, sweeping mountain vistas, and foliage into classrooms, corridors, and open stairwells.

Integrated innovative teaching tools match the school’s 21st century educational mission and program. Every classroom contains networked computers and video monitors for presentations. In the lobby, an LED indicator panel displays heat and radiation data gathered from the quarry tile floor in the downstairs greenhouse. On the building's southern exposure, a science garden featuring native plant species and boulders provides an outdoor teaching station, and reflects the typical Connecticut ecology to heighten students' awareness of their surrounding environment.


Set on Lake Washinee in Salisbury, Connecticut, OMR designed a new two story boathouse for the Salisbury School to replace an existing metal structure on its original footprint. OMR collaborated with a local timber frame company to create a building that is simple, elegant, and warm; all for a modest budget.

Looking out across the lake to the Berkshire Mountains beyond, the new post and beam timber structure houses canoes and crewing shells in three bays below the light filled mezzanine above. The approach to the boathouse, down a serpentine tree lined access road, engages the onlooker and allows the building to feel tucked into its natural setting.


The Salisbury School required new dormitories and faculty housing to attract students and staff to campus. This innovative and efficient 25,000-sf dormitory with attached faculty housing adds 43 dorm rooms and six faculty housing units to the school’s stock of housing.

The new dorm sits on the quiet side of campus and near space available to develop a necklace of dorms in the future. Built into a steep embankment, the northern facade retains the scale of a two-story house, while the three-story southern exposure opens to the sun’s warmth. Clapboard siding, a traditionally residential New England material, responds to the existing dining hall and infirmary across the fields.

The dorm keeps a residential feel despite its institutional nature. The main entrance opens into a naturally lit, two-story living room. A balcony visually connects the living room and second level. Corridors lined with dorm rooms extend in both directions. Each room contains at least two windows, space-saving furniture, and durable door-less closets. Frosted glass transoms bring natural light into the hallway without compromising privacy. The faculty housing includes three 2-bedroom and three 4-bedroom units. The 2-bedroom’s are stacked in one wing so each 4-bedroom has three full levels and can function as a house. Oriented for maximum privacy, each features an individual basement and patio and has its own views and entries. Each unit also has cross-ventilation in every bedroom, a ground-level study/guest room with full bathroom, and offices adjoining the dorm through a glass connecting element. These offices face a large common room that facilitates student-faculty interaction and provide passive supervision of every hallway.